The Fight Nerd

June 18, 2014

“Martial Arts Movie Marathon Volume 1″ DVD Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — The Fight Nerd @ 10:03 AM

Have you ever met anyone that disliked Hong Kong action movies? If so, I hope you kicked them in the face repeatedly until they changed their point of view. Old Kung Fu movies are great on so many different levels, whether they are awful and cheesy, or super serious and instant classics. Shout! Factory has gotten in on the action scene, and released the first volume of their “Martial Arts Movie Marathon” collection last month, which contains four movies that have not officially been released on DVD before.

This two-disc set contains four movies from the famous Golden Harvest production company, “The Skyhawk”, “The Manchu Boxer”, “The Dragon Tamers”, and “The Association”, all of which look and sound better than they ever have before this release. It’s a who’s who of stars in this set of movies that most of us (myself included) probably never heard of or saw before unless you are a hardcore Kung Fu movie fan.

“The Skyhawk” from 1974 stars Tak-Hing Kwan as the famous Wong Fei Hung, who has been portrayed by countless actors in Hong Kong Cinema including Jet Li and Jackie Chan (although Chan’s portrayal is a much more humorous one). Nicknamed “The Skyhawk”, Wong Fei Hung and his associate Fei Fei (Sammo Hung AKA Fatty in the english dub), are on their way to visiting an old friend, when they rescue a Kung Fu student getting beat up by a rival school. This leads to them getting involved in the local politics, as a mobster is trying to take control of factory workers by any means necessary, and it is up to Wong Fei Hung to sort things out and make everything right. The movie also stars Nora Miao, Carter Huang, and Whang In Sik, with the action scenes directed by Sammo Hung. I am a big fan of Sammo Hung’s work, and his earlier movies still shine as great examples of old and new fighting, and are absolutely worth a watch.

Also from 1974, “The Manchu Boxer” follows a roaming fighter with a dark past that ends up entering a Kung Fu tournament to become Champion of Seven Provinces, but nothing is ever that simple in a tournament, as the fighter must dispose of a crooked family with more sinister plans. Starring Anthony Lau Wing, Sammo Hung (who also directed the action here), and Wilson Tong Wai Shing, the film is a bit slow but when the action happens, it makes up for the long journey it took to get there. Plot heavy but with explosive fights, it’s the typical story of the reluctant hero who refuses to fight until things get personal, and once that happens, all bets are off!

“The Dragon Tamers” from 1975 is notable for being director John Woo’s second film (he both directed and wrote the screenplay for this one), and features Chuan Chen, James Tien, Carter Huang, Ji Han Jae, and Sammo Hung. A Chinese martial artist comes to Korea with the intention of challenging a Taekwondo master. He soon meets a group of people belonging to several martial arts dojos which are localized in the area, and are being attack by a mysterious gang who intend to take control of the schools. If you have been reading this review, I am sure you can figure out what happens next.

You can definitely get a sense that this is a John Woo film, even at this early stage of his career, although it is also clear that the studio must have had some hands in this since there are a lot of random and unnecessary scenes that the movie could do without. Also of note, a young Jackie Chan was an assistant on filming the fight scenes in this movie, which is just a cool note to martial arts movie history.

Lastly, “The Association” from 1975 stars Byong Yu, Tien Ni, Hwang In Sik, Angela Mao Ying, and Carter Huang, and is about a pair of undercover cops that must bust an international prostitution ring that may have ties to police corruption. This movie, which rides the thin line of Kung Fu flick and exploitation movie, has some very stylish fight scenes that were once again choreographed by Sammo Hung. This movie also marks the only time that Byong Yu did a movie, who is a very high-ranking Tae Kwon Do master. It’s a pity he only did one movie, but to be fair, this one is a bit of mess that has awesome fight scenes, but a lagging plot – and frankly, exploitation movies are just not my thing, especially not HK ones.

