As the folks reading this may or may not know, I’m a sucker for martial arts movies, particularly kung fu stuff. A former roommate of mine had a similar obsession, and had a library of old Shaw Brothers and other obscure or rare titles that I still miss today. Among that library was a DVD called Everyone is Kung Fu Fighting, a collection of amateur martial arts short films. Most of them were pretty crap, but there was one called “Cradle of the Blind” that I really dug. The choreography was solid, and of the same tastes that I find fun and interesting in fight choreography. I was also really impressed by some of the clever camera work.
Well, at one point when surfing Craigslist for something to stave off my pre-RvD2 boredom, I came across a posting by the same Anthony Alba who had made “Cradle of the Blind,” looking for a writer to help him with a book idea he had. I got in touch with him, we met up and although that specific idea has not yet come to fruition, we’ve kept in touch the last couple years, shared some WIP stuff, and I’m pleased to say that one of the WIPs that I saw a few years ago is finally a finished film, called “Animus”.
When I saw the rough cut of “Animus”, I have to say I didn’t get it. But I liked the final version a hell of a lot. There are interesting choices made in the shooting and editing that I keep watching over and over. Give me a few more days and I might even say I love the thing; I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet.
One thing I can say for sure: Anthony is insanely talented, as a director and especially as a fight choreographer and martial artist.
Case in point: if you’ve seen Equilibrium, you may remember the fight scene at the very end with the Big Bad, where the two characters were supposedly doing a wild and highly technical gun-fu fight against each other — when in fact they were playing patty-cake, batting each other’s weapons away lazily as the camera dollied frantically about them.
Starting at 2:11, “Animus” has the fight scene we SHOULD have gotten at the end of Equilibrium.
I’m not going to comment or review the film itself here, other than to say that the film managed to hold my interest for over 20 minutes in a dinky low-rez YouTube window, and that’s hard to do. I enjoyed it and I told Anthony I would use my Intarweb Powerz to try and get the word out.
I’ve been helping him with a concept shoot for a feature he’s co-written with his brother Ski-ter1, and I think our respective teams — me and Ryan with Anthony and Ski-ter — have a long and fulfilling future of collaboration and partnership ahead. Once you see some of Anthony’s work, I think you’ll be as excited about the prospect as I am.
If you have a YouTube account (and all the cool kids do), be sure to click through to the actual film page and leave a comment for him, so he knows his work is seen and appreciated. That’s really all us filmy-types want.
Without further ado, “Animus”:
- If you have the RvD2 DVD, Ski-ter shot some of the pyrotechnic BTS. He’s the guy behind the camera who says “You gotta love that sh*t.”↩