Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lost Treasure of the Maya-Movie Review-Danny Shamon

With the popularity of the recent and past Indiana Jones movies, Tombraider, and National Treasure, I actually was looking forward to watch a low budget interpretation of the genre. Unfortunately Lost Treasure of the Maya was rather disappointing effort, as the plot of the film meanders like a dying salmon after giving birth.

Set in the lush tropical environment of the Yucatan, Maya started with some promise. Once the actors started delivering their lines, which were trite and maladroitly written, that promise quickly dissipated. The two leads looked rather uninterested in the material and it was evident throughout the production.

The antagonists in the film, headed up by Michael Madson, lacked the sense of urgency needed for an adventure action film. The bad guys were buffoons, with no sense of drive or purpose. I was not sure if this was done for comical effect or not. This was an aspect of the film that needed more intensity to make it more entertaining.

I have seen movies that are far worse than this, and I did manage to make it all the way through. On the bright spot the cinematography was very good, and the settings and surroundings were exotic and inviting. Maybe with a better script and more ambitious villains, this could have been a more enjoyable effort. I give Lost Treasure of the Maya 3 out of 10.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

LAHUKA-An Interview with Jovelyn Minoza- Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

LAHUKA-Jovelyn Maria Minoza—By DannyTemplegod

Jovelyn Minoza has developed a new training style of martial arts called Lahuka. She has been practicing different forms or Martial Arts for nearly 30 years. Jovelyn has several short videos available on you tube demonstrating her form and art. She currently resides and teaches in Germany.

Danny Shamon: How long have you been practicing martial arts?

Jovelyn Minoza: I started martial arts when I was 11 years old. It was not directly the Filipino Martial Arts but the karate style of Okinawan, then followed with the popular Shotokan Karate. My first fight was a regional tournament and became a gold medalist! then followed with various tournaments and various gold medals. Then the FMA was being introduced to our club when i was 18 years old.. and so the starts..

DS: Judging from your videos you are trained in several weapons, what is your favorite?

JM: I saw a lot of weapons and even used several of them during training, but my only weapon is my belief. "BELIEF IN MYSELF" that there is nothing we cannot do if we believe in ourself, that no matter how small or tiny one can be.

DS: In your tube videos you often used two weapons at once, what are some of the difficulties using two weapons at once like the Nickel Sticks?

JM: One may encounter difficulties by using two weapons at one time like the nickel sticks or knife and sword ... but if one trains with body coordination (the LAwas-body) then difficulties lessen more rapidly.

DS: Describe Lahuka to people who are unfamiliar with it.

JM: Lahuka is a three Cebuano word combination, directly translated into English, meaning HEART; BODY AND SOUL: LAwas- the Body, it is the body who train.
HUna-huna - the Mind, Soul.. who understand the movements of the body,
KAsing-kasing - The heart.. success means doing things by the the HEART

DS: Is Lahuka your original concept? Is it an part of FMA?

JM: Lahuka was my idea alone.. the word Lahuka ( which means HEART, BODY AND SOUL) reflects from my own way of teaching. Emphasizing more empathy than sympathy.. A good teacher must see what a student has to learn, how to understand his body coordination, what the hearts desires and how the mind and soul reacts and comprehend. Empathy is needed because FMA is a very complex art, if you just teach them techniques, techniques and more techniques, so the students are not doing FMA they are just doing Techniques they don't even understand. Lahuka is part of FMA, because I had learn from Doce Pares.

DS: What about specific training rituals?

