The Last Eve (2005)
A Young Man Kang Film
Action / Drama



"The Last Eve" DVD release in the US, Aug. 26th, 2008


Vanguard Cinema


"The Last Eve" DVD release in Germany, Dec. 13th, 2006


Starmedia Home Entertainment

WINNER
Best Action Feature Film

2005 New York Independent Film Festival
"The Last Eve"

WINNER
Best Cinematography
2006 B Movie Film Festival
"The Last Eve"

Official Selection
2006 Another Hole In The Head Film Festival
"The Last Eve"


ONE OF THE 10 BEST UNSEEN FILMS OF 2005

1. THE LAST EVE
Young Man Kang¡¯s brilliant reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve legend audaciously imagines the story in an avant-garde triptych spanning the post-apocalypse, a Korean underground fight circuit and the L.A. hedonism orbit. A wealth of stunning imagery, an endlessly original screenplay and a strong ensemble (particularly Chris Torres as the demon Leviathan) makes this an invigorating masterwork.

"The Last Eve¡± is so rich is visual imagery and so beautifully framed for its martial arts sequences that it becomes a truly hypnotic experience.
-Film Threat-

¡°The Last Eve" is an ambitious and challenging independent production that¡¦ dares to artistically step beyond convention¡±
- Kung Fu Cinema -

 

Synopsis

If an unclassifiable genre-bending, time-travelling, religious epic with kick-ass Muay Thai fighting, sexy evil seductresses, severed genitals, planetary death by comet, kung-fu demons, and the baby Jesus shows up at our doorstep.

Journeying backwards through history while telling, re-telling and re-imagining the story of Adam, Eve and that pesky snake (with a distinctively Buddhist spin on the proceedings - and New Testament quotations appear in a series of intertitles). The Last Eve consists of three contrasting tales (Eve's Secret, Cain & Abel, Snake's Temptation) which reveal the dark tragedies at the heart of all romance, the temptations of the flesh and the spirit, the loss of innocence - and amazingly choreographed old-school martial arts mayhem. Filmed in Death Valley and South Korea, Kang's film is (as you may imagine) quite a weird ride, and will surely find a cult following as it is seen more widely.


Part 3: Snake's Temptation

In the Bible, Eve was tempted by the Snake. Adam was tempted in turn by Eve.
Present day Los Angeles. Adam, Eve and Snake were raised by a priest in an orphanage. Three people caught in a deadly love triangle. The Priest allows Adam and Eve to marry. Both promise to keep their virginity until the wedding ceremony. Snake tries to break their vow of chastity and tempts Eve. Will Eve fall for Snake?

Location: Los Angeles

Cast

Eve - Kelly Hamilton
Adam - Jourdan Lee Khoo
Snake - Freddie Milligan
Priest - Tim Colceri
Lilith - Paula Labaredas
Fortune Teller - Tomiko Lee
Bartender - George Thomas
Reporter (Hollywood) - Luke Y. Thompson
Reporter (British) - Douglas Dunning
Reporter (Japanese) - Leila Kurosawa
Reporter (French) - Fabrice Uzan
Reporter (Russian) - Marina Yaloyan
Reporter (Austrailian) - Sarah Backhouse
Reporter (Vietnamese) - Susie Vu
Reporter (Koreatown) - Mason Rhee
Reporter (Hong Kong) - Qin Zhu
Drag Queen Poet - Tony T.L. Young
Snake Girlfriend #1 (Snake Dancer) - Jade Wu
Snake Girlfriend #2 - Amanda A. Anderson
Snake Girlfriend #3 - Ji Hyun Moon
Snake Girlfriend #4 - Star Yoo
Snake Girlfriend #5 - Jenny Slaydon
Snake Girlfriend #6 - Apple House
Snake Girlfriend #7 - Ingrid Coree
Snake Girlfriend #8 - Marylin Hebert
Snake Girlfriend #9 - Qin Zhu
Videographer - James Chean
Still Photographer - Nash Choi
Hooker - Jillian Difusco
Drunken Man - Tommy Le
Motel Owner - Edwin A. Santos
Child Adam - Aaron Scott
Child Eve - Gloria Carrasco
Child Snake - Chance Stroud
Vietnam Buddhist Nun #1 - Fung
Vietnam Buddhist Nun #2 - Feng
Bar Customer - Don Glut


