3 1/2 Stars
Its bad guys against badder guys in the high-spirited action orgy, High Voltage. Johnny Clay (Antonio Sabato, Jr.) and his band of thieves rob a bank owned by the Vietnamese mafia, thus inadvertently setting in motion a plot in which the robbers are on the run from gangsters. Isaac Florentine is the ace behind the camera, while this is still among his early work the man’s talent shines through in every scene. Working from (what appears to be) a minuscule budget, Florentine and his collaborators have crated a supremely satisfying low-brow feast of kicks, gunplay, and explosions. All highlighted by John Woo-esque camera pans and whips. High Voltage is entertaining enough for the late night crowd and good enough to attract the attention of those not usually accustomed to this fare.
The latest output from the recently ultra-prolific Christian Slater, puts him in the hands of gifted action ace director Isaac Florentine. Unfortunately this muddled affair, is missing the style, energy and overall watch ability of nearly any film in Florentine’s movie cannon. Starting things off with a sequence that recalls, the opening of Face/Off, the story shifts gears and eventually settles on Slater’s government agent character, known simply as Robert and some political hits being conducted by an assassin in Bulgaria. While it is typical for a film of this level to take advantage of the incentives involved with a production in Eastern Europe, Assassin’s Bullet is cheap looking even by modest standards. The camera whips and pans, usually accompanied with a ‘whooshing’ affect on the soundtrack, to give the viewer an impression that something, anything is happening during this snoozer.
Mykel Shannon Jenkins is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He has appeared in numerous television shows and soap operas during his career. Recently Mr. Jenkins made his motion picture debut in the heralded action film ‘Undisputed 3′. This film has catapulted him into the ranks of rising action stars and has given him international recognition for his performance and athleticism. We talked with Mr. Jenkins about his career and working with action icons Scott Adkins and Issac Florentine.
J: When did you know that you wanted to act professionally and how did you get involved with the industry?
Mykel Jenkins: My mother was an actress so I’ve been around it my whole life. When I decided to do it professionally my father objected strenuously. He said there were no benefits, money, or health insurance involved. In my mind I thought “Tom Cruise had health insurance”, though I would never tell him that. I was in New Orleans just hanging around the set of ‘Double Jeopardy’. I caught the director’s eye and he says, “Have you ever acted before?”. He told me I had a certain look. It was only a few lines.
I graduated and was bored I got a couple jobs. I just tried to press it and fortunately I found an agent who liked my aggressive style. A lot of them don’t. She said, “I’ll submit you for this one role and depending on how you perform, we may start a relationship”. I booked the job and from there we started rolling. It’s just a matter of really pushing yourself, I’ve been fortunate enough to find people who believe in persistence and my talent. I take it very seriously coming from an athletic background; hard work pays off for me. Continue reading
Actress/producer Shirly Brener (Righteous Kill / Hit List) has teamed up with Praxis Films (Spring 1941 / Joseph Finess) to produce a slate of 6 films. The first film under the pact will be “Blood Hostage”, a mixed martial arts – krav maga action film that begins shooting in Tel Aviv, Isreal on July 15, 2010. Helmer Isaac Florentine (Undisputed 2 and 3, Ninja) will direct action star Scott Adkins in the film about a former operative who travels into Lebanon to rescue his former wife’s new husband.
“My vision for joining forces with Praxis is to bring American films to shoot in Israel and Europe whereby we are promoting the film industries worldwide and generating jobs for crews and talent”, said Brener. “It has always been my mission to spread the film industry globally, whether as actor or producer.” Billy Chartoff (The Mechanic), Eviatar Dotan and Rami Damri are also producing “Blood Hostage”, which will be distributed by Lightning Media.
The movie sounds great, and we at Movie Mavericks have always enjoyed both Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins films. The press release that was issued does list a slightly different plot than what’s available on IMDb. IMDb – “A brother is out to rescue and avenge his younger brother caught in Lebanon by terrorists.” But either way I don’t think we’ll be let down.
If you think you’ve seen Shirley before, it’s most likely you’ve caught one of the many films she’s acted in: ‘Streets of Blood’ with Val Kilmer, 50 Cent and Sharon Stone, ‘Labor Pains’ with Lindsay Lohan, ‘Righteous Kill’ with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, ‘War, Inc.’ with John Cusack, and many more.
3 1/2 Stars
The follow up to surprise hit ‘Undisputed 2′, is a near flawless Martial Arts film that doesn’t concern itself with an over-complicated plot and showcases mind boggling fight sequences. Story picks up with Uri Boyka in prison recovering from his knee injury incurred during the second film. His goal; to fight in a competition that is similar to jail Olympics in the ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia. The plot is just an excuse to stage some of the most visceral action scenes in memory. The ‘fight tournament’ sub-genre high watermark is ‘Enter the Dragon’ or arguably ‘Bloodsport’. Leaving in their wake hundreds of cheap knock-offs that have littered DVD shelves for decades, however ‘Undisputed 3′ transcends it’s limited budget and is on par with, if not better than those previously mentioned classics. Fight choreographer Larnell Stover and Director Isaac Florentine have infused the film with a Unique blend of action, some Hong Kong flavor and a touch of Sergio Leone. Continue reading
The second Ninja film to be released in the last six months is far superior to the much higher budgeted Warner Bros.project Ninja Assassin. This direct-to-DVD genre flick is an enjoyable ride, and stands as an excellent example of what can be done on a low-budget when passion and creativity are involved. Scott Adkins’s impressive athleticism in the action sequences is the film’s greatest asset, yet surprisingly he’s just as good in the rare dramatic scenes. The story begins at a ninjitsu academy, and the rivalry forming between two students. Upon expulsion one becomes a deadly assassin obsessed with finding an ancient samurai sword. The other is sent by his master to protect the weapon.
Isaac Florentine has direct 13 feature films, and over 10 television shows. He has worked with stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, and Michael Jai White. His credits include the well-received Undisputed 2, The Shepherd, and Bridge of Dragons. Isaac’s newest film ‘Ninja‘, is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Jason: What films or filmmakers caused you to pursue a career in films?
Isaac: You can tell by my accent that I’m not American. I’m originally from Israel. Ever since I was a kid, I have been inspired by the cinema. My favorite films were the old spaghetti westerns from Sergio Leone; I really fell in love with them. Even more so than the American westerns that was coming out at the time. Continue reading