MMA Fighter Cung Le Set for New MMA Project 'Dragon Eyes'
by Alex Billington
September 24, 2010
Is mixed martial arts on the rise in cinema, too? I doubt it, but you never know. Deadline reports that MMA star Cung Le, who actually appeared in Christian Alvart's Pandorum as well as Dito Montiel's Fighting, is set to star in another MMA-themed project. Joel Silver's Dark Castle is developing the action crime drama Dragon Eyes that will star Le as a mysterious man who comes from an impoverished part of New Orleans to unite two warring gangs against the corrupt lawmen who've been using them. Doesn't sound too exciting. The movie is a modernization of Kurosawa's classic Yojimbo. Shooting begins next month in Baton Rouge.
We tried to find more information about who is directing or who wrote the script, but had no luck, as there is nothing listed and Deadline doesn't say anything either. Mixed martial arts (MMA) and leagues like the UFC are extremely popular nowadays, but I'm not sure that translates to the big screen. Fighting, which starred Channing Tatum, is the only mainstream movie I can think of recently that should've appealed to that audience, but it only made $23 million at the box office. I'm not particularly a fan of Cung Le, but I'll give this a chance, as long as it's not too low budget. Anyone think MMA will break out on screen?
Fights with both guns and fists are extremely stylized in movies, completely avoiding reality. MMA is exactly the opposite of that. It could be slightly altered with a good choreographer to make it fun. I'd love to see movies use MMA instead of the classic hollywood obsession with karate/kung fu defeating endless hordes of enemies. MMA proves these are not the best combat sports. After all when was the last time someone used kung fu in the octagon? Someone a la Michael Mann could interpret it in film and make it realistic, and exciting similar to his use of gunplay in Heat, Collateral and Miami Vice. But something tells me he's not directing a remake of Yojimbo.
Harm on Sep 24, 2010
To say Cung Le is a a 'star' of MMA is somewhat of an overstatement. I mean, he's good, but he made his big name in Sanshou as opposed to MMA, where his competition hasn't really been the best of the best. He's very good, but he's not exactly a 'star'...he doesn't fight very often, and he isn't in the UFC(although he probably could be) and at 37 or 38, he's on the downslide of his career a bit.
Chris_G on Sep 24, 2010
What about REDBELT? A movie that didn't rely on MMA action alone. @1 love the Mann reference, totally agree. And how about Mamet and Mann?
Zack Pesata on Sep 24, 2010
@3 I really enjoyed RedBelt....but hollywood isnt interested in character and story im afraid : ( I thought FIGHTING was terrible....should have been straight to dvd! On the other hand i thought Never Back Down did a pretty good job of shooting MMA (although the flashy MTV editing was a bit sickening). Id rather see good actors trained for the part then see MMA fighters that cant act! For me the weight of the situation (dramatically) far outways the actual fight scene in most cases. So when you see a straight to dvd action movie (such as BLOOD and BONE for example)...all you get is the fighting but you soon get bored of seeing the hero dispatch an opponent with little or no effort. If i wanna see a good old fashioned dust up...ill go back to the Hong Kong action movies with the likes of Donnie Yen and Wu Jing everytime! Ps. Cung Le was just in TEKKEN...which was utter garbage...so maybe he should stick to the day job! Lets find someone with true screen presence and maybe a little bit of acting ability!!
vegasdanny on Sep 25, 2010
I just hope Tony Jaa's star continues to grow.
tivdatsun on Sep 25, 2010
MMA techniques are not very appealing visually. the sport is popular because it has tremendous athletes who compete at a high level beating the sh*t out of each other. it isn't any different than the "Rock" coming out of pro wrestling or other former pro athletes who have made it in entertainment. Hollywood for the most part lacks the understanding of how to shoot and choreograph martial arts scenes. to much reliance on close ups and quick edits. they should just give it up or go back to "John Wanye" style fisticuffs. I would rather watch "Hard Times" with Charles Bronson than any modern MMA style movie.
Karl on Sep 25, 2010
Cung Le is awesome!. He's awesome in TRUE LEGEND. Check out the Facebook page. It has a lot of cool extras! http://www.facebook.com/TrueLegendFilm
David Cain on May 3, 2011
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