Crew

Director/Producer - Young Man Kang
Writers - Young Man Kang, Tony T.L. Young, Rick Phillips
Executive Producers - Seung Jae Choi, Kimmarie Johnson, James Chean, Tomiko Lee
Co-Producers - Edwin A. Santos, Aaron Pugliese
Associate Producer - Jungklay Dae Seo, Chul Hoon Sung
Director of Photography - Sang Jin Han
Camera Operator - Nash Choi
Gaffer - James Chean
Casting Director: Tim Colceri
Production Designer/Prop - Tony T.L. Young
Editor - Chul Hoon Sung
Costume Designer - Kay Park
Costume Designer - Mason Rhee
Sound - Avi Garg
Boom Operator - Dawn Cooper
Music Composer - James Hopkins(Voiceless)
Vocal Singer - Joanna Dalin
Visual Effect Supervisor - Marky Kang
Key-makeup/Hair - Coco Yuon
Makeup/Hair - Ji Hyun Moon
Makeup/Hair - Sharon Kim
Makeup Artist - Kiyomi Fukazawa
Assistant Director - Max Chang
2nd Assistant Director - Dawn Cooper
2nd Unit Director - Moo Jung Kim
2nd Unit Director of Photography - Byung Hee Choi
Still Photographer - Clinton H. Wallace
Publicity Photographer - David Edwards
Production Assistant - Alexander Yi
Production Assistant - Minki Kim

Catering - Diane Timmons & Impeccable Taste Catering



Eve - Kelly Hamilton


Adam - Jourdan Lee Khoo, Bartender - George Thomas


Eve, Snake - Freddie Milligan


Snake Girlfriends - Jade Wu, Qin Zhu, Apple House


Snake Girlfriends - Star Yoo, Jenny Slaydon, Ji Hyun Moon


Snake's Party

Eve
Set
Snake Dancer - Jade Wu
Snake Girlfriend - Star Yoo
Lilith - Paula Labaredas
Drag Queen Poet - Tony T.L. Young

 


Snake's girlfriends


Snake's Temptation - Cast & Crew


Set



Snake's House

Photo by Clinton H. Wallace PHOTOMUNDO INTERNATIONAL

SPECIAL THANKS

Korean Cultural Center
KBS1 - Korean Report
LA Casting.Com
Diane Timmons & Impeccable Taste Catering
Justin Kim & the Modern Gallery
Tim Colceri & Full Metal Improv
Tae Sung Kim & Intercrew
Mark Smith
Hee Suk Lee & BCD Tofu House
Lisa & Nash Choi
Jae Chang & FantaVision, Inc.
Reman and Sayid of the Hollywood Studio Inn
Vietnam Temple
Ellen & Eric Enterprise, Inc.
Rock Riddle - APS: Hollywood Sucesses
Demian Seo
Jeong Mee Park
Don Glut - Frontline Films
Gardena Theater
Justin Han - Print Depot
Annie Hong - Flower World & Wedding
Korean Daily
The Korea Times
Sports Seoul USA
Korean American Motion Picture Association





Part 2: Cain & Abel

In the Bible, Adam and Eve was exiled from the Garden of Eden. Cain and Abel were born from original sin. Cain murdered Abel, and became the first murderer in human history.
6000 years later in Korea, Adam, a former kick-boxing champion, makes a living digging graves and suffering from his past. He had accidentally killed an opponent at an underground boxing ring.
Adam falls for a girl named Eve, but her brother Cain disapproves of their relationship.
Cain, an underground kick-boxing gambler, manipulates Adam's brother Abel to fight in the ring. When Abel is killed by Muay Thai boxer Anthony, Cain loses Eve to an underground mob boss. Adam returns to the ring to avenge Abel's death and save Eve, but he has once again trapped himself in the game.

Location: Kwang Ju, Korea

Cast

Adam - Bruce Khan
Eve - Seung Min Kim
Cain - Eung Jun Lee
Abel - Chul Jeong
Muay Thai fighter - Anthony
Red fighter - Film Park
Boss Hwang - Hyoung Ho Hwang
Hammer - Yong Woon Cho
Eve's Son, Cain - Brian Kim
Gambler #1 - Jun Hyoung Lim
Gambler #2 - Sung Ryong Moon
Gambler #3 - Jong Pil Kim
Gangster #1 - Gab Yong An
Gangster #2 - Jin Ho Kim
Gangster #3 - Sung Ju Min
Gangster #4 - Sang Yong Kim
Gangster #5 - Seung Hyun Lee
Gangster #6 - Young Su Kim

 


Cain's Tattoo


Adam & Abel


Cain VS. Gangsters


Adam VS. Anthony(Muay Thai)


Adam & Eve

 

