Posts Tagged ‘Olivier Gruner’

We already talked to some length of our love of Kazahstani cinema.  From the long lost action of Blizhniy Boy with Kickboxer/ MMA fighter Cung Le and the veterans like David Caradine, Carry- Hiroyuki Tagawa and Garry Busey to Beyond the Game with everyone from Olivier Grunner and Mark Dacascos to Eric Roberts and Michael Madsen.

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Well, now we finally have a new trailer (and the release date) for the long gestating  Diamond Cartel (formerly  know as  The Whole World at Our Feet). Featuring (as always) all- star cast of Armand Assante , Michael Madsen, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Don “Dragon” Willson, Olivier Gruner, final performance of acting legend Peter O’Toole and my personal favorite old school Kung Fu ass-kicker Bolo Yeung!

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Enjoy the trailer and we’ll talk about the movie after it comes out March 31.

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Now, I’m a big fan of the Kazahstani cinema, not ’cause I think directors are overly talented but for the sheer fact that they approach film-making like the kid collecting the stickers- they try really hard to collect them all.

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And then you have things like Olivier Gruner (Nemesis, Alien Interceptor), Mark Dacascos (Crying Freeman, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Agents of SHIELD), Martin Kove (Karate Kid, Rambo 2, Assault on Devil’s Island), Cary Tagawa (Mortal Kombat, The Man in the High Castle), Eric Roberts (Runaway Train, Best of the Best, Raptor), Billy Zane (Titanic, Phantom), Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dinamite), Bai Ling (Age of Hobbits,The Crow, Crank 2), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Kristina Loken (Terminator 3), Armand Assante (The Odyssey, Prophecy) and Danny Trejo (Machete) all working on the same freakin’ movie!

And it’s about manhunt + reality TV mix with a fare share MMA action to boot- who can say no to that?

 

Now that you’ve enjoyed the trailer, prepare for more Kazahstani goodness ’cause we are expecting another offering from them this year and that’s The Whole World at Our Feet with unlikely mix of Armand Assante, Peter O’Tool and Bolo Yeung!  Hope they never stop doing what they do.

 

 

 

After nearly retiring , and still  fighting  serious illness B (to Z) movie kingpin Albert Pyun found the strength to finish off his magnum opus (semi- sequel to both of his early career cyber- punk outings) CYBORG NEMESIS.

Final piece of the puzzle is completed as he cast (still unnamed) young actress that will open and close the movie. Final scenes will be shot in Ryolite (Nevada) and will officially signal the wrap of the lengthy shoot of CYBORG NEMESIS. Big part of editing is already done with sound designer Michael McCarty still working hard as we speak. Score will be handled by Pyun’s long time collaborator Tony Riparetti (Mean Guns, Postmortem).

With a cast of old favorites and new talent: Sasha Mitchell, Dru- Anne Perry, Joei Fulco, Joseph Cannon, Daniel Faust, Jessica Delgado and Kim Coture this films actualy has a potential to be not a swan song but a return to form of sorts for Pyun who spend last couple of years working on ultra- small productions, making unofficial sequels to films (of others as well as himself). Visibly enthusiastic he called this his firs balls out Sci Fi movie- in outer space. So, even thou he is rehashing the old themes here- there seem to be a silver lining as this movie shows a more focused Pyun who surrounded himself with a bigger, more professional crew to help him realize his vision.

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P.S. He still promises a few surprises in the final movie (Gruner cameo perhaps?), so we’ll have to wait and see what future brings. Besides cyborgs and space stations and that kind of stuff.

With a combination of a poor man’s Albert Pyun aka Philip J Roth and SyFy Channel production (more precisely reduction) values along with ex- marine/ kickboxing champ Gruner you know you’re completely screwed from the get go.

Gruner as always demonstrates some impressive moves and the whole fight choreography we see in the beginning of the movie has almost Hong Kong style action vibe. Unfortunately that is all we get in that department (couple more fight scenes are scattered through the movie but not nearly well done as this one). Anyway Gruner and Co. successfully complete another ultra top secret mission but they don’t realy get any time to celebrate. Mysterious object crushes somewhere on the Mexican border causing all communication to break down. The aria ends up completely sealed off with a cover story of disease and contamination. So what’s American government going to do- as always what they want to do! The fact that alien vessel crushed in Mexico not USA doesn’t bother them at all.

