Enjoy some action kicks with 'Project Wolf Hunting', 'The Lair' and 'Preman: Silent Fury'

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

NOVEMBER 19 ― Outside of a new Tom Cruise movie or a new film from one of the directors of the first John Wick movie, the major Hollywood studios just don't seem very interested in making action movies any more these days.

Yes, there may be some well-choreographed fight scenes smuggled into some superhero flicks (like the ones directed by the Russo brothers), but by and large, action movies have more or less moved into the realm of B-movies nowadays, or relatively big budget ones from smaller film industries in Asia, which when compared to Hollywood budgets would still technically make them B-movies.

You can always trust the always dependable Scott Adkins to star in one of these movies, like his fairly recent Accident Man 2: Hitman’s Holiday, which is one of those rare sequels (especially a low budget one!) that improves on the original movie.

It's funny enough with the comedy bits (quite a bit like those Guy Ritchie “lad” films) but pretty outstanding when it comes to the action choreography.

Everyone already knows Scott Adkins as a B-movie action star nowadays, so it’d be more fun to dive in and look for the more obscure jewels that are available out there.

So, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, hunt these titles down and give them a spin.

A screenshot of a scene from ‘Project Wolf Hunting’. ― Picture via YouTube
A screenshot of a scene from ‘Project Wolf Hunting’. ― Picture via YouTube

A screenshot of a scene from ‘Project Wolf Hunting’. ― Picture via YouTube

Project Wolf Hunting

By now, it’s common knowledge that the crown for goriest film of the year will probably go to Terrifier 2, but if you’re an action movie fan, this brutally bloody little gem from South Korea will probably be a close second.

Imagine the kind of violent, limb-destroying kills that made the 2008 reboot of Rambo such a memorable viewing experience, and amp that up to 11, and you’ll probably get close to the insane violence on offer.

With a plot that’s basically Con Air on a ship, which then adds in a Predator into the mix, it’s about a bunch of South Korean criminals extradited from the Philippines on a ship, because a previous attempt to do so on a flight resulted in bloody consequences.

So, there’s plenty of characters to get familiar with on both sides of the fence, but the movie’s real hook is in the many ways it thinks up of killing and destroying the body parts of everyone involved.

The fights are of course not as meticulously choreographed as in The Raid movies, but the kills are indeed unforgettable, and that’s more than enough to make anyone sit up and take notice. A grand guignol massacre.

The Lair

Back in the 2000s, British director Neil Marshall was a pretty hot name in genre film circles, thanks to early hits like Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday but since he’s spent most of the 2010s directing TV shows, I think people have started to forget what a sensation he was and could still be today.

His reboot of Hellboy in 2019 was a pretty nice surprise, but it looks like he’s still looking for that “comeback” hit.

Despite playing like a mash-up between Dog Soldiers and The Descent, but set in Afghanistan, there’s not much in The Lair that will attract new fans.

Overall, it’s an acceptable creature feature action flick. It's a story of a bunch of soldiers being attacked by creatures that resulted from experiments on humans conducted by the Russians deep in a cave in Afghanistan.

This is a solid enough setup to stage a series of set-pieces that can fit both a horror movie and a military action movie.

But there’s a been-there-done-that feel to the whole proceedings that makes this more like one of those time killers when there’s nothing else on TV than a must-see genre film gem.

Preman: Silent Fury

A low budget Indonesian action flick that took a while to reach the international market (released in 2021 in Indonesia and only getting a US release in late 2022), if you walk in expecting another piece of fast and furious Indonesian action like The Raid or The Night Comes For Us, I think you’ll be in for a bit of a disappointment as there aren’t as many fights in this one.

But if you adjust your expectations slightly, viewing this as more of an action drama instead of an all-out fight flick, you’ll find plenty to admire.

Playing almost like an homage to Westerns, the movie’s focused on Sandi, a deaf gangster (“preman” is Indonesian for thug/gangster) who’s part of a gang that started out as a social justice group before a new leader turns them into paid gangsters for hire.

It becomes a revenge flick when Sandi’s mentor is murdered by the gang’s new leader, but director Randolph Zaini’s bold creative choices (like a recurring dream involving men in bunny suits which poetically becomes “real” during the film’s action climax) makes the film quite a memorable visual experience.

The film’s many contrasting stylistic elements don’t really gel well together, but it’s undoubtedly a “young man’s film”, the kind in which the director is so excited to be making a film that he just throws every single artistic fancy of his into the mix recklessly, and that is quite something to behold when it’s this bold.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.