An Interview with Jino Kang
While many of you have probably never heard the name Jino Kang, I believe after reading this interview and getting to know him, you’ll develop a respect for the man. Jino Kang is like all of us that frequent and contribute to this site, he is at his core an action movie fanatic. But Jino is taking his love of action a step further and trying to make a name for himself in the action genre and he isn’t just talking about it, the man is putting in the hard work to make it happen, having already starred in three action movies.
We talk about his movies and much more in this exclusive interview…
CTB: In all of your movies you have not only been the star, you have also written and directed the films. My first question… where do you find the energy?
JK: (Laughing) I hear you. I ask that question to myself all the time, before, during and after, especially during the shoot. To add to the pain, I am also dieting too, usually dropping 15 lbs. Walking around as one mean grouchy guy. Well, I take a deep breath and move forward, keep checking off those shots and keep moving forward until the martini shot.
CTB: Do you want to continue being the “jack of all trades” in your movies or is there a director you’d like to work with in the future? Or would you like to stay behind the scenes and direct other action stars?
JK: To be honest, I don’t think I can continue to do it all. I would love to work with great directors, producers, fight coordinators and real stunt people. In my opinion, directors, like Ernie Babarash, Issac Florentine, Jesse Johnson, Gareth Evans and Park Chan-Wook are doing fabulous jobs. When I can’t be in front of the camera anymore, an unequivocal yes, I would love to find and discover new and up and coming action stars.
CTB: Who do you credit as your inspiration to enter the world of action entertainment?
JK: My action heroes – Bruce Lee, Toshiro Mifune, Takeshi Kitano and Clint Eastwood.
CTB: I recently had the opportunity to sit down and watch your film Fist 2 Fist. There is an MMA element to the film. Do you follow MMA? Who are some of your favorite MMA fighters? And have you ever considered a career in the MMA world?
JK: Yes, I watch UFC events every chance I get. I love the reality based action and the unpredictability outcome of each fights. My favorites are Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and recently I was very impressed with TJ Dillashaw. In my mind, I think I could fight in a cage, but reality sets in when my body says “you’re too old”. I roll/sparr in my BJJ class every week and it takes it’s toll on my body and every night I come home with some kind of damage. However, it is massively fun and addictive. BJJ is definitely for young people. I’ll stop one of these days, hopefully before I get seriously hurt.
CTB: As a practitioner of the martial arts, what was your take on what Meryl Streep said about the martial arts at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony?
JK: Woh! You want me to go there? All right, here’s my two cents. Meryl has my respect regarding her acting career and fighting for her rights, but she is dead wrong about “Mixed Martial Arts not being and Art!” There are other aspects that I would like to talk about but I’m going to focus on the “Art” part. I believe All Martial Arts is an “Art”. It may not be as high browed as painting, but dedication, perseverance, challenges and disappointments/set backs that we endure as Martial Artist qualifies us and earn that right. As Martial Artists we display or perform technical skills, as forms by yourself or fighting/warrior skills against an opponent. You can appreciate its beauty and power through it’s movements like dancing.
CTB: Another theme in Fist 2 Fist was helping underprivileged youth. Is working with at risk young people something you have interest in doing?
JK: I have in the past. I haven’t actively pursued it but as it comes my way. I’ll nurture and develop each individuals. Some stay and some leave but no strings attached, it’s up to them to finish what they started. As the wise old saying, “You give a man a fish and they eat for that day but teach them how to fish, they eat for life.”
CTB: I noticed that the sequel to Fist 2 Fist, Fist 2 Fist: Weapon of Choice is a sequel in name only. This reminded me of what Cannon did with their Ninja trilogy and what Don “The Dragon” Wilson did with his Bloodfist series of films. Why did you decide to utilize this strategy?
JK: This was actually the distributors analogy as well. Since you have a hit with one film then you might as well ride the coattail of that film and continue on. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is.
CTB: What would you say sets you apart from some of your contemporaries in the world of action entertainment?
JK: I’d like to believe that I can bring creativity and originality in all areas. As for the story, different spin on a beaten path and coming up with compelling plot and creating engaging characters and infused with entertaining dialogue. That leaves the action, which I believe I can bring all different aspects of martial arts to the table. I don’t ever think one style is better than the other because each style brings something extraordinary. I go out of my way to learn different arts and try to bring that to the screen. Currently, I’m working on Eskrima/Kali and Judo which can bring exciting flair to the screen if done right. I’m also open to new ideas if someone creative brings it. This way we can eliminate staleness and attract fresh and unique concepts to the screen.
CTB: Who would you most like to have an on-screen fight with in the future?
JK: Without a doubt, JCVD, Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Cung Le. Either as protagonist or antagonist is alright with me.
CTB: Speaking of the future, what projects do you have coming up? Will we see a third entry in the Fist 2 Fist series?
JK: Yes, a true follow up to F2F2: Weapon of Choice – “BLADE FURY.” This will be a full-length feature film. SYNOPSIS – Jack, a retired hit man hiding out in a sleepy little town trying to live normal life is accidentally discovered when he thwarts a bank robbery. A vengeful Yakuza mob boss who lost millions because of Jack, unleashes an army on Ninjas on this innocent little town to get revenge on Jack. Now, Jack must fight for his life and the lives of people he has come to know and love. Currently we are seeking financing at the moment.
Also, working on a true follow up to Fist 2 Fist – “Wages of Sin.” This will be a pilot (spec) – still at rewrite stage of the script. SYNOPSIS – A martial arts master and his protégés are drawn back into the violence and tragedy of a ruthless criminal world he thought he left behind.
CTB: You had me sold on Blade Fury when you mentioned an army of ninjas! Definitely looking forward to that and I want to thank you for taking the time out for this interview.
JK: Thank you Chris!