Production Note: Three action teams from Hollywood, Hong Kong and Korea combine into the production. From Hollywood, Korean-American Director Young Man Kang, martial arts champion Bruce Khan from Jackie Chan & Sammo Hung's action team, Muay Thai master Anthony and Korean martial arts choreographers Eung Jun Lee (Whasango 2001-Volcano High) and Cheul Hun Ham (MBC, Joongdok 2002, kamunion).


martial arts choreographer Eung Jun Lee & stunt team


Bruce Khan, Hammer, Young Man Kang, Anthony, Cheol Hun Ham(DP)

Crew

Director - Young Man Kang
Writer - Sung Ryong Moon, Bruce Khan & Young Man Kang
Producer - Bruce Khan, Yong Woon Cho, Jun Hyoung Lim & Jong Pil Kim
Martial Arts Choreographer - Cheol Hun Ham & Eung Jun Lee
Director of Photography - Cheol hun Ham
Editor - Cheol hun Ham
Production Designer - Yong Woon Cho
Music Composer - You Lee Kim, Seung Hoon Baik
Sound Engineer - kim eui yong , lee soo
Assistant Directors - Mi Ju Sun, Ji Young Park & Eun Ran Cho
Camera Dept. - Byung Kyung Moon & Ji Hoon Lim
Sound Dept. - Ah Jong Yoo & Tae Chan Park
Still Photographer - Dong Gil Kim
Make-up Artist - Ji Sook Yang, Hyang Mi An
Tattoo Artist - Hyun Myung Park
Art Dept. - Eun Soo Park
Script Editor - T.L. Young

Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0391282/combined

Kung Fu Cinema Article: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0391282/miscsites

Daum Cafe Community(Korean):
http://cafe.daum.net/thelasteve

 

Part 1: Eve's Secret

Somewhere in the future, man has devolved into savages and roams the wreckage of a post-war wasteland. These bizarre but majestic warriors live in the deserts of Death Valley and voraciously search and fight for who may be the last woman on earth. Her name is Eve and the winner becomes the new Adam. But what is Eve's secret?

Location: Death Valley, USA

Cast

Adam(Monk) - Bruce Khan
Eve - Melanie Jean
Lucifer(Chainman) - Chris Torres
Beelzebul(Monkeyman) - Kerry Wong
Belial(Catman) - Stephanie Cheeva
Asmodeus(Hornyman) - Lloyd Hizon
Mammon(Coolman) - Samuel Yu
Leuiathan(Nunchakuman) - Jungklay Dae Seo
Behemoth(Blindswordmen) - Reuben Langdon
Death Valley Goddess - Melanie Jean
Priest(Buddha) - Lloyd Hizon



Monk

Bruce Khan : Monk

Bruce Khan is a four-time world champion titleholder in the World Korea Hapkido Championship, having claimed his first title at the age of twenty-two. He holds a 4th degree black belt in Hapkido and black belts in numerous other styles including 5th Dan in Korean Hwal Bup, 4th Dan Korean Karate, and 4th Dan Korean Kyeoktooki as well as being a certified sports massage therapist.

An alumnus of the prestigious Seoul Action School, Bruce worked as a fight choreographer on a number of projects in Korea and Hong Kong before being invited to join Sammo Hung's stunt team, Hung Gar Ban as performer and choreographer in Jackie Chan's latest Hong Kong Actioner Highbinders. Bruce help to design a number of key action sequences performed by Jackie himself.

Bruce is currently based in Los Angeles where he continues to pursue his acting and stunt career, having appeared in a number of TV shows and Video Game productions he recently performed in Encore's video game version of Daredevil, the Man without Fear, tied in to the Fox feature to be released in February of 2003.


Monk


Monk & Buddha


Monk & Buddha


Chainman, Monk & Buddha

 

Melanie Jean : Eve (Future)

 

Kerry Wong : Monkeyman

KERRY WONG brings innovation and diversity to ACT through his knowledge of the martial arts. An enthusiastic practitioner of various fighting styles, Kerry Wong began his training at the age of 10. His formal martial arts education consisted of Kyokushin Karate, Shotokan Karate, Taekwando, Wushu, Capoeira, and Chinese Boxing. As his knowledge increased, Kerry decided to take a step towards a career which would best utilize his martial arts expertise.

In 1998, Kerry co-founded ZeroGravity (www.zgstunts.com), with the help of Tony Chu and Greg Wong. ZeroGravity was created to bring the most innovative style of fight choreography together with unique martial arts encounters. After realizing that such a style existed in Hong Kong, ZeroGravity dedicated their efforts into learning, and eventually emulating, the Hong Kong style of action made popular in today's action films. And because of the vast knowledge of various martial arts, the fight choreography offered by ZeroGravity is unique, creating a style they can call their own.