JM: The training ritual was simple: Students are often told that" whatever you are going to do, you should do it with your LAHUKA, before the training begins or before techniques are to be shown. Technique is good, but if you understand what the technique is all about and how to apply it then you are in a right way of doing MARTIAL ARTS. Every move counts, the shoulder, the feet, the body shifting with the hips and even fingers.. I often told them " I am not gonna do other techniques until you understand every moves you do" FMA is a very complex art, that even if i repeat one techniques again and again.. it can easily be forgotten if you don't understand the BASIC MOVEMENTS and it is LAHUKA.. THE PHYSICAL STRENGTH IS NOT DECISIVE, IT IS THE POWER OF THINKING AND THE ABILITY TO REACT... again, that is Lahuka´s way of thinking.. ehehhee... (because I am a small skinny woman doing and promoting FMA with all my power and strength)

DS: Speaking of body limitations, does age factor into training? Do you train differently now then at 18, 20, 30 etc..

JM: This is not depending on the age or time you are doing,, It depends the age of when you start. This is the difference..if a 40 years old woman like me.. hehehe just started Martial Arts then there will be of course body limitations and must be guided carefully with the moves, because the bones structures not like the teens anymore. A 40 year old now who has started MA during his or her teenage years, the body limitations does not depend on that number, because the body was getting used early (in life) enough for hard movements in the Martial arts.

DS: Are martial arts in general are getting more popular?

JM: Oh yes, it is getting more and more popular, somehow in more commercialized way but it has the good intention of getting people together, especially for the youth for their recreation.

DS: Do you think the action films have brought it out?

JM: In my own opinion it is not really the case.. most people who like to watch action film don't want to do it in action themselves... lol, it is my own observation. People are more encouraged by people who are practicing martial arts, not just watching action films.... they are encourage personally, guided personally, motivated personally. Of course actions film motivate too but if they are not guided with a teacher themselves personally, they will just sit in front of the TV or go to cinemas to watch martial artist rather than practicing the martial arts themselves. Most people know that films are choreographed. In reality Jackie Chan can't walk on air or jump from building to building like flying,,, it is just a film and of course that is motivating too.

DS: Would you ever consider stunt work or choreography?

JM: I have never been into those professions, but these are very interesting and I would be very glad if I would be given a chance for stunt work or to pose (for a magazine).. lol!

DS: What are your future plans as a martial artist?

JM: My future plan is to promote FMA, and introduce the beauty and effectiveness of the art.

For more information and videos visit Joveln's channel on youtube at:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NINJA Movie Review-Danny Templegod


I had mid level expectations for Ninja, but was amazed at the quality of material presented on a budget scale probably one tenth that of Ninja Assassin. Not perfect by any means, Ninja however, is as close as a low budget martial arts film can get.

The movie starts of in a Dojo in Asia. The students train without incident , but soon the film reveals the rivalry between the two main characters. A huge fight ensues and the aggressor is banished from the school after using a real weapon in a sparring session. The antagonist vows revenge, because he wants to be the leader of the school and hold the key to the dojo's sacred Ninja weapons. The weapons have the power to kill, heal and see in total darkness.

The plot is basic, and that is actually to the movie's advantage. The audience knows who the good guys and the bad guys are without any confusion. The fight scenes are excellent, maybe not all in true ninja style, but who cares. In Ninja you can actually see the action and the camera angles are wide enough that it can be enjoyed. There is no quick cuts, and even the darkest scenes are lit properly. There is a female character in this film and she has fighting ability, but what I like she is not invincible. She needs help, even though her skills are solid she is just over-matched a few times. It is refreshing to see a bit of realism in that a 5 foot tall 100 pound woman just cannot usually (I know a few who can ) overpower a 200 pound 6 ft tall guy.

Scott Adkins is the man, that is all I can say. He has the charisma and intensity like no other true martial artist in recent memory. This is not somebody with a few months training. His moves are fluid, tight, and on target. I see a bright future for this guy, he should get more big budget lead roles.

A few friends of mine asked me to compare this to The Tournament, which I reviewed on the site. They are both great, but so different it would be like comparing apples and turkey breast. My statement rent them both, and if you like them buy them. Unfortunately Ninja does not come to US dvd until March 9, 2010. For me this is a recommended buy all the way I rate it 8 out of 10!!

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