Hey folks, Valkor here with the first look at a new movie by a couple of badasses: Ray Park (Star Wars Episode 1, X-Men, G.I.Joe) and Johnny Young Bosch (Power Rangers, Devon’s Ghost, and anime Bleach). Toss in one Esteban Cueto (Fist of the Warrior, Scorpion King, and uhhhh Miss Congeniality 2) and you’ve got a film that’s a B-movie with some bite to it. I’m talking ”Hellbinders”, bitches.
Hellbinders pits Max (Parks), Ryu (Bosch) and Cain (Cueto) against the forces of Hell led by Samael (Richard Cetrone). Basically, Hell’s forces have gone against the dark lord Beelzebub (Steve Fite) and plan to take over the world. These demon souls aka Oniis are pretty tough to kill because once you kill the host, the soul moves on to another body. Max, who's a merc, finds this out the hard way while working for some cops to bring down other bad cops; his people, Carmen (Ingrid Sonray) and George (Randy Hall) get possessed. Ryu, who is a Priest/Warrior/Assassin enters the picture seeking aid from Max, mainly because during Max’s scuffle he was not possessed. As it turns out Max has no soul, so he can’t be possessed. Enter Cain, Templar Knight and forever demon hunter/fighter. Cain has been battling the Oniis for centuries, but he thought all his troubles were over during his final battle in the desert (the opening of the film) leaving an Onii with no soul to take possession. Imagine his surprise when he’s hit with “the circle of life speech”. Cain goes to the place where Max lost his friends to face Samael, who then orders his minions to destroy him. Cain battles it out with the possessed humans and eventually teams up with Max and Ryu, who pulls his ass out of the fire since the demons just don’t stay down. Together the three must stop Samael and his minions from opening a gate to Hell and literally unleashing hell on earth.
Yea the plot is a bit spotty but that doesn’t stop the bad assery. On with the show.
Can a movie with both Johnny Young Bosch AND Ray Park suck? Not even. The film isn't action-packed, but the story is decent and both Park and Bosch play their roles well. I especially enjoyed Bosch's Ryu, with that kick-ass ninja outfit. Park's Max is pretty good too, though he didn't show off any serious martial arts moves, I did enjoy his fighting/gun combos; Dude you have the skills, why not show it off when you can? Before I forget, I gotta give ups to Esteban Cueto, who surprised me. Not because of his acting, but I thought the guy would be pulling off some cheesy, WWE moves, simply because he looks like a WWE wrestler. The grappling, throws and punches worked better than body slams, sleeper holds, and turnbuckle dives. Another plus is the comic-book panel transitions. As a comic geek, this is what kept me watching the film. I thought it would eventually get boring, but on the contrary, the transitions worked well adding to the overall comic book feel of the film. Finally, the plot; it's a simple "good versus evil" story with no serious twists in the tale and an ending that leaves room for a sequel. With so many questions left unanswered will enough peeps out there jump onboard the Hellbinder bandwagon to warrant a sequel? I certainly hope so.
There's some pacing that could be tighter as things tend to slow down between ass-whoopings; I honestly expected more martial arts fighting. I mean you’ve got two bad ass fighters and not enough of them kicking ass. Yea Cain balances things out, but only slightly. And with all the blood, gore, and badassery strewed about… why not toss in some bare boobs to complete the package?
Carmen’s “aaahhh…” when she gets a shuriken in the eye. That was pretty weak; funny as all hell, but weak nonetheless.
It is my belief that a 100 million dollar budget doth not always make a great film; Warlock, I Come in Peace, and Mask of the Ninja are three great examples of films with low budgets but are worthy of repeat views. With that said I’ll be adding Hellbinder to that list as it’s a film with some serious bite: a decent story, great action sequences, blood galore, and two badasses in Ray Park and Johnny Young Bosch that warrants giving this film at least rental and one which I highly recommend. Out of TOV 5 stars I’m giving the film a 4 and it’s been Valkor tested and TOV approved.