The box-office numbers for Furious 7 indicate it's not disappointing the public, but how does the latest film in the franchise stack up when it comes to action and martial arts?

Martial arts-rich TV shows are a lot like a Fourth of July fireworks display done in reverse. The crescendo of explosive action usually comes at the beginning. It’s followed by the constant rhythm of ground and air displays, then ends in a way that often exemplifies Macbeth’s soliloquy: "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more." Sadly, this plight also afflicts film franchises. The Taken and Bourne movies are good examples. In each installment, audiences were treated to fewer and fewer fights. (Photo by Scott Garfield/Courtesy of Universal Pictures) And then there’s Furious 7, the latest entry in a series that started in 2001 with a flute of champagne called The Fast and the Furious. With the release of Fast Five in 2011, the franchise increased in potency even more. Thanks in part to nonstop martial arts action, it’s now a veritable 100-proof bottle of Scotch with a Corona chaser. (Photo by Scott Garfield/Courtesy of Universal Pictures) The fight-fermentation process took off with the addition of Dwayne Johnson as CIA agent Luke Hobbs in Fast Five. His job was to track down and capture Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel). Since that flick, which boasted more over-the-top car chases and featured the wicked WWE/MMA/LA-street-brawl Dom-vs.-Hobbs matchup, hand-to-hand combat and wacky automotive duels have become a staple.


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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.

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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.

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

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Daily Guardian

Brandon "The Truth" Vera has run roughshod over the ONE Championship heavyweight division since his arrival. With knockouts in each of his performances in the division, Vera has taken the mantle and led the charge as the ONE Heavyweight World Champion.

On Saturday, May 15, at ONE: Dangal, a new challenger arises in "Singh" Arjan Bhullar.

Bhullar made a statement in his ONE debut against Mauro Cerilli, and now he'll get an opportunity at the gold in the main event of ONE's latest entry of their exciting 2021 campaign.

The American Kickboxing Academy athlete is a talented grappler. He is a 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist and has enjoyed success since transitioning into mixed martial arts. However, a World Championship has eluded him thus far, and it keeps pushing him each day in the gym.

But Vera will not go quietly.

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Thursday night's Professional Fighters League show from Atlantic City was a mixed bag of results as Olympic champion and defending PFL titleholder Kayla Harrison made quick work of her opponent while former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum suffered a controversial loss in his PFL debut. The two-time judo gold medalist did what she does in her women's lightweight bout getting a quick takedown against Mariana Morais, moving into mount and unleashing punches until the referee stopped the fight a minute and a half in.

Werdum looked on a similar trajectory against heavyweight foe Renan Ferreira gaining the early takedown and slowly advancing position. But as he attempted to pass from half-guard into mount, Ferreira reversed him, though Werdum was able to slip into a triangle choke from the bottom appearing to make Ferreira tap. Referee Keith Peterson failed to see it, however.

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