The 2019 Fantasia Film Festival is poised and ready to unleash another wave of niche genre films in Montreal, Quebec and we have some of the most action-packed titles for you to sink your teeth into as Liam Hemsworth’s Killerman and director Jimmy Henderson’s The Prey are just a few of the awesome titles to sample at the three week long film event where many movies make their North american debut. Check out the goods below along with site details an how to get tickets if you will be in the area!
In THE PREY (Canadian Premiere), prisoners become human prey for rich hunters looking for thrills in the Cambodian jungle. Thrown in with a mix of crooks and killers out to survive in any way possible, Chinese cop Xin (newcomer Gu Shangwei) must outrun his hunters before he becomes a human trophy. Tough, trained, he’s ready to fight, and he just needs to find his way out of this before they find him. Inspired by Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game, Jimmy Henderson and the team behind the 2017 Fantasia hit JAILBREAK continue their winning streak of rock-solid, high-quality action on a modest budget.
In NO MERCY (North American Premiere), former martial arts champion Inae to take things into her own hands when her little sister goes missing. By way of rough, tough interrogation, she discovers that the group of schoolgirls who bullied her sister have forced her into an awful situation involving petty criminals, pawnbrokers, pimps, and more. South Korean cinema has certainly cornered the market in visceral revenge thrillers loaded with action – and filmmaker’s Lim Kyoung-tack’s (KILLER TOONS) latest is firmly set in this tradition, led by a world-class action-movie heroine in the vein of 2017’s THE VILLAINESS.
THE FABLE (Quebec Premiere) is equal parts slam-bang action thriller, lurid Yakuza melodrama, and off-kilter dark comedy filled with JOHN WICK-esque gun fu. And like its antihero, the whole thing is a bit confounding, but totally cool with it. Based on Katsuhisa Minami’s award-winning manga series, Kan Eguchi’s live-action adaptation gives centre stage to Junichi Okada (LIBRARY WARS, IT COMES), whose knack for deadpan comedy, packed with wit and pathos, comes in handy when otherwise preoccupied charting a death-dealing sociopath’s uncertain stumble toward normalcy.
LIAM HEMSWORTH GOES FULL THROTTLE IN MALIK BADER’S RIVETING KILLERMAN
After stunning audiences with his acclaimed 2015 sleeper hit CASH ONLY (a World Premiere breakout at Fantasia), Malik Bader returns to Montreal with the World Premiere of KILLERMAN. A full-throttle knockout crime thriller about dirty cops and dirtier mobsters starring Liam Hemsworth (THE HUNGER GAMES series), Emory Cohen (LORDS OF CHAOS), Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black), Nickola Shreli (CASH ONLY), and the great Zlatco Buric (Refn’s PUSHER trilogy), produced by Myles Nestel (WHEELMAN), KILLERMAN is an absorbing, gripping, and exciting look at the underworld, standing as further proof that Bader is one of modern crime cinema’s most ferocious rising talents.
Synopsis: Orphaned by war, a young boy and his friend dream of changing their fate and becoming the world’s greatest generals. And after his friend sacrifices himself to protect the future emperor, the young boy’s path to greatness is set in motion. Helping the King reclaim the throne puts the boy’s blade to the ultimate test as they go against deadly assassins, large armies, and the dangerous mountain clan. In a country torn apart by war, only they can fight to unite the warring states! Kingdom is a live-action motion picture based on the bestselling adventure-historical manga series of the same name created by Yasuhisa Hara and presents a fictionalized account of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).
The film stars Kento Yamazaki who also starred in JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure and also Ryo Yoshizawa, Masami Nagasawa, Kanna Hashimoto, Kanata Hongō, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, and Takao Osawa with Shinsuke Sato helming.
DIRECTOR: Shaun Piccinino
WRITERS: Carl Morris, Shaun Piccinino
CAST: Bryan Craig, Tommy Flanagan, Sean Patrick Flannery, George Kosturos, Allison Paige
It’s 1981 and the California sun is shining bright, but there are dark clouds over college kid Ali Jahani, a wrestling champ. He’s haunted by memories of revolutionary Iran, from which he escaped as a child. Those disturbing dreams are realized when bad news, not his beloved parents, greets him at the airport. He’s desperate to get his mother safely out of Iran, but this can’t be done through conventional channels. And it can’t be done cheap. Where will he get that kind of money? A buddy brings him to a low-key warehouse at night. Stepping through the doors, Ali comes face to face with the answer — and it’s a troubling one. Head to head fights, any style goes, for cash. Before Ali can help his mother, someone‘s gonna get hurt.
