Here's a little treat for martial arts fans from Germany. We have been very outspoken supporters of German martial arts performer Mathis Landwehr in these pages over the years. The man impressed large with his ultra low budget feature production Kampfensage then again in the much glossier short Kingz before being hired on as a key stunt performer on V For Vendetta, at which point I truly expected Landwehr's international career to take off. The man has everything you could ask for in an action star - natural on screen charisma, the sort of looks that'll pull women into the theaters as well as men and enormous physical skills. But the international offers didn't really materialize and Landwehr is still working away in Germany.
Which may not be a bad thing.
You see, in 2006 Landwehr took on a major part in a direct to video German movie that went out internationally as Death Train - a film in which he plays a soldier-turned-monk named Lasko who gets sent in by the Vatican whenever the faithful are threatened. In this particular film that meant rescuing a train of Christian pilgrims when it was taken over by a gang of terrorists led by The Mummy's Arnold Vosloo. Not many people saw this movie but among those who did were some television producers who thought "Hey, that fighting monk guy ... that's got potential ..."
And so in 2009 Lasko hit the airwaves in Germany, the star of a seven episode miniseries titled Lasko: The Fist Of God in which we learn lots more about both the monk and the Pugnus Dei (literally Fist of God) order of monks he belongs to. Yes, the concept is goofy but the producers backed it with decent budgets and good writers and were rewarded with a surprise hit. A BIG surprise hit, one that ended up pulling in a full 20% audience share by the end of its run.
Lasko is coming back now, no surprise there, with the second series just wrapping up production and with season two coming and the assumption being those who are going to see season one already have, the producers have cleared the release of a very lengthy behind the scenes video comparing the in-progress, pre-viz versions of the fight sequences in Season One to the finished versions. If you want to see how a screen fight is developed and prepared this is a rare opportunity to do just that.
The pre-viz work was directed by Ulrik Bruchholz, all fight choreography by Mathis Landwehr himself, the stunt coordinator was Ramazan Bulut.
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