Psychopath looking long haired dude is in charge and he does the only logical thing to do- calls Gruner and Co aka The Interceptors. After briefing (that miraculously contains almost zero information ) his team is paired with two scientist (redhead and a obnoxious Mexican). Gruner tries to get them out of equation but at the end reluctantly agrees.

Next thing we see is small Mexican town that seems to be stuck in 19th century by all accounts. Evil drug cartel is in control and we can see guy looking Mexican giving orders and bunch of his man acting like animals.Evil boss does have his main bitch by his side but not even that makes him manly. Also they seem to kill some old man right on the street for no apparent reason. They really don’t care for the whole “ruling from the shadows” shtick. Interceptors soon arrive but quickly get themselves in trouble. In a scene lifted straight from The Predator one of Gruner’s main people, William Zabka (aka the evil blond kid from Karate Kid) gets chopped into pieces. Gruners starts questioning the scientist little bit after this strange occurrence.On the other hand his black, deadlocked friend gets extremely upset over the fact that Goodwin and Perez are seriously payed and he is getting next to nothing in comparison. The fact that one of his team ended up in pieces mere moments ago doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

Finally Gruner and co roll straight into the town- and first things first get into the bar. As expected ugly and dirty criminals start hitting on the little redhead scientist and they pay the ultimate price as Gruner unlishes his Kung Fu skills. Interestingly the there’s a Chinese dude in there somewhere who’s sole purpose seem to be to do cool moves but get beat afterwords (common occurrence in American films for some reason).Gruner and the redhead menage to get alive out of there but some tugs fallow them and just when you thing they are doomed alien shows up and helps them (?). Then he turns from his invisible mode into the “dead friend mode”- taking the face of not too long dead Zabka. Gruner sees trough his disguise and tries fighting him but hand to hand combat doesn’t seem to be the right strategy against the aliens for some reason.

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The fastest gunslinger in the known universe.

He survives somehow but is extremely confused by what happened and finally starts demanding some explanations. Pressed by Gruner and his slightly crazy black friend scientist finally talk. This is not the first case of alien attack. The first one was eventually solved by nucking it all to kingdom come and it seems likely that their mission could end up the same way. Oh, yeah, they also brought the ultimate energy weapon that can be used in killing aliens but they never really thought about letting the Interceptors now- and these are supposed to be extremely smart people again? Gruner than decides to lure the alien (?) by walking into the town again, this time seemingly without any back-up. Suddenly the shack behind him explodes and soon enough the alien transfers to visible mode. He empties the whole clip into the creature but the alien seems unfazed. Then for no reason whatsoever it transforms into Karate Kid Villain again and start taunting Gruner. Gruner tries to fight him and again fails miserably (this is becoming a habit of his). While he desperately fights for his life the remainder of the team (the black dude) + scientist arrive carrying the ultra-high tech plasma thingie. Then the Mexican drug lord decides to join the party and tests the creature reaction to shotgun blast- it proved to be no big deal unfortunately. Team and some local Mexicans scramble and menage to regroup. They finally decide that killing the creature is more important than killing echother but is it too late now?

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“Trust me, I got this.”

The black dude arrives last to their little hideout but… he is no longer a black dude- he is the ALIEN happy to use a new desquise (after deposing an original of course). Gruner learned not to trust his eyes by this point so he starts shooting at a thing and then kicking and punching  him when he runs out of bullets. He fares a little better than before and but ends up in grappling range with a opponent of far superior strength and that spells trouble! But he suddenly escapes via uber- cool back-flip thus creating the opening for a redhead who finally fires that cursed space weapon and fries the damned thing! Finally the alien is dead! Or is it?

In the very last moments of the film creature pulls itself together from the pieces (ovbiasly it can do that) and possesses the crime boss (and it can do that too!) It menages to surprise the scientist and kills them both. Gruner menages to escape but than realizes it’s “NUKE THEM ALL AND LET GOD SORT THEM OUT” time. Long haired maniac finally lost his patience it seems.