Overall, “The Martial Arts Movie Marathon” series is shaping up into something pretty interesting. While some movies were definitely better than others, they are all worth watching (even if you do have to fast-forward through a few of the slow parts). While I like my Kung Fu movies to have stories, if you are coming just for the action then all of these movies will give you your fix. These are some hidden treasures that have been unearthed, and are a piece of Kung Fu cinema history that you will definitely enjoy for their cheesiness, and love for the action!

You can order the Martial Arts Movie Marathon Volume 1 DVD set from Amazon.com for around $18, and is a great price for some lost classics that have never looked better.

June 17, 2014

Topps “UFC Knockout” 2014 Trading Cards Review

Filed under: Features,Lead Story,Product Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 9:58 AM

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Topps has been producing UFC cards for a few years now, with every line topping the last one. Whether it be special inserts, contests, or just re-designing the ordinary cards, Topps has proven why they are the leading trading card manufacturer in the industry. I got my hands on an early release of the company’s next batch of UFC cards, titled “UFC Knockout”, and am sharing with you what I saw to see if the cards still live up to the hype or not.

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This year, the cards are not packaged in shiny wrappers, but come in small cardboard boxes shaped like a long octagon. This parallelogram packaging makes these cards stand out on shelves, and they look pretty cool too. Each pack contains only five cards, which is the smallest amount ever seen with this line. The reasoning behind that is that the paper stock of the cards is now a much thicker stock, twice the size of the older cards, and every pack guarantees either a signature or memorabilia card, which were rare in the previous releases.

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Inside the box, the cards are still wrapped up in a silver package to prevent people from peeking into the cardboard to see what they are getting before purchasing. If you buy these in stores, make sure your boxes are sealed to prevent yourself from scooping up a pack that was rummaged through, or worst off, cards were removed and you get screwed.

Let’s tear into a few packs and see what the cards look like!

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As I mentioned, the cards are all on very heavy stock, and remind me of the Marvel cards that Flair released in the mid ’90’s. This heavier card allows for some fancy new printing techniques, with some of the best resolution photos of fighters we have seen in this line. No pixelation or grain, these pictures are crystal clear and the printing helps make that possible.

Below are a few other cards I got, including a horizontally aligned card so you can see what that looks like.

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Here is the back of the cards, which feature succinct bios and stats for the fighter on the card. There are 100 cards total in this line, not counting the special inserts or the sub-lines, which are also included in each pack and are numbered (something that still puzzles me to this day). So, the breakdown for each pack is three normal cards, one numbered normal card, and one special insert – guaranteed for every pack.

And below are some of the special cards I got!

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These are the memorabilia cards AKA relic cards, which include either a piece of fight-worn gear or a piece of the cage the fighters battled in. I lucked out and got a GSP card, which made me extremely happy. Back in the older lines, the super thick card stock was used solely for these specialty cards, but now they are all thick (although Soa’s card was a bit thicker because of the material from the mats).

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And above are two types of signature cards, one of which includes some fight-worn gear. The signatures are all hand-signed, and every card is individually numbered to drive hardcore collectors insane. Worth noting, in the four packs that I got, I only got single fighter cards and these special cards. Gone are the famous fights cards that featured a fight in action rather than a shot focused solely on one fighter, as well as all other special cards. The focus has now become the signature or memorabilia cards, and since I got no other types of cards, it’s safe to assume that those other types have been cut from the line. There are some other rarer special inserts, but I can not comment on those since the luck of the draw gave me what you saw above.

A big part of the new launch will be the 2014 UFC Knockout Golden Ticket Promotion. There will be ten Golden Tickets randomly inserted into boxes of these cards. Those ten will have a chance to be selected for a meet-and-greet session with UFC Ambassador, Chael Sonnen, and a chance to train with him, while the nine runner-ups will receive a piece of training equipment signed by Sonnen.

