That strange truth-fiction thing strikes again: if you were to ask a screenwriter to contrive a Dickensian hero for the post-9/11 action-movie generation, they would not be able to top Abbas Alizada. Alizada, the youngest of ten children raised in the hardscrabble, war-torn streets of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, discovered the classic kung fu movies of Bruce Lee as a teenager, and dedicated himself to becoming a martial arts champion in Lee’s image. Practicing between five and six hours each day, he says, “I am only focused on achieving physical and technical perfection.”
Now 23, and an Internet sensation on the basis of both the resemblance and his fierce skills, Alizada is ready to meet the world. Game recognizes game, and the people at JetLi.com commissioned an 8-minute portrait of Alizada to feature on their website, which it pleases us to present here as well.
The martial arts on display are exuberant, jaw-dropping, and delightful– what you may not expect is the soulfulness that comes attached to Alizada’s drive.
Alizada is currently managed by Abdul Nazary, a 36-year-old based in Calgary, who reports that aside from JetLi.com, they are not in contact with anyone in the Chinese film industry, and that they would love to be; similarly, if more surprisingly, no one from Hollywood has yet reached out. While Afghan politics and visa issues affect Alizada’s ability to travel, Nazary says, the US and China happen to be two countries where prevailing international relations would allow him to come and work.
And honestly, how great would it be to see a Chinese film that welcomed a foreign disciple of one its moviegoing culture’s great icons? Or an international action movie from the likes of Luc Besson, Gareth Evans, Rob Cohen, or Justin Lin designed to spotlight Alizada?
In the realm of New Talent as well, this short documentary on Alizada was produced by High Horse Studios, an outfit founded by young, Shanghai-based nomads Jayga Rayn (Director) and Marc Ressang (Cinematographer), whose work is worth keeping an eye on.