PARK CITY - One of the craziest moments in the Keanu Reeves film "Man Of Tai Chi" comes near the conclusion when Tiger Hu Chen finally has to face his competition in the finals of the weird underground martial arts tournament he's been working his way through, and it turns out to be Iko Uwais from "The Raid" and "The Raid 2." When they enter the ring, I readied myself for the fight of all fights, and there's something perverse about the way Reeves has Tiger Hu Chen simply refuse the fight. That would be like having your hero battle his way into a room where Bruce Lee was, then having Bruce Lee shake his hand and walk away.
Iko Uwais does not look like an action icon at first glance. He's slight, with a boyish face, and he doesn't seem particularly imposing in terms of how he's built. The moment you see him explode into action, though, it's apparent that he's a natural, both graceful and powerful. He's also becoming a better actor from film to film. In "Merantau," he seems comfortable in the fight scenes but not nearly as comfortable with dialogue. By now, though, he's gotten very good, and there are several scenes in "The Raid 2" that are emotionally powerful and very simple, with no fighting at all involved.
Julie Estelle is going to make quite an impression on action fans in her role as Hammer Girl, one part of a deadly pair of assassins who work for a rising crime lord named Bejo in the movie. There's very little time spent setting up the backstory for Hammer Girl and her brother Baseball Bat Man, but the work she does suggests volumes about how she became a terrifying lethal weapon.
In person, she's delicate, but she seems ready to make the jump to English-language films immediately, and considering how convincing she is in "The Raid 2" and how well she helps establish a complicated character without a ton of dialogue, I hope this is the beginning of big things for her.
Together, Uwais and Estelle make a charming pair of representatives for the bone-pulverizing mayhem of "The Raid 2," and I think this is a great conversation.
"The Raid 2" arrives in theaters March 28, 2014.
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
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