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This is definitely Topps’ strongest line in terms of targeting card collectors or very serious UFC fans. However, because of this, these cards are not really the type or card just anyone is going to pick up. With a sealed box of these holding eight mini-boxes costing around 80 on Amazon.com
, that means a single mini-box will cost around $20. That is a HUGE price to pay for only five cards, but you are guaranteed a signature or a relic card, which makes them worth the price if you are an autograph hound.

The cards are all extremely nice and great to look at, made from some high quality paper, and the special cards are definitely some of the best Topps has made, so if you can afford them, dive in and pick them up today.

 

June 16, 2014

Fight Nerd Cinema: “Broken Oath” Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:40 AM

Released by Golden Harvest in 1977, “Broken Oath” is a story that might seem vaguely familiar to martial arts movie buffs, and there is a perfectly legitimate reason for that. As part of Shout Factory’s six-movie set, The Angela Mao Ying Collection , this is another Angela Mao classic that has been remastered for your viewing pleasure.

The wrongfully imprisoned wife of a general (her husband betryaed and murdered by turncoats) ends up on a barge headed to a prison island. There, she meets “Thousand Hands”, a female pickpocket who is now a warden in the jail. One night, the woman gives birth to a baby girl (the product of a rape from one of the turncoats) that she wants to seek vengeance on those who wronged her family, but the pickpocket instead gives the young child to a Shaolin monastery, hoping to stop any more violence from happening. Named Jie Lian (“Pure Lotus”) by the monks, the child grows up (Angela Mao) into a rambunctious and aggressive girl that prefers fighting over praying. After killing a group of ruffians that attack her one day in the woods (courtesy of the girl’s fetish with tiny poisonous scorpions), Jie Lian is exiled from the temple. Retreating to her godmother, the pickpocket from earlier, Jie learns the truth about her past and begins to hunt down those who wronged her with the goal of restoring her family name. While she is busy wiping out bad guys and playing with bugs, she befriends Ah Shu, another pickpocket that “Thousand Hands” trained, and together they wreak havoc on the underworld… or something like that. Twists and turns happen, as well as meeting a mysterious Kung Fu master that knows more than he is saying.

This movie features a ton of martial arts movie big names early in their careers, including Mars (an actor often seen in Jackie Chan’s movies), Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, and Sammo Hung, who also appeared with Mao in “When Tae Kwon Do Strikes”, playing a Japanese bigot. The movie is actually a remake of a Japanese movie called “Lady Snowblood”, which Quentin Tarantino borrowed heavily from for his “Kill Bill” movies. One scene in particular looks a lot like the fight between the Bride and the Crazy 88’s, minus the over-the-top blood and guts.

The story is a basic premise for a Kung Fu flick – revenge and honor. While way too many Shaw Brothers movies used that trope, Golden Harvest was often more successful at it thanks to actually scripting things and having larger budgets to utilize better actors, camera equipment, and more intricate sets. The fight scenes are wonderfully shot and choreographed (oh, to live in the days before shaky cameras), and Angela Mao is as graceful and powerful as always. With her lightning fast kicks and sharp hand strikes, it’s awesome watching her take on a dozen men and beat them senseless.

Despite being over 90 minutes long, the movie is fast-paced with tons of snappy action scenes that feel like they belong, and are not just random fights for the sake of having them. Strong plots are something that many old school Kung Fu movies did not have. Here, there is a good plot that will have you heavily invested, and even better is the fact that this version from Shout Factory looks better than it did when it first hit theaters. Upgraded sound, improved video quality, and remastered for modern TV screens, Shout Factory does a great job with finding classic Kung Fu movies and breathing new life into them.

Good news for you, since you can get this and five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set today for some very high-quality martial arts action.

June 12, 2014

All Bellator Tournament Winners Now In World Title Shot Pool … FOREVER!

Filed under: News — Tags: — The Fight Nerd @ 1:22 PM

With Bellator’s 2014 Summer Series having just begun last Friday, Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney announced today that the promotion has made an addition to its real sport, tournament based format that allows former Bellator Tournament winners the potential to be granted a World Title fight without going back into The Toughest Tournament in Sports.