Producer Ali Afshar told his own inspiring story with the 2017 sports drama AMERICAN WRESTLER: THE WIZARD, and extends the tale with this hard-hitting sequel — of sorts. His alter ego Ali Jahani, played again by the charismatic and combat-capable George Kosturos, follows a darker path this time, into the world of underground fighting. While no longer autobiographical, AMERICAN FIGHTER is just as credible, its string of brutal and convincing bouts threading through a grounded, plausible drama with real stakes and real consequences. These are personified by Sean Patrick Flanery and Tommy Flanagan, familiar screen tough guys delivering truly nuanced turns as fight-scene insiders. A pinch of political thriller, a helping of California coming-of-age, and whole lotta bare-fisted battling in the bad part of town add up to a solid win for AMERICAN FIGHTER. – Rupert Bottenberg
Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-ryong) leads a small team of detectives from the narcotics unit that often make blunders, which is stopping him from getting the promotion he wants. One day, fortune finally smiles on them, as they discover that, directly in front of the hideout of a major drug trafficker, a fried-chicken restaurant is about to go out of business. The cops decide to buy the joint in order to do surveillance. Alas, customers eventually start to flock there, attracted by the new recipe of sticky chicken with rib marinade, so much so that the restaurant becomes a sensation. Will this unexpected success make our police squad forget the actual goal of their operation?
The surprise box-office hit of the year in South Korea, EXTREME JOB quickly became the film to have sold the second most tickets in the history of the country’s cinema. It’s easy to understand the popular enthusiasm while watching this wildly entertaining comedy, which is vigorously directed by Lee Byeong-heon (WHAT A MAN WANTS, which screened at Fantasia last year). Hilarious dialogue abounds, paired with a good dose of irresistible slapstick. Moreover, beyond the laughs (and all the food on the screen, which will make you desperately crave fried chicken when you leave the theatre!), the film features some very effective action scenes, including a spectacular third-act brawl. Since a Hollywood remake starring Kevin Hart is currently in development, you’ll be able to say that you saw the original version of EXTREME JOB at Fantasia before everyone else! – Kevin Laforest
MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY
Martial artist Cheung Tin-chi (Max Zhang, AKA Zhang Jin) once took on the legendary Ip Man, but lost to the Wing Chun master’s “one-inch punch.” He’s now living the simple life, running a grocery store and caring for his little son Fung. Then he steps in to protect opium addict Nana (Chrissie Chau) and her friend Julia (Liu Yan) from a gang of thugs, and gets on the bad side of their leader, drug dealer Tso Sai Kit (Kevin Cheng). Their escalating rivalry brings Tin-chi into the orbit of Julia’s brother Fu (Naason), who gives Tin-chi a job in his Gold Bar; Kit’s triad boss sister Tso Ngan Kwan (Michelle Yeoh), whose desire to go into legitimate business doesn’t sit well with Kit; and Owen Davidson (Dave Bautista), a restaurateur whose steak house covers for his heroin trade. More conflicts are inevitable, which can only be solved with liberal applications of fists, feet and blades.
Return with us now to Fantasia’s glory days of yesteryear, when movies like MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY were coming out of Hong Kong within regularity and this fest showcased the best of ’em. With the incomparable Yuen Woo-ping, director of classics like the original DRUNKEN MASTER, TAI CHI MASTERand IRON MONKEY, and action/martial arts choreographer on everything from the first two ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINAmovies and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON to the MATRIX and KILL BILL films, at the helm, it’s a glorious throwback to those wuxia/wirework favourites. From its lush, eye-filling period settings and cinematography to its imaginative, rousing fight set pieces, MASTER Z is proof that they do make ’em like they used to. Rising star Zhang makes a strong and charismatic impression, and seeing Yeoh, who’s quite affecting in MASTER Z’s most complex role, effortlessly demonstrate that she can still kick ass in her fifties is worth the price of admission. – Michael Gingold
These films, of course are just a sampling of all the movies that will be playing at the festival which runs from July 11th – August 1st 2019 in
Montreal, Quebec. For a complete list of films and how to get your tickets, hit up the Fantasia International Film Festival Official Site now and get all the info!