“Kung Fu TV Series Flashback: Behind the Scenes With David Carradine (Kwai Chang Caine)” is the title of a free guide you can download now! Click here.Fast & Furious 6 (2013) upped the martial arts ante as it pitted Han (Sung Kang) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) against Jah (Indonesian martial artist Joe Taslim), a killer for the ruthless Shaw. Unfortunately, the fight didn't look particularly good, mostly because Kang and Gibson's combat skills lacked timing and sharpness. (Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures) The standout bout in Fast & Furious 6 was Letty’s (Michelle Rodriquez) fight-or-die encounter with the military-trained Riley, played with laser-focused intensity by mixed-martial arts-fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano. With the addition of a ferocious free-for-all inside a cargo plane, the film intensified fan expectations for what would come next. In its first 10 days, Furious 7 earned $252.5 million (domestic), which surpassed Furious 6's 15-week American run of $238.6 million. Furious 7 already has raked in $1.1 billion at the international box office. It's fair to say the sequel hasn’t disappointed fans.
Get a free guide titled “Michael Jai White Flashback: The Kyokushin Karate Expert’s Early Days in Hollywood” — just by going here!For Furious 7, director James Wan looked to veteran fight choreographer Jeff Imada and stunt coordinator Joel Kramer to design and execute multiple action scenes, which included a whopping six fight sequences with the Furious 6 ensemble. It also featured three seasoned fighters, each a legitimate martial artist: Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Jason Statham. Wan, an avowed action-film buff, had specific parameters for how he wanted to illustrate the action. His goal was to create inspiring ways to capture the fast-moving action at every angle and keep the stunts and fights within the realm of the Fast milieu. (Photo by Alex J. Berliner/Courtesy of Universal Pictures) "I wanted to shoot fight action where we let the actors do their thing without cutting it up too much and just let my camera hold on them,” Wan said. “I'm a big fan of pyrotechnics in my camerawork, so I also wanted to bring some of that aesthetic that I’ve applied in suspense thrillers into big action sequences and fuse the styles.” How good are the fights in Furious 7? Did the filmmakers take advantage of the martial arts talent they had in Jaa, Rousey and Statham? Tune in next week. Update! Part 2 of this review has been posted. Click here to read it. Go here to order Dr. Craig D. Reid’s book The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s: 500+ Films Loaded With Action, Weapons and Warriors.