So than, the only logical thing happens- Gruner casually out runs the blast of the nuclear explosion (that FINALLY, TRULY destroys the aliens ) and then protects himself by jumping into a well !!! Yes, a freaking well- I don’t know maybe it’s a magical one (if only all the poor people who died from nuclear explosions knew  this little trick for protection)??? Next thing we see are scenes of very minor destruction, Gruner of course unharmed getting out of the the well and… a Mexican lady that was with leader of the gang? He momentarily starts hitting the poor girl in the face as hard as he can and then finally realizes she is not the alien. Then he starts to apologize but the Mexican lady start kicking his ass all the way to Sunday and movie ends- raising far more questions than it answered, questions like- WTF JUST HAPPENED?!

Maybe we’ll see Gruner next as DC Comic’s The Flash?

Verdict: If Olivier Gruner had spent the same amount of time he spent learning martial arts on learning English language he wouldn’t have to act in a crap like this.

Trivia:  Interceptor Force had been the ScFy Channel’s highest-rated TV-movie ’till that point. A bit sad when you think about it.

    *Here you can marvel at Gruner as he demonstrates his  kickboxing skills on
a bad stop- motion Terminator rip- off.

One of those films that start kinda gritty Cyber Punk-ish with a possible promise of good innocent fun and then… goes absolutely nowhere! Director Pyun (somewhat rightfully claimed to be a Hawaiian reincarnation of Ed Wood) wanted to make a film with a dystopian , almost William Gibson SF atmosphere and every time he got close to nailing it he found a new way to royally screw things up (adding women with big muscles in the scenes has been known to do that.) It takes somewhere around a half an hour to set up our story and after that he just trows it all away the same moment our hero Rain (Olivier Gruner) gets to the island and fists start flying/guns start blazing.

Event that could be forgiven (often enough SF is just a backdrop for a classic action fest) if those same action scenes made some kind of impact but there are just cartoonish violence at it worst. Incoherent story gets completely lost in translation really fast while bizarre bunch of characters kill/fuck/or save one another almost randomly.
At some points you have to ask yourself did those people follow a REAL SCRIPT and soon after you start doubting that the script even existed. Perhaps they had a 10 page treatment… for the beginning of the movie and then they improvised from there. That would explain a lot of things. There is also a hilarious moment when a gun packing grandma starts unleashing hell, it is absurd as it gets, but at least it’s fun and you can’t say that for the rest of this picture.

THIS. IS. BAD.

Olivier Gruner ( our cyborg ex-government agent) is karateka/ ex- kickboxing champion and he demonstrates his skill here and there (in-spite of the laughable choreographed fight scenes ) but he’s acting is so woden that after a while you start appreciating all the subtleties of Schwarzenegger’s performances and that is never a good sign. On the + side (if there is one here) he gets to fight a crazed robot, terminator style stop- motion monstrosity that explodes for no apparent reason and takes his arm with him!*
One of his sidekicks (the only one that actually survives) is irritating teenage girl who becomes extremely important character out of nowhere in the last half an hour of the film– against all common sense. His dog at the beginning of the film had more character and a hell lot of more story potential than she ever had!
Legendary “Cary” Hiroyuki Tagawa (Sheng Tsung himself) makes an appearance as the crazy Yakuza boss in a Hawaiian shirt but not even his devilish charm can make this crap watchable.

Verdict: If you have to watch an Albert Pyun film watch his eulogy  of Cannon Films in the form of Van Damme’s Cyborg, Cyber- Punk angle is better realized and despite the fact that JCVD wasn’t  much of an actor back then/ or much of an English speaker back then he always had a ton of charisma, the thing that Gruner sorely lacks.

Trivia: Pyun is doing a (joint) prequel of both Nemesis and Cyborg. Unfortunately he discovered digital technology/ CGI (nobody told him that you need some money to make it work) so his movies are now worse than ever. Here’s a trailer for Cyborgs: Rise of the Slingers so you can remember to avoid it if you have the bad luck of seeing it somewhere.

You can actually find better special effects (and acting!!!) in Porn these days .