Friday, 27 May 2016

One Million K(l)icks


Directed by: Alex Pardutt & Oliver Juhrs
Written by: Marco Theiss, Story: Mike Moller & Marco Theiss
Starring: Mike Moller, Martin Baden, Bartholomeaus Kowalski, Volkram Zshiesche, Sabine Steinbech, Yanlong Li

Fast and furious martial arts action is front and centre in the low budget but very slick and action packed One Million K(l)icks. Stunt guy and all round super screen fighter Mike Moller gets to showcase his considerable fight skills in a barrage of energetic action scenes that make One Million K(l)icks some must see martial arts mayhem. 

Moller aptly stars as Mike, a down on his luck dude who is a wash out with the ladies, estranged from his father and looking for a bit of fortune to come his way. This fortune comes along in the form of a couple of shady business douches (Baden and KowalskI) who happening upon Mike’s considerable fight skills set him up as an internet star: streaming Mike fighting various opponents over the web. Mike has one condition, that all the potential fighters will provide a worthy fight: which they do as he takes on a series of increasingly skilled fighters. Internet fames beckons and the money rolls in but after a fight with a once renowned fighter (turned chef!) ends with Mike questioning his motives and a follow up fight leaving him severely injured, he decides it’s time to get out while he can. But with his shady business “partners” reluctant to give up their cash cow and a slimy cop hot on his trail, Mike has to fight one more time in order to break free.

Having performed stunts on the likes of Resident Evil, Unknown and Pound of Flesh, One Million K(l)icks is basically a showcase for Moller’s considerable fight and acrobatic talents, and what a showcase it is. While produced on what must have been a limited budget the film often looks slick (nicely shot and cut together) and delivers a flurry of wickedly choreographed fights. Action junkies will certainly get their fix (as this action junkie certainly did - if watching the English dub version!) with some impressively staged fights that see Moller taking on a variety of expert fighters. Particularly memorable are a scrap in a kitchen and a bar room brawl that incorporate all kinds of bootwork, acrobatic skills and takedowns. The fights scenes are fast and fluid, clean and crisp and sustained and satisfying. Despite a slight dip in fight action around the hour mark the filmmakers wisely pace the film with frequent bouts of memorable martial arts action.

While the narrative is fairly straightforward, presumably in effort to showcase the action, there is a nice turn of events where the renowned fighter (turned chef!) Mike originally takes down comes to his aid, retraining him after his injuries and the two share good chemistry. The sub plots of Mike’s blossoming romance with a nurse and his troubled relationship with his father don’t always work and clog up the second half unnecessarily. However, all the cast perform decently, there’s a nice bit of comedy peppered throughout (meaning events aren’t always taken too seriously) and the bad guys are suitably slimy and sneery. The lack of budget does show on occasion (and the obvious dubbing may irk some - if watching the English dub version!) but One Million K(l)icks is overall a slick package that showcases Moller skills to considerable effect and delivers a ton of incredible martial arts combat.

The end titles also promise a sequel Two Million K(l)icks - Hong Kong Death Match: bring it!

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