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Nicolas Cage’s Alien Martial Arts Film Knows You Need a Brain Break


Nicolas Cage and director Dimitri Logothetis on the set of Jiu Jitsu.

Nicolas Cage and director Dimitri Logothetis on the set of Jiu Jitsu.
Photograph: The Avenue

Each six years, an alien comes to Earth looking for a fight. This has occurred for generations. In consequence, each six years, a staff of professional martial artists should face him, utilizing strategies this alien himself handed down centuries in the past. In the event that they don’t, everyone on Earth will die. Is Nicolas Cage as much as the duty?

That’s the premise co-writer and director Dimitri Logothetis concocted for this newest movie, Jiu Jitsu. The idea was so out there, earlier than he made it right into a screenplay, he determined to first flip it into a comic book e-book.

It was the easiest way for me to truly see whether or not or not it will make an excellent film,” Logothetis advised io9 over a video chat not too long ago. “I simply wished to truly have the ability to see it and visualize it. And it was actually extra of a storyboard, frankly, as a result of I’m not within the comedian e-book enterprise. It simply actually helped to spur the artistic course of.”

The following script, which Logothetis co-wrote with Jim McGrath, makes use of comedian e-book frames to assist inform and steer the story. A narrative begins with a person named Jake (martial artist Alain Moussi) operating for his life. Quickly, we discover out Jake has an extended, storied previous, and his operating has triggered one thing very dangerous. It made the traditional warrior alien, Brax, offended. And women and gentleman, we don’t like Brax when he’s offended.

“What precisely is it that our dangerous man alien desires? What he desires is he desires a problem,” Logothetis mentioned. “If you happen to run from him, he’ll simply kill you. If you happen to stand and face him in a problem, he’ll struggle you with honor. And so we got here up with all these guidelines that I believe actually assist the viewers get into it.”


Nic Cage combating an alien in Jiu Jitsu.
Photograph: The Avenue

Whereas the story is clearly cool by itself, Logothetis—who not too long ago directed Kickboxer: Vengence and Kickboxer: Retaliation again to again—acquired himself an absolute killer solid besides. He started with Moussi, a sixth-degree jiu-jitsu grasp who labored with the director on each Kickboxers. For that character’s mentor although, Logothetis knew they wanted somebody particular.

“[After Moussi] I began to go after the kind of mentor-ish half. And we had been looking at Bruce Willis for some time,” Logothetis mentioned. “Then we ended up with the very best [person]. We ended up with a terrific actor.”

That “terrific actor” is the person, the parable, the legend himself Nicolas Cage. And as soon as Cage was on board, getting actors like Tony Jaa (Ong Bak), Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100), and JuJu Chan (Crouching Tiger 2) was pretty straight ahead. “And I warned all of the those who I acquired into the movie, I mentioned, ‘Look, you guys. We’d get killed with this relating to critiques.’ However I mentioned, ‘I guarantee you, it’s going to be quite a lot of enjoyable. The viewers is gonna like it.’”

Tony Jaa arrives to mess shit up.

Tony Jaa arrives to mess shit up.
Photograph: The Avenue

One of many coolest methods Logothetis makes an attempt to ship on that promise is a really distinctive scene early within the movie. Jake is being rescued by a mysterious stranger and because the two battle their technique to freedom, the digital camera initially shifts to Jake’s perspective, like something out of a first-person shooter. From there, nearly as if the digital camera popped out of Jake’s physique and falls to the ground, the shot transitions right into a third-person view. Jake then steps again and type of reabsorbs the digital camera, as all the things goes again to first-person.

“Virtually all people at this time likes to play video video games,” Logothetis mentioned when requested concerning the distinctive scene. “So I believed to myself, if I began that as a online game sequence the place you really see the POV and you then really see him leap out into the sport itself, that’s one thing as you’re taking part in a online game you need to have the ability to do. You need to have the ability to leap into the display screen and be that man. And so I delivered that to you.”

Aliens, video video games, comedian books—initially, none among this feels prefer it suits in a film referred to as Jiu Jitsu. Once you hear that title, somebody may suppose it’s a film about combined martial arts or the UFC. Nevertheless, Logothetis identified the title is supposed so as to add to the thriller.

“I attempted to base it in actuality, which means there’s actually no genesis of jiu-jitsu,” he mentioned. “Lots of guys on-line will sit there they usually speak about BJJ which is Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However that’s very current. If you happen to return and attempt to discover the origins of jiu-jitsu you’ll see 2,000 years, 3,000 years, maybe it’s Japan, maybe it’s India, however they’re probably not fairly certain the place it comes from, which kind of set an ideal tone.” So, certain, perhaps aliens.


Cage, Logothetis, and Moussi on the set of Jiu Jitsu.
Photograph: The Avenue

With a killer solid, deep mythology, and robust visible fashion, Logothetis believes it doesn’t matter what the critics may find yourself saying, Jiu Jitsu is the proper film for 2020. He very properly could also be proper.

“Look, particularly at this time, we have to escape,” the director mentioned. “So the type of stuff that I do is, I give you protagonists that kick the shit out of the dangerous man. And on the finish of the day, you’re having a beer and also you’re having fun with your self, and also you overlook about regardless of the hell it’s you’re desirous about on the information for an hour and a half. You’re not gonna do higher than that, man.”

Jiu Jitsu hits choose theaters, on-demand, and digital on November 20.

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Germain Lussier on io9, shared by Kaitlyn Jakola to Gizmodo