Martial arts films in “2015”
The year 2015 looks to be moving full speed ahead with martial arts films. Some of the upcoming titles expected next year include sequels, remakes, and some original films. So what can we expect in 2015? (NOTE: This list will be updated as we get more as we get more updates.)
UNDERDOG KIDS (January): After a sixteen-year hiatus from feature films, Phillip Rhee of BEST OF THE BEST is back in this family-friendly film that crossed THE KARATE KID and THE BAD NEWS BEARS. Rhee himself plays the mentor of the titular team, a former champion who seeks a shot at redemption for himself. The film co-stars Mirelly Taylor, Tom Arnold, Ryan Potter, Adam Irigoyen, and Rayna Valladingham. The film also has cameos from Benny Urquidez, Don Wilson, Jun Chong, Dan Inosanto, Simon Rhee, and Richard Norton. Shot early in 2014, the film is scheduled for release in January.
DRAGON BLADE (February 19): The Lunar New Year film stars Jackie Chan as Huo An, a Chinese soldier who joins forces with the tortured Roman soldier Lucius (John Cusack, right) to take on the vindictive Tiberius (Adrien Brody, left), who is hellbent on sending a legion towards the Silk Road. Directed by Daniel Lee with Chan serving as main action director.
WOLF WARRIOR (March 1): Martial arts action star Wu Jing makes his second film as director with this action packed war film that has hit go toe-to-toe with KFC favorite Scott Adkins. Wu plays a Chinese Special Forces soldier with extraordinary marksmanship who is confronted by a group of deadly foreign mercenaries (led by Adkins) who are hired to assassinate him by a vicious drug lord.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON II: THE GREEN LEGEND (August 28): The long-gestated sequel to the 2000 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film stars Michelle Yeoh as the returning Yu Shu Lien. However, this time around, Donnie Yen takes the male lead role as a new character, Silver Wolf. Unlike its predecessor, the film is shot in English under the director of legendary action helmer Yuen Woo-Ping. The supporting cast includes Jason Scott Lee, Harry Shum Jr., Juju Chan, Eugenia Yuan (whose mother Cheng Pei-Pei was in the original), Chris Pang, and Darryl Quon. John Fusco, who wrote THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM and created Netflix’s MARCO POLO series, wrote the screenplay based on characters from Wang Dulu.
SKIN TRADE (TBA): Directed by BEAUTIFUL BOXER helmer Ekachai Uekrongtham, the film stars Dolph Lundgren as a NYPD cop who goes to Bangkok to find the crime lord responsible for the death of his family. There, he teams up with a Thai detective, played by Tony Jaa, as they learn the crime boss is operating a human trafficking ring. Michael Jai White, Ron Perlman, Celina Jade, and Peter Weller co-star. 2015 could also be the year for Tony Jaa, who also has three films set for release in 2015, including FURIOUS 7, the latest installment of the FAST AND FURIOUS series.
SPL II: A TIME OF CONSEQUENCES (TBA): A prequel of sorts to the 2005 breakthrough Hong Kong action thriller features Wu Jing as a framed cop in a Thailand prison who finds himself teaming with Tony Jaa’s hard boiled prison guard to take on a deadly crime lord and his gang from within the prison. Louis Koo, Simon Yam, and Max Zhang co-star in the film, directed by Soi Cheang. The original film’s director, Wilson Yip, serves as the producer of the new installment. Dion Lam serves as the film’s action choreographer.
THE CHEMIST (TBA): Art Camacho directed and choreographed this upcoming action film starring French action star Olivier Gruner as an aging hitman who finds himself double-crossed when he refuses to kill his latest target. Now, he must face the wrath of his fellow hitmen and protect the target at all costs. Martin Kove, Patrick Kilpatrick, Nina Bergman, Stephanie Gerard, Steven Dell, and Sasha Mitchell co-star in the action film.
