After a seasonal break, Mike Leeder is back with his action digest to give you the nod on movie news you may have missed, including a raft of imminent blu-ray releases…
The Yakuza hits Bluray…
Warner Bros. will be releasing Sydney Pollack’s 1974 classic The Yakuza on Blu-ray, starring two very different but equally legendary cinematic hard-men from the East and West: Robert Mitchum and Ken Takura, in a film which was scripted by Taxi Driver‘s Paul Schrader and Chinatown‘s Robert Towne.
Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) is a man on a mission: he must travel to Tokyo and rescue the kidnapped daughter of an old friend (Brian Keith) from a Yakuza gang. Its been fifteen years since Kilmer left Japan and the woman he loved, and now he must form an uneasy alliance with her brother Ken, a Yakuza enforcer to save the girl and uncover the truth.
The film also stars Herb Edelman (Wheels on Meals), Richard Jordan (The Hunt for Red October), and James Shigeta (Die Hard)
Here’s a reminder of the film itself…
Ron Van Clief: The Black Dragon’s Revenge
The Film Detective is releasing a cult slice of 70s Kung Fu action The Black Dragon’s Revenge, a production that combines elements of Bruce’sploitation and Blaxploitation. American martial arts legend Ron Van Clief, the Black Dragon, is hired to find out who really killed Bruce Lee. Directed by Tony Liu, the film also stars Jason Pai Piao (Angel Terminators 2), Yuen Qiu (Kung Fu Hustle), Dai Sai Aan (pretty much every 70s kung fu movie ever made!) and Philip Ko Fei (The Challenger).
Van Clief made a number of Far Eastern projects in the 70s with producer Serafim Keraflexis marketing The Black Dragon, who was a contemporary of Bruce Lee, and spent some time in Hong Kong studying various martial arts styles with such teachers as Wing Tsun Grandmaster Leung Ting. We’d love to see the rest of those films get a remastered release like this one.
Shout Factory will be releasing the blu-ray of 1984’s Exterminator 2, directed by Mark Buntzman and starring Robert Ginty (who reprises his role as John Eastland, the Vietnam Vet who turned vigilante in James Glickenhaus’ 1980 original The Exterminator).
This time around, Eastland’s hopes at a quiet life are shattered when he and those he loves fall foul of the high-as-a-kite ‘Drug Lord X’ (Mario Van Peebles) and his army of thugs who are causing ‘a rumble in the Bronx’. Eastland is forced to take the law and a flamethrower into his own hands and become The Exterminator once again!
Kino Lorber is releasing 1985’s Certain Fury, directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (father of Jake and Maggie). It tells of two girls, Tracy (Fame‘s Irene Cara) and Scarlet (Tatum O’Neal) …one innocent, one not so… who are caught up in a brutal case of mistaken identity and forced to go on the run, accused of a crime they didn’t commit. The film also stars veteran Peter Fonda from Easy Rider and Cannonball Run and comes with the following special features;
- Newly Remastered
- Commentary by Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer
- Reversible Blu-ray Art
- Optional English SDH subtitles
The film was given a Hong Kong gender swapping makeover as nto The Fire a couple of years later with Mr Vampire‘s Chin Siu-ho and a young Collin Chou (Matrix Reloaded, License to Steal) under his ‘Ngai Sing’ alias as the mismatched couple.
Certain Fury trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD50yy_tCn4
Into The Fire teaser trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks2mrw2lixM
While we’d love the idea of Cynthia Rothrock returning to her Hong Kong roots to play the first female Chen Zhen in a gender-bending take on Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, that’s not what this is. Inspired, it seems, by Severein Films recent Films of Fury compilation of martial arts movie trailers, Cynthia hosts Fists of Fury from Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment.
It’s unclear from the synopsis at this point whether it will mostly be a collection of clips or a wider documentary… but the synopsis reads:
“Class is in session as your seductive sensei, Cynthia Rothrock, gives you the hardest hitting lessons of your life! Courses include a study on the greatest ‘Martial Arts Movie Masters’, ‘Deadliest Weapons”, and the many failed attempts at recreating the ‘Magic of Bruce Lee’. Will you earn your cinematic black-belt or get tossed on the pile of failed students? The only way to find out is to find and feel the Fists of Fury!”