Don Wilson Is Play­ing a Hit Man?

Don “The Dragon” Wilson, the kick­box­ing leg­end who be­came an ac­tion star, is back on the screen, and this time the movie is a quirky ac­tion com­edy with a twist for the for­mer fighter: He plays a hit man.

Black Belt - - FIGHTBOOK - by David J. Moore

Ti­tled Pay­ing Mr. McGetty, the new film comes from Tra­di­tionz En­ter­tain­ment, the same com­pany that pro­duced The Mar­tial Arts Kid with Wilson and Cyn­thia Rothrock.

The plot of Pay­ing Mr. McGetty re­flects the mad­cap style that’s of­ten used in Hong Kong cin­ema. Af­ter a night of drink­ing and gam­bling, Tyrell (played by R. Mar­cos Tay­lor, who ap­peared in Straight Outta Comp­ton and Baby Driver) is awak­ened by an an­gry call from his girl­friend Meena. Turns out, Tyrell is in bed with a strange woman — who hap­pens to be the daugh­ter of a lo­cal mob boss. Once the mob­ster finds out, he hires hit-man Shota (Wilson) to take out the trans­gres­sor.

To make mat­ters worse, the re­ward that’s placed on Tyrell’s head drives dozens of others to look for him, too. Fur­ther adding to Tyrell’s trou­bles, Meena, the love of his life, is put in harm’s way. Tyrell must make a stand by tak­ing on the mob, deal­ing with Shota and find­ing the money to pay his land­lord — the epony­mous Mr. McGetty — be­fore the day ends. PRO­DUCER JAMES WILSON said the con­cept for Pay­ing Mr. McGetty be­gan more like a Jackie Chan movie than an ur­ban ac­tion drama. “There [was sup­posed to] be more com­edy than ac­tion, but the star R. Mar­cos Tay­lor was in­jured in the first scene on the first day,”

James said. “So we changed it right away. We went in a quirky dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. We knew the movie would be risky from the be­gin­ning. We tried to make this a very unique and un­usual movie.”

Don Wilson, who’s starred in more than 30 fea­ture films, en­joyed the chal­lenge of play­ing an anti-hero in McGetty. “In my other films, I usu­ally work very heav­ily on story, cast­ing and edit­ing, but on this one, I just had more in­put on my own char­ac­ter,” he said. “I’m not used to be­ing the bad guy, so I tried to make this char­ac­ter like Leon in The Pro­fes­sional and a lit­tle like the vil­lain from No Coun­try for Old Men.

“But I had scru­ples. I did not want to take out Mar­cos be­cause he did not do what they thought he had done. I’m not just a hit man who will do any­thing for money — I ac­tu­ally have a code.” BE­CAUSE OF HIS mar­tial arts train­ing — which in­cludes karate, muay Thai and taek­wondo — Tay­lor was up to the task of squar­ing off with Wilson. “I al­ways seem to play the heavy, the thug or the tough guy, so Tyrell was re­ally in­ter­est­ing to play phys­i­cally,” he said. “Go­ing from con­fu­sion, stress, frus­tra­tion, de­pres­sion and fear to courage, de­ter­mi­na­tion and hap­pi­ness was a chal­lenge, but one I loved do­ing. There was plenty of ac­tion to keep things in­ter­est­ing.”

In an in­ter­view with The Ac­tion Elite, fight co­or­di­na­tor and stunt per­former John Kreng said he was hon­ored to col­lab­o­rate with Wilson on McGetty. “He was amaz­ing to work with be­cause he has a cer­tain un­der­stand­ing and a logic; he let me cre­ate what I needed to cre­ate, and he would take it and make it his,” Kreng ex­plained. “He would watch what I had chore­ographed with the stunt crew [and] he would say, ‘OK, I see why you’re do­ing this and this, but I just need to change it to work for me,’ so it was a great process.”

Chang­ing things so they bet­ter match his skill set is some­thing Wilson is used to. “If you do any­thing for over 30 years, you should be com­fort­able do­ing it by now,” he said. “I am much more com­fort­able now on a set in front of a cam­era, do­ing my di­a­logue, en­gag­ing in ac­tion and be­com­ing [dif­fer­ent] char­ac­ters.”

The ac­tion scenes that Wilson and Kreng crafted draw from both men’s back­grounds. “Don wanted some­thing along the lines of The Bourne Iden­tity, where it was sim­ple yet force­ful,” Kreng said. “So I started look­ing more into it, and I in­cor­po­rated a lit­tle more Ja­panese jiu-jitsu, aikido locks and stuff just to change it up a bit. I wanted to add some­thing that I hadn’t seen Don do yet. He was to­tally up for it and thought it was re­ally cool.” THE LIKE­LI­HOOD that McGetty will be a hit with the mar­tial arts com­mu­nity is boosted by the fact that the pro­duc­ers are firmly en­meshed within that com­mu­nity and have sub­tly in­serted re­spected fight­ers into the film. It’s a nod to fans of the genre. For­mer kick­box­ing le­gends Jeff Smith and Olando Rivera have roles. For­mer top-rated com­peti­tor James Sisco, grand­mas­ters Glenn C. Wilson and Ser­gio Bar­riga, and masters Kevin Bergquist, Doug Zim­mer and Mark Live­rio also make ap­pear­ances.

Clearly, the film is de­signed to ap­peal to those who have de­voted their lives to their mar­tial arts. But it of­fers so much more. “Pay­ing Mr. McGetty is for any­one who loves ro­mance and ac­tion,” said Michael Baum­garten, the film’s direc­tor. “This is the type of movie that can be a fun lit­tle cult film for a lot of au­di­ences. We want a di­verse crowd. We want to plug into those mar­kets and give them a film that they don’t get ev­ery week.”

IF IMDB IS TO BE BE­LIEVED … The ex­tended cast list for Pay­ing Mr. McGetty in­cludes other mar­tial artists whose names may be fa­mil­iar to Black Belt read­ers: • Cyn­thia Rothrock • Ta­yari Casel • Alan Gold­berg • Mau­rice El­malem • Robert Gold­man

The film is de­signed to ap­peal to those who have de­voted their lives to their mar­tial arts. But it of­fers so much more.

R. Mar­cos Tay­lor Ta­yari Casel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.