Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Do you like action movies? Do you like martial arts movies? If so, you'll have a lot to choose from at the 10th San Diego Asian Film Festival. In addition to the closing night film, IP MAN (Sunday, October 29th at 7 pm), which stars the incomparable Donnie Yen (click here for the sick alley fight from SPL), and the Centerpiece Film, John Woo's RED CLIFF (Sunday, October 18th at 7 pm), SDAFF '09 has a variety of other great action film programs to choose from, including the following:

Did you think that Uma Thurman kicked ass on the Kill Bill movies? I didn't. Why? Because I knew that the great Zoe Bell did all of Uma's stunts on that movie. All of them. Since then, Zoe Bell has gone on to become a star in her own right in the lead roles on Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof and Ed Brubaker's Angel of Death. Meet Ms. Bell, director/actor/fight choreographer Ron Yuan (CSI: NY, Prison Break), and Hollywood stunt men Ilram Choi (click here for his highlight reel) and Lin Oeding (click here for his reel) on Sunday, October 18th at 2:30 pm at the FIGHT SCENES AND FALL GUYS panel. Not only will you learn how these pros make the stars look so good in hit films like Transformers and Star Trek, you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at some of Ron Yuan's masterful fight choreography from the upcoming film Black Dynamite.

Also, don't forget to watch films directed by Ron Yuan and Lin Oeding in the gritty shorts program THE CONCRETE JUNGLE on Saturday, October 17th at 5:00 pm and Friday, October 23rd at 9:30 pm.

Don't miss the special screening of this insane animated martial arts film featuring the cutting-edge animation of Gonzo and the voice acting of Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu and Mark Hamill (yes, that Mark Hamill), and a hip hop score by The RZA. You can see this film in the first screening of the new SDAFF Extreme program on Friday, October 16th at 7:40 pm. Producers Leo Chu and Eric Garcia are scheduled to attend.

Based on a famous Japanese manga story, this is one of the must-see films of the festival. Starring Asian megastar Takeshi Kaneshiro, this film features incredible action set pieces, amazing stunts and exquisite costume design. This awesome film will screen JUST ONCE during the festival on Tuesday, October 20th at 7:00 pm. Don't miss it!

Check out this Vietnamese film about a mentally challenged martial artist on Sunday, October 18th at 4:45 pm and meet the star of the film, Dustin Nguyen, who was so awesome in The Rebel (SDAFF '07).

I'd say that this hit Korean film is one of the "sleepers" of SDAFF '09. Basically, it's a Korean detective story set at the start of the 20th Century, featuring some of the most incredible action scenes of any movie this year. The spectacular chase scene through the streets of Seoul and an ultra-tense circus knife-throwing scene are two moments that are guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seats. Guaranteed. Catch PRIVATE EYE on Thursday, October 22nd at 7:00 pm and Sunday, October 25th at 9:00 pm.

I'm really looking forward to this Indonesian film that is unique in that it features the martial art of Silat. Perhaps this movie will do for Indonesian martial arts cinema what Ong Bak did for the Thai film industry. You can catch it on Sunday, October 25th 7:00 pm and Tuesday, October 27th at 10:00 pm.

If you liked Zatoichi, you'll need to see this film about a blind young woman with special skills with a sword. Screenings are scheduled for Monday, October 26th at 10:15 pm, Tuesday, October 27th at 7:00 pm and again on Thursday, October 29th at 4:15 pm.

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