“Just like we’ve done since day one, any fighter who wins The Toughest Tournament in Sports will still be guaranteed a World Title fight,” Rebney said. “The addition I’m making here, that I’m really excited about, is if you’ve won a tournament, you’ll join an elite group of athletes who we can grant a world title fight to at any time.”

“For example, if you win a tournament, fight for the World Title and lose, you forever remain in that elite group of fighters who can be awarded another shot at the title. We will place some fighters back into tournaments, while others may lose a world title fight, win some non-tournament fights and be awarded another shot at the title. We won’t be implementing any hard and fast rule as to when a fighter will go back into a tournament and when he’ll fight non-tournament fights and potentially be granted another title shot. What’s great about this addition is that it allows us to stay true to our core format, where title shots can only be earned through a tournament win, while also providing us tremendous flexibility to make the great fights fans want to see. And, we can do all this while keeping our fighters busy and battling in meaningful fights on a re-occurring basis. This is another step in our constant evolution and most importantly it’s a win for the fighters and the fans.”

“When I heard about this change, I instantly fell in love with it,” Bellator Interim Lightweight Champion Will Brooks said. “This is a way to keep guys active after they have proven themselves in a tournament. You always want to stay in the mix as a fighter, and it’s really exciting to me that Bellator is taking the fighters and fans opinions to heart and making decisions to put on the best fights possible. It’s refreshing to see and be a part of, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

“At the end of the day, everyone wants to see guys they know stay busy and active,” Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima said. “As fighters we want to stay busy and keep fighting, and this new change helps keep the talent pool fresh and creates new challengers for us. I know the tournament isn’t going anywhere, it’s how we all came up and got our titles, but now we have a chance to keep staying busy and keep defending our titles.”

The current pool of fighters eligible to be chosen to fight for the world title includes:

Bantamweight: Eduardo Dantas*, Joe Warren*, Marcos Galvao, Rafael Silva

Featherweight: Pat Curran*, Patricio Pitbull, Daniel Straus, Shahbulat Shamhalaev, “Frodo” Khasbulaev, Daniel Weichel, Joe Warren.

Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez*, Will Brooks*, Michael Chandler, Pat Curran, Rick Hawn, Dave Jansen, David Rickels

Welterweight: Douglas Lima*, Karl Amoussou, Andrey Koreshkov, Rick Hawn

Middleweight: Alexander Shlemenko*, Brennan Ward, Doug Marshall

Light Heavyweight: Emanuel Newton*, Rampage Jackson, King Mo, Christian M’Pumbu, Atilla Vegh,

Heavyweight: Vitaly Minakov*, Alexander Volkov, Cheick Kongo

* Denotes Current Bellator Champion or Interim Champion

June 10, 2014

WSOF 11 to be NBC’s first televised MMA event, with Gaethje VS Newell for lightweight title

Just last week, World Series of Fighting made headlines when promotion officials announced a major partnership renewal with NBC that will see the organization air live events on the major network twice this year – and many more times in years to follow. The promotion’s inaugural NBC-broadcast event, “World Series of Fighting 11: Gaethje vs. Newell” now takes place July 5 at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.

World Series of Fighting 11 is headlined by a lightweight championship bout with the exciting Justin Gaethje (11-0) putting his belt on the line against the extremely tough and talented “Notorious” Nick Newell (11-0). Also on the card, a highly anticipated welterweight rubber match takes place as we see Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) take on Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (27-10). Both Fitch and Burkman boast a win over each other, so this bout is for bragging rights.

Additionally, newly signed lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (31-13-2) debuts against Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (18-7-1) and Cody “Bam Bam” Bollinger (15-2, 1 NC) faces a dangerous 14-year veteran in Pablo Alfonso (9-5) in an intriguing bantamweight contest.

