After producing a number of martial arts shorts, the Z Team martial arts group has made their first full length feature with Die Fighting.
Featuring a very meta storyline, the movie finds the Z Team, Fabian, Lohan, Didier and Jess, coming to Los Angeles to try and break into Hollywood but things have not been going that great. With Jess about to leave for another job, the team has to band together when a mysterious man kidnaps Fabian’s wife and forces the the group to rob an armored car and then proceed through a series of scenarios for his “film”. I’m not 100% sure if the team had a hard time getting the movie made or had issues with some studios but it almost feels like they are working out a beef as there’s kind of a negative vibe regarding making films for Hollywood and that it takes sacrificing everything you love in order to make it big, (the movie “The Director” is making is called “The Price of My Success”). The movie actually ends with a monologue from a character describing what is needed to make it in Hollywood and it kind of takes some of the fun away from what could have been just a totally fun martial arts action movie as it ends the movie on kind of a down note. I appreciate them trying to do something different but it seems a little strange for their first movie out.
When the movie switches to martial arts mode though, it is a ton of fun and there’s some fantastic choreography, some similar to what we saw a month or so ago in John Wick. There’s a warehouse shootout that has tons of creative fun moments and director/star Fabian has a number of scenes where he takes down multiple assailants. The movie is shot in pseudo found footage, as most of it is from the perspective of security cameras “The Director” has placed around the city. It doesn’t have any of the pitfalls of found footage though, like over shakiness or rapid cuts and you are never unclear about what is happening in every fight. As far as the action goes, I’m definitely interested to see what Z Team could do with a bigger budget.
Acting wise, the guys do a fairly good job considering it’s their first movie. One thing I would like to see in a future movie from the group is to distinguish each other’s personalities a bit more. All of the guys have the same Shaolin fighting style and they kind of blend into each other. They have a simple motivation and clear objectives, so there’s not a lot of room for character development but I’d like to see some more bouncing off each other in the future (and just slightly more fun in general).
Die Fighting is definitely worth supporting as the martial arts action in it is fantastic. Hopefully the Z Team will be successful and they can make another, slightly more fun movie in the future, as this one is a little grim for my tastes.