Not long ago I reviewed the first Fist2Fist film created starring Jino Kang and Bill Duff.
Well now we’re on to the sequel : Weapon of Choice, which is kind of a sequel… but not really. The film has the same title but entirely new cast of characters.
So the movie starts off introducing Jack Lee, played by Jino Kang, as he takes on a job and assassinates an entire group of mobsters as his final assignment. We see him kick ass, being the unstoppable lead character we expect and we know he’s a bad ass not to be messed with.
A few years go by and we meet him and his teenage niece Jaime, played by Kelly Lou Dennis, having some nice little family banter in their home. Shortly after they go off and do their own thing when some thugs break in to kidnap Jaime.
A fight breaks out, we see Jaime’s martial arts skills come out while Jack kills off some of the men, but they still manage to get away with Jaime.
So Jack heads out to get Jaime back, gets caught up with the police and things get complicated!
I won’t spoil it for you 😉
Girl gets kidnapped, uncle comes to the rescue…
We’ve all seen this basic kind of formula before and it’s an awesome setup for some action. Well it works just as well in Fist2Fist 2, and as with the first film we get the nice natural unfolding of events that reveal history and depth to the story.
There are a few cool differences though, the main one I noticed is just how dangerous Jaime is with her martial arts skills. This adds a cool variation to the formula and we see a different kind of kidnapper/kidnapper relationship as she agrees to comply but that she’ll kill herself and everyone around her if they try to rape her.
It shows that she doesn’t have to be some damsel in distress but can be every bit a danger to her captors if kept unchecked.
This really sets off something else which I actually found funny in this film – Artem Mishin’s character Don Orloff. This poor guy looked like he didn’t want to be there the whole time and basically gets shafted throughout the film. I felt sorry for him but it kind of gave me a laugh also.
But Jack isn’t just straight out into the field kicking ass like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, he’s caught up in his own mess. He’s being held by police and having only small pieces of information and not being able to act on them.
So you can see they did an awesome job really creating tough situation for the characters to get out of, which builds some nice tension toward the finale.
Things are much more natural this time around
If you read my review on the first film you may remember that the acting was a little stiff in areas and things didn’t seem to flow smoothly – well this film has stepped up and shows how much production has improved.
The actors of this film are far more natural and believable in their roles. The back and forth between our two main villains Banducci (Douglas Olsson) and Orloff keeps things interesting, give the villains a more believable dynamic. Jaime’s defiance keeps that side of things even more interesting as she could break out those Muay Thai moves at anytime.
Of course Jino’s situation with the police and eventual team up with Jordan (played by Katherine Celio) also creates a developing relationship with our lead character Jack. Kang’s acting suits his character quite well but having another actor to bounce dialogue and ideas off of makes things nice and natural.
The general flow of the film is better and just a bit more natural. The first film had a very local ‘small area’ feel to it whereas this film makes a good effort showing some city shots between scenes and giving the universe of this film a much larger feel, creating a feeling of distance between characters and groups.
Overall this film feels much bigger, smoother and more natural. It stands on it’s own as good quality action film – especially since we have a lot of relatively unknown actors on the front line.
How about the action?
I know, I keep mentioning the first film – but it’s important to compare a few things.
This film has the same energy and level of expertise as the first, but without the really standard sound effects and slightly slow edits. Finally the martial arts of Kang his supporting cast is shown at the level it should be. The sound is really supports every strike and movement of the fight scenes without being too distracting.
The same level of realistic fighting, free of fancy flips (and no dreaded wire work – a strength of both films) keeps this film grounded but exciting as every single opponent of Jino Kang’s character has a good level of martial arts training.
There are some heavy MMA themes in the fights, especially on the side of the villains. I love the way they used the MMA ‘style’ primarily for the thugs as it would be the most common among guys in the street these days – if they were to study martial arts.
Of course as things escalate we get to the more exotic styles and we eventually see some nice sword play, showing off Kang’s abilities and the fact that each new opponent is just that little bit more sophisticated and trained than the last. It paints a the picture of perfect ‘uphill’ battle.
To backtrack though, one thing I must mention is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in this film.
I love BJJ as I have been stuying it for over 10 years myself, and it’s rare to see in an action film… but it’s becoming more common. But this film has some of the best action movie Jiu Jitus I’ve ever seen. Kang having earned a Black Belt in Gracie BJJ has the goods, but the amount of opponents he fought with obvious training in the art is very impressive.
The heavy influence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the fight scenes makes this movie stand apart from a lot of martial arts films out there and is one of the first truly exciting uses of BJJ on film outside of Donnie Yen’s movies. So if you love BJJ you need to see this film – it’s got some good stuff!
A decent story, told very nicely with interesting characters but the main thing? Plenty of action.
This is a film that appeals to fans of martial arts, but more even more directly talks to those who train in martial arts. Jino Kang portrays some of the most authentic movement in martial arts films today. As a person who has studied various arts myself, I really enjoyed this movie and loved seeing the little things that the ‘fancy’ films miss, so I cannot wait to see where Jino Kang goes next!