“We’ve been talking about it for some time now, and we’re thrilled to see all of the pieces falling perfectly into place for our first show on NBC,” said World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo. “With World Series of Fighting 11 taking place over the holiday weekend in Daytona, the world’s most famous beach, we are anticipating fireworks from the Fourth to continue in the cage. I know that it will be another great night of fights for all of our fans.”

Lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is a member of Colorado’s Grudge Training Center and has already earned World Series of Fighting wins over Rich Patishnock, Dan Lauzon, Brian Cobb and Gesias Cavalcante. Fighting professionally since 2011, the 25-year-old is undefeated in his first 11 career fights, and 10 of those have ended via stoppage, including nine by knockout.

“Notorious” Nick Newell will be challenging Gaethje for his lightweight championship when the cage doors close. The inspirational Newell, who shares an identical record (11-0) with his opponent, last defeated Sabah Fadai at World Series of Fighting 7. It was his second submission victory in as many fights under the World Series of Fighting banner, having previously dispatched of Keon Caldwell at World Series of Fighting 4 with a modified guillotine choke that earned him a top play on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

When Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) and Josh Burkman (27-10) met for the second time in their careers at World Series of Fighting 3 event Las Vegas, Burkman was determined to return the favor from when Fitch submitted him with a rear-naked choke seven years earlier. Despite being the underdog going into the fight, Burkman succeeded in a victory that earned him a “Submission of the Year” nomination at the World MMA Awards. Both fighters have earned victories since World Series of Fighting 3, with Burkman scoring an impressive first-round knockout over Tyler Stinson on March 9 and Fitch beating Marcelo Alfaya at World Series of Fighting 6.

Melvin Guillard is well-known as one of the most explosive and dangerous knockout artists in all of combat sports. Fighting professionally since he was just a teenager, Guillard is one of the most athletically gifted strikers in the sport today and is capable of ending any fight in a single punch. Meanwhile, Gesias Cavalcante is a well-respected veteran of the sport who has fought previously for Strikeforce and DREAM and now competes for the fourth time under the World Series of Fighting banner. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 2-1 with the promotion with stoppage victories over T.J. O’Brien and Tyson Griffin, and his only loss in that span came due to a cut against current champ Gaethje.

Bollinger made his promotional debut at World Series of Fighting 8 in January and took a unanimous decision against Tyson Nam, giving him back-to-back wins. Alfonso brings a three-fight winning streak to the bout, including a first-round submission of former WEC champ Miguel Torres at World Series of Fighting 6 this past October.

“When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 9:24 AM

Angela Mao Ying was one of the first women signed to Golden Harvest when the company was formed, and had an enormously successful film career. If the name Golden Harvest sounds familiar, it’s because they were the powerhouse production company in Hong Kong that churned out films with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Bolo Yeung to name a few. Female martial arts movies were popular, but not necessarily as financially successful as their male counterparts. However, Angela Mao garnered a huge following, and was even in Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” (playing his movie sister). Shout Factory has released an epic three-disc DVD set called “The Angela Mao Ying Collection
“, which includes six of her best films in it, and today we look at one of them.

From 1973, “When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” co-starred Jhoon Rhee, who is considered the father of American Tae Kwon Do and was a good friend of Bruce Lee. The film also stars Carter Huang (or Wong depending on how you see it), who was a huge star in his own right in the 70’s in martial arts movies, and many American fans would know him from “Big Trouble in Little China”, when he was Thunder. It also has appearances by Sammo Hung and Yuein Biao, so you know you are getting something incredible just from reading the cast list.

