Kenji Tanigaki is a name we should all know. He’s been doing stunts and choreography on Donnie Yen’s films since Ballistic Kiss and can be seen in supporting action parts in Wu Xia, Sha Po Lang, and Flash Point. He’s put together a video tribute of Martial Club where his team recreates the famous alley fight between Gordon Liu and Wang Lung Wei. They nailed it. Check out Kenji’s other videos too, since he posts a lot of behind the scenes footage of Donnie’s films.

Kenji Tanigaki

John Salvitti, the Bostonian who’s been by Donnie Yen’s side since the late 80s, has just released a reel from his new Yen effort Special ID. The trailers gave us a hint as to what kind of action to expect, but this new reel is something else entirely. Salvitti (bald head or in hat) is mixing MMA and filmmaking in ways we’ve never seen – counters are dirtier, the grappling flows, and of course all the kicks connect. Salvitti is pushing hard this time to deliver the most badass action since, well… since Flashpoint, so we can officially credit the man with being on top of the game. Expect tons of homages and tributes to this style once Special ID is released.

On day two of our Comic-Con 2012 visit, Darren Shahlavi stopped by the booth and remembered me from contact him on Facebook. I gave him a copy of Death Grip, and he spent an hour giving me the low-down on what it’s like being a “gwailo” (foreigner) in Hong Kong films. From his big debut as “Smith” in Tai Chi Chuen to his recent role as “Twister” in Ip Man 2, Darren’s been a force to be reckoned with on screen.

I mostly asked him about Ip Man 2 since it was his latest big gig. Darren had originally seen Donnie Yen in 1991 at a seminar in the UK. You can see Darren as a teenager in the clip, and from that moment he knew he would eventually work with Donnie one day. After almost two decades it happened in, and he said they flew him around promoting the film using the story of a young boy wanting to work with Donnie finally realizing his dream, with Donnie proudly telling everyone Darren was his student.

When it came to working with Donnie, Darren used the familiar term “incredible” in describing him and detailed moments like this:

“They’d have me run the choreography with a double, and Donnie would just sit there watching me. Then when it came time to shoot, he’d just get up and replace the double without any rehearsing.”

Darren would go home daily with bruises from the fight, since so much of Donnie’s choreography involved strikes to the limbs and chest and all that. “Plus I had been working out to get ripped for the fight anyway.” The fight with Donnie took ten days, which should give anyone who shoots action scenes Hong Kong-style some relief. So yes, Hong Kong takes a long time too. But they’re by no means slow. Sammo would dictate the shot style, lens, choreography, almost without any thought.

“I’ve never seen someone more in command of a film set than Sammo.”

 

Consistent with stories from other stunt folks like Cynthia Rothrock, Shahlavi detailed the “no-script” method of shooting in Hong Kong. Much of the English dialog was unservicable. Darren said,

“‘Guys, I can’t say this!’ So I started rewriting it there on the set, and they were ready to roll camera and here I am still writing the script on a piece of paper.”

Meeting Darren was no less than awesome. Here’s to a guy who made it into big Hong Kong films from just being a kid with a dream.

Lawson posted his top 10 fights of 2010 and picked a few that aren’t available online, including the finale from Dogs of Chinatown a(4:24) and my fight against Ed Kahana in Detective Story (8:19). We’re honored to be featured! Hats off to all the other indie guys in there:

The Young Masters: http://www.youtube.com/user/youngmasters/featured
Jabronie Pictures: http://www.youtube.com/user/jabroniepictures
Rising Tiger Inc: http://www.youtube.com/user/BoloMcTigerThunder/featured
The Mag Fighters: http://www.youtube.com/user/MagnificentFighter/featured

Dip at the SP Forum posted this clip of Donnie Yen touring in the UK in 1990 promoting Tiger Cage and In the Line of Duty 4. Lots of him talking about how to get hired in the booming HK action film market of the 90s as well as showcasing his skills for the screen. Awesome video. A young Darren Shahlavi can be seen in there too, who was the villain in Ip Man 2. Bey Logan holds the pads for most of it.

In response to a forum post about UFC 101, I just watched Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. If you don’t want to know the result of the fight, stop reading here and don’t watch the video clip.

In what you could call an “utter massacre”, Silva used some martial arts straight out of Flash Point and made the case that real martial arts can be flashy and real all at the same time. Don’t believe the elitists when they tell you, “In a real fight, there’s no flash.”