ATTENTION ALL ACTION-MOVIE AFICIONADOS AND FIGHT-FILM FANATICS! There’s a new flick in town that you won’t want to miss. Bare Knuckle Brawler is the action packed throwback you’ve all been waiting for, and will release on DVD and VOD on Tuesday, November 5th.
The film focuses on Steve Calderon, the typical “loose cannon” in a family of cops who likes to do things his own way. When his younger brother Joey is found dead during the murder investigation of two bare knuckle fighters, Steve becomes set on revenge and decides to take matters into his own hands. He quickly enters the world of bare knuckle brawling, an illegal fight circuit run by the Mereta crime family, in order to find some answers and bring justice to his family. “This is a film that captivates you from the start with crime, drama, and passion,” says Producer Michele Frantzeskos. “It will showcase what one family will go through in the underground fighting world, and how they will stop at nothing to defy the odds.”
In addition to its gripping story line, Bare Knuckle Brawler includes an impressive line up of characters as well. Starring martial arts film extraordinaire Martin Kove (The Karate Kid), his son Jesse Kove, two-time martial arts Hall Of Famer Pete Passaro, and action movie ace Danny Trejo (Machete), viewers are certainly in for a real treat!
“I hope that viewers are transported back to the classic style of the 80’s and 90’s,” says Director Joe Gawalis. “To the martial arts films that many fans know and appreciate. It’s a feel that hasn’t been as prevalent lately, and we want to remind viewers why they enjoyed those films so fondly.”
Excited to learn more, BELLA connected with lead actor Pete Passaro to further discuss the film and his role as Steve Calderon…
Can you tell me a little more about your character Steve Calderon?
Steve Calderon is basically the black sheep in a family of police officers. He kind of just does his own thing and that causes a lot of conflict.
How did you prepare for this role?
Actually, because I did a lot of the writing for the film, the character already had a little bit of my personality in it. The character is based on some of my real life experiences with a little tweaking, so the preparation was actually a lot easier than other roles that I’ve done in the past.
What are some of your favorite action films from the 80’s and early 90’s? Did they help inspire your character?
Absolutely! Two of my favorite movies go back to the iconic time of when martial arts was just coming about. One of my favorites is Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon. He was always a big star to me from when I was a little kid and we would watch kung fu theatre on Saturday’s. Chuck Norris’ movie Forced Vengeance was another big influence for me. When I watched those guys do martial arts I said ‘I want to be like Chuck, I want to be like Bruce.’ They had an impact on me wanting to be a martial artist way before I even considered a movie career.
Being a two-time martial arts Hall of Famer, how is the style of fighting in the film different from what you’re used to?
When I first started getting into the martial arts, cross training and the term MMA never existed. In my dojo, I became kind of like the liaison when my sensei would introduce other martial artists. I started cross training when nobody else did it. If someone was coming in to learn Jiu Jitsu from us, then I would take Sambo which is a Russian Jiu Jitsu. I got to experience all these martial arts styles before anybody else did which was really cool, and then a few years later the UFC started developing with a bareknuckle brawler concept. It then developed into the ground sport that you see today, and the Gracie’s really specialized in the one-on-one. It went from street brawlers, kickboxers, and Taekwondo, to the mixed martial arts form that continues today.
In addition to starring in Bare Knuckle Brawler, you also co-wrote the film as well. What was that experience like?
Well it was my first script that I ever wrote so it was a wonderful experience with a lot to learn. As a first time writer, I tapped into real life experiences so I could actually express myself and create emotional content that I’m hoping the audience will see and feel.
What was it like working alongside Danny Trejo and Martin Kove?
Talk about great experiences! Danny Trejo is the most humble guy in the entire world, so down to earth. He treated everyone phenomenally and it was a huge pleasure to work with him. I had a lot of fun working with Martin Kove because I watched The Karate Kid growing up, and even though he had the bad guy thing going on, I still really loved his character. To finally meet him and to have him play my dad was like full circle for me. They are both iconic actors and I just felt so lucky to be able to work with them.
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