Directed by Huang Feng, the film takes place in Korea around the time of WW II, when the country was under Japanese rule. Carter Huang’s character, Jin, is chased by a group of Japanese Karate students who claim he was on their territory. He is chased into a French-operated Church where he is rescued by Uncle Li (Jhoon Rhee) and the Priest’s daughter, Mary (Anne Winton in her only movie appearance), however the Priest inside does not approve of this, especially not Li teaching his daughter Tae Kwon Do. The Koreans want to leave and hide, but the Priest refuses to do so. As the group flees, more Japanese come and torture the priest (led by Sammo Hung playing a Japanese man) who refuses to reveal anything. Uncle Li makes the save and flees with Mary and Jin to a camp with his TKD students, but unbeknownst to them, the Priest has been taken prisoner and is being tortured for information.

Li heads to a Chinese restaurant, where Angela Mao (as Wan Ling Ching) is a waitress who grew up in Seoul and offers amnesty to Li. He sends her to the church, where she fights off a horde of Japanese and discovers the truth about the Priest’s whereabouts. Now that she is on this, the Japanese target her and go so far as to kill her mother, while Mary goes to investigate her father directly with the Japanese that have him. Li goes to the Japanese karate school to get back the Priest, who is murdered, and despite fighting off most of the school, Li himself now becomes a prisoner of the Japanese. With the Japanese harassing more innocent bystanders and causing more problems in town, Ling, Anne, and Jin storm the Japanese and have an all-out battle with the winners to take all!

It takes 24 minutes for her to appear in the film, but once she does, Angela Mao gets some great fight scenes. From her battle in the church to her sword fight in the restaurant, Mao gets to show off a variety of her fighting abilities with and without weapons. Mao has several fight scenes with Sammo Hung, which are definitely the highlight of the movie, but every one of the actors does an excellent job. Despite this being his first and only movie, Jhoon Rhee as well does exceptionally well, both in acting and in performing the fight sequences. It’s also a pity that Anne Winton did not do more movies since she was pretty good as well for a first timer.

If you have never seen an Angela Mao movie, “When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” is a great place to start. Loaded with some of the best martial artists at the time and many who would go on to do bigger things in the near future, this movie delivers a different plot with great fight choreography and smart action sequences. Many Hong Kong action movies had Chinese nationalist themes to them, but this movie has Korean nationalist themes that adds a welcome change to how the plot progresses and how the viewer feels for the characters. Often times, the nationalist theme is shoved down our throats, but this one is more about the characters and their relationship to their homeland, rather than them being the defenders of their country. It’s a story we have seen before but done in a much more creative way. Furthermore, this is a Shout Factory re-release, and the company has masterfully restored the picture and audio in this movie, making their copy the best way to see it. I highly recommend giving this movie a watch.

Good news for you, since you can get this and five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set today for some very high-quality martial arts action.

June 9, 2014

“In The Blood” Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 9:22 AM

Gina Carano’s name has been popping up again in the MMA world, with rumors of her interest to return to fighting. Convenient when you consider that her latest movie, “In the Blood”, has been doing its best to hype her up as being relevant in the sport and getting her name back in the mainstream once more. After Gina left MMA following her loss to Cris Cyborg, she virtually disappeared from the fight game, other than her film career that let her beat up some dudes. Fast forward to today, when we have her latest flick which I can genuinely say is one of the best things that she has done so far.

Carano plays Ava, a girl with a dark past in drugs and a scary abusive father that taught her how to be a survivalist (which mostly meant attacking and stabbing her with sharp objects), who has just wed the love of her life Derek (Cam Gigandet of “The Twilight Saga”). When they go to their honeymoon in the Caribbean, Ava messes with the wrong people at a nightclub, resulting in Derek having a terrible accident and being kidnapped. A conspiracy involving the police and the entire island is uncovered as Ava does her best Liam Neeson impersonation to uncover the truth, since she has a very particular set of skills that make her a nightmare to people like Luis Guzman and Amaury Nolasco.

It really is like Gina Carano’s verison of “Taken”, and I am totally okay with that. Carano has improved greatly as an actress, although she still has plenty of room for improvement. Her way to convey happiness is just the most fake-looking smile, occasionally paired with a lower lip bite, and her line readings often fall flat, especially when her lines are very short (which happens a lot in the beginning of the film). Once her husband gets kidnapped, Gina gets to let loose and becomes much more natural and the direction of John Stockwell really helps her out in that regard.