POUND OF FLESH (TBA): Jean-Claude Van Damme reunites with SIX BULLETS and ASSASSINATION GAMES director Ernie Barbarash on this action thriller where he plays a man who is unconscious and wakes up in a blood soaked bathtub with one of his kidneys missing. This sends him into rage mode and begins to look for the men responsible for his impromptu “surgery”. Darren Shahlavi, John Ralston, Aki Aleong, Jason Tobin, Mike Leeder (who also co-produced the film), and Brahim Achabbakhe co-star. Donnie Yen’s longtime friend and stunt team member John Salvitti serves as the film’s action director. Awesome poster by Gerardo Manaro.
KICKBOXER (TBA): The remake of the Jean-Claude Van Damme action film had been in development for the past year and a half with the major announcement that it would finally see the light of day. Despite a last minute departure from director Stephen Fung and co-star Tony Jaa, the film is currently in production in New Orleans. Martial artist and stuntman Alain Moussi (above) could be the breakout star of 2015 as he takes over the role originally played by Van Damme. The film will feature Van Damme himself in the role of the master (the role Jaa was to originally have played). Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Sara Malakul Lane, Georges St. Pierre, T.J. Storm, Matthew Ziff, Sam Medina, and Dave Bautista co-star with Bautista playing the menacing Tong Po in the film. John Stockwell took over directing duties with KFC favorite Larnell Stovall as fight choreographer and stunt coordinator and another KFC favorite Emmanuel Manzanares as assistant stunt coordinator.
KICKBOXER: CITY OF BLOOD (TBA): 2015 could be the year of Sasha Mitchell (above), who two decades ago played the character of David Sloane in KICKBOXER 2, KICKBOXER 3: THE ART OF WAR, and KICKBOXER 4: THE AGGRESSOR while playing Cody Lambert on the hit sitcom STEP BY STEP. After some minimal appearances in television and films, Mitchell is ready for a full comeback after appearing in Albert Pyun’s TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE last year. Now, Mitchell and Pyun are returning for a new installment of the original KICKBOXER saga in which he will now play a former kickboxing champ turned UN peacekeeper who faces an old enemy whose latest act of terror was witnessed by a young woman. Production is set to begin in January. This will be one of three films Mitchell will be appearing in next year.
THE MARTIAL ARTS KID (TBA): Martial arts legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock star in this family-friendly film as they play a husband and wife who take in their troubled nephew, played by Jansen Panettiere (above). When he is bullied, the duo decide to teach him martial arts to not only confront the bullies, but to help him become a better person himself. The film boasts one of the biggest casts of martial artists. Matthew Ziff, T.J. Storm, Kathryn Newton, and Chuck Zito co-star. Production was completed after shooting in Cocoa Beach, Florida and Los Angeles and is set to unleash in 2015.
ULTIMATE JUSTICE (TBA): The second film from Mike Leeder and Ruediger Kummerle’s new production company Silent Partners stars another returning action star, Mark Dacascos. In the film, a team of soldiers reunite when the family of one of their own are attacked. The film co-stars Matthias Hues, Brandon Rhea, Mike Moeller (who is also the film’s fight choreographer), and producer Mike Leeder himself. And speaking of Mark Dacascos.
SHOWDOWN IN MANILA (TBA): Mark Dacascos will be starring and directing this action film set to begin shooting in February. The cast will consist of some of your favorite 90′s B-movie action stars a la THE EXPENDABLES. Casper Van Dien, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, Matthias Hues, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, James Lew, and Tia Carrere will co-star in this film, produced by Alexander Nevsky and Andrzej Bartkowiak.
LADY BLOODFIGHT (TBA): Martial artist Amy Johnston takes her first lead role in this upcoming Bey Logan production to be directed by KISS OF THE DRAGON helmer Chris Nahon. Johnston plays Jane, an American girl in Japan whose raw fighting skills capture the attention of a karate master who trains her for the upcoming tournament, The Kumite. Jenny Wu co-stars as Jane’s rival Ling in this film, which will feature fight choreography by Xiong Xin-Xin. Shooting begins in January in Hong Kong and Macau.