Stockwell does a great job of creating authentic tension in a lot of scenes, including a great one where she holds a guy hostage on the middle of a zipline and another where she is stabbing another repeatedly with a pen. If it was shot any other way, it would have felt hokey, but Stockwell knows how to make the viewer really squirm and make Gina’s character feel completely unpredictable. His resume is also one that has used a lot of tropical locales, so he makes great use of Puerto Rico not just as a backdrop, but involving locals to make everything feel more legit and to immerse the viewer into the craziness that is happening on the island.

The supporting cast does a great job too, especially our main baddies in Luis Guzman and Amaury Nolasco. Guzman was a superb casting choice as the chief of police on the island, and Amaury plays the big baddie who has some pretty solid motivation for kidnapping Ava’s beau. Lest we forget Danny Trejo, who gets front package billing but only appears for two or three minutes total in a movie that is 108 minutes long.

The most MMA action we get in the movie is a flying armbar type attack in the nightclub fight early in the film, and after that, Gina mostly delivers low kicks, elbows, and knees. Ben Bray, who also appears as a cop who gets beat up a few times in the movie, coordinated the fights, along with input from Carano, and they are action-packed sequences that come off more realistic compared to her fights in other movies, but it’s nothing super impressive or jaw dropping. However, in the context of the movie, it works very well and once again, the direction of the scenes suck you in and make you feel like you are part of the fights. There are plenty of other great stunts in the movie and a big shoot out, but telling you what those are would be spoilers.

I don’t want to say that I was surprised by how much I liked “In The Blood”, since that comes off insulting to everyone who worked on this movie. I had low expectations from Gina’s past films, but this one is definitely one of the best she has done and was very watchable. Being nearly two hours long makes it drag a bit, especially in the early parts of the movie, but once it gets going, it’s paced well and is pretty exciting to watch. I actually liked a Gina Carano movie! What is the world coming to?

You can order “In the Blood” from Amazon.com, and it’s actually worth checking out, whether you are a Gina fan or not. I am actually excited to see what else Gina is working on next, even though this is not the best fight flick ever, but it’s still a very solid movie that is a lot of fun and will remind you of all the good times we used to have back in the days of Elite XC.

June 3, 2014

FIRST 8-MAN TOURNAMENT MATCH-UP ANNOUNCED FOR “GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:34 AM

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GLORY, the world’s premier kickboxing league, today announced the first match-up in the one-night, 8-man tournament for its inaugural Pay-Per-View (PPV) event, GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING, to air live from The Forum, Presented by Chase, in Inglewood, California on Saturday, June 21st.

Power puncher Melvin ‘No Mercy’ Manhoef (47-11-0, 37 KO) makes his GLORY debut when he takes on technician Filip ‘The Belgian Bull’ Verlinden (42-11-1, 16 KO) in the tournament’s opening round. The winner will advance to the semi-final round and remain in contention to be crowned GLORY Middleweight World Champion.

The following video is a pre-fight interview with Melvin Manhoef, previewing the event.

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Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef is one of the most exciting names in combat sports, from kickboxing to MMA and back. Melvin trains with the legendary Mike Passenier, and he’s promised his friends and family that he will be the Last Man Standing in Los Angeles.

His opponent, Filip Verlinden’s pre-fight interview can be found below.

Filip “The Belgian Bull” Verlinden is the only fighter in GLORY to have competed in Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, and now Middleweight. Filip is a very technical, intelligent fighter, and he’s hung with some of the most powerful men in the fight game.

June 2, 2014

Randy Couture & Frank Shamrock team up for Spike TV’s “Gym Rescue”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 4:31 PM

Spike TV is getting in shape for summer with “Gym Rescue” hosted by MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock. The 3-episode series premieres Sunday, August 10 at 9:00pm ET/PT. 
 
More and more Americans every year are joining gyms to stay in shape and live healthier and more productive lives. However, running a successful gym is fraught with economic peril as many end up closing due to grievous mismanagement.
 
MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock use their years of expertise in the business of mixed martial arts to help turn struggling gyms into thriving enterprises.  Couture currently owns a successful chain of gyms, Xtreme Couture MMA while Shamrock runs the acclaimed Shamrock MMA.  Together this dynamic duo has the know-how and track record to help take a failing gym on the ropes and turn it into a champion. 
 
From traditional gyms to military-style boot-camps to yoga studios, Couture and Shamrock will do whatever it takes to whip the failing gyms into shape. From re-defining the gym’s identity, to renovating the outdated workout equipment to revising their marketing strategies, no problem is too big for this team of heavyweights. The hosts will also confront the gym owners with their assessment and plan of attack. No detail will go unnoticed as they scour the facility’s procedures from top to bottom. At the end of every episode, the new gym is revealed and it’s determined if the once failing gym has become a winning success.
 
The series was shot on location in Florida and Colorado.
 
“Gym Rescue” is produced by Kinetic Content with Chris Coelen, Couture and Samuel Spira as Executive Producers.
 

UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson VS Khabilov Breakdown

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:26 PM

BY RICH MILLER

Benson Henderson can be a frustrating fighter to follow. On the one hand he holds a career record of 20-3 and has held lightweight championship titles in two different promotions, most recently UFC. On the other hand, he hasn’t been nearly as convincing in the ring as his record or potential suggest he should, often leaving decisions in the hands of the judges (sometimes with controversial results) instead of leaving no doubt against opponents many feel he is clearly superior to.

Still, he has earned his place at the top of UFC’s Lightweight division, where he currently sits as the number one contender for Austin Pettis’s title. The fact that Pettis has beaten Henderson twice (with a championship on the line both times) and given Henderson his only UFC loss adds a certain aspect to Henderson’s next bout with the intriguing Rustam Khabilov.

The two meet this weekend at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first time UFC is holding an event in the state. Albuquerque is also the adopted hometown of the Russian-born Khabilov, who could become a serious contender in the lightweight division if he is able to upset Henderson.

Khabilov has many around the sport wondering just how good he can be, and this fight is a prime opportunity to figure that out. He holds a career 17-1 record, including 3-0 in UFC, and his one career loss came via split decision in 2010. His first two fights after signing with UFC were impressive victories over Vinc Pichel and Yancy Medeiros. In those fights he dominated while displaying a flair for suplexing his opponents that is rarely seen in MMA. While his most recent fight in November against Jorge Masvidal wasn’t quite as dominant, he still secured a unanimous decision victory and his overall body of work has solidified him as a fringe contender for the top spot in his weight class.

Henderson, however, is anything but a fringe contender. Since losing the Lightweight title to Pettis in August he has won his only fight while limiting his risk in order to properly to stay in the championship picture. To that end, Khabilov could be dangerous if Henderson looks past him to a time when the currently-injured Pettis is accepting fights again.

Henderson, for his part, seems to know what he is getting in to. He recently called Khabilov a “tough kid,” while displaying an impressive knowledge of Khabilov’s fight style. That dedication to scouting combined with Henderson’s talent and past performance are the reason he is the big favorite heading in to the fight, with almost every sportsbook on www.gambling.com installing him as a 2/5 favorite less than a week away from the fight.

While Khabilov is fighting for respect and will have the hometown advantage, it might be just a little too early in his promising career to expect a victory over one of the division’s top names. Add Henderson’s desire and focus to avenge his previous losses to Pettis and the blow a loss would deal to his contendership, and Henderson seems like a solid bet.

No matter what, the June 7 fight should pit the Lightweight Division’s present against one of the more promising faces of it’s future.

 

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