Kerry is currently based in Los Angeles, leading the ZeroGravity South Division (Tony Chu leads the North Division). While learning everything he could about acting, directing, cinematography, and anything else about film, Kerry encountered ACT. ACT acquired Kerry Wong as a student at first. After realizing what he and ZeroGravity had to offer, ACT made Kerry one of their own, and brought in ZeroGravity as a martial arts talent pool.




Chris Torres : Chainman


Chainman, Chris Torres


Chainman, Chris Torres

Stunts - filmography
King of the Ants (2003) (stunt double)
Latin Dragon (2003) (utility stunts)
King's Guard, The (2000) (stunts) (uncredited)
Absolute Force (1997) (stunts) (uncredited)
Mortal Kombat (1995) (martial arts demonstration) (uncredited)

Actor - filmography
Medallion, The (2003) .... Henchman Machado
King's Guard, The (2000) .... De La Cruz
Shootfighter: Fight to the Death (1992) .... Shootfighter ... aka Shootfighter (1992)

Reuben Langdon : Blindswordmen

Reuben Langdon is a Los Angeles based producer, actor and stuntman. He was crash coursed in Asian action performance when he landed a regular role on the Japanese superhero TV series B-Fighter Kabuto, known in the US as the Beetle Borgs. From there, he relocated to Hong Kong and worked on various Hong Kong films some of which include, Jackie Chan's My Stunts, Gen-Y Cops/Metal Mayhem, as well as Jackie's latest epic fantasy adventure Highbinders, to be released October 2003. As Jackie and other Hong Kong talent become more closely affiliated with Hollywood productions, Reuben relocated again to the US, where he appeared in Martial Law and Disney's Power Rangers, and has performed and designed a number of motion capture shoots for interactive video games, including Star Wars Jedi Knight II and Encore's Daredevil, the Man without Fear, tied in to the Fox feature film to be released February 2003. Reuben played the part of Daredevil in the game.

He is cofounder of Just Cause, a production company dedicated to raising the profile of Hong Kong style action in every aspect of the entertainment industry, pursuing the creation of TV series, movies, games, and other media on both sides of the Pacific. Currently in pre-production are Cherry Dynamite, a Japanese TV series about a trio of martial arts wielding women crime fighters, and Messengers, a live action thriller from the writer of the Japanimation cult hit TV Sires, Ghost in the Shell. Just Cause has a number of other feature film, TV, and interactive projects in various stages of development.

Stephanie Cheeva : Catman

Stephanie Cheeva came to LA in 1996. Being born and raised in Bulgaria, she had to learn how to speak English, before she could join and graduate the "Joanne Baron & D.W. Brown" school of acting. Since then we've seen her in "The Ultimate Game", "Martial Law", "Nash Bridges", "VIP", "Good Versus Evil", "Longshot", "Last Call", "The Fine Art Of Persuasion", "Tequila Express", etc. She's been in a Pontiac-Sunfire National Commercial and the Freeserve-Internet Commercial.

What's the appeal? The catlike eyes, pouting lips, high cheek bones mixed with a beautiful physique and jumping kicks that will knock most people's heads off? Or is it something else? Strong faith, unbreakable spirit, gentle heart, a true warrior passionately fighting her battle towards excellence with joy and perseverance, that inspires all who know her. "The camera loves Stephanie", says producer Bedo Manukian.


Jungklay Dae Seo : Nunchakuman


Nunchakuman

 


Director Young Man Kang in KwangJu, Korea (May, 2004)

Young Man Kang: Filmmaker's Biography

Young Man Kang studied fine arts at Hong-ik University in Seoul, Korea. In 1994, Kang moved to New York City where he studied film at The New School. In 1996, Kang moved to Los Angeles and continued his film career working as a director for a television commercial production company. In addition to his fifty-plus commercial credits, Young's 1999 claymation short entitled 'Image of Korea' was distributed by Big Film Shorts and released on DVD by Quickband/Warner Brothers.

In September 2000, 'Cupid's Mistake' marked his feature film directorial debut at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theater in Los Angeles followed by a second screening at the Pioneer Theater in New York City in August 2001. 'Cupid's Mistake' set the record in the Guinness World Records for least expensive feature film at $980.00.

Mr. Kang's short film, 'Toilet Lesson' was the Official Selection at Tromadance 2001. Both of Young's next films, his second feature film 'First Testament: CIA Vengeance' and the documentary, 'Haitian Slave Children' premiered in Los Angeles 2001.

'First Testament: CIA Vengeance' won the Special B-Movie Achievement Award and 3 Nominations at The 2002 B-Movie Film Festival in New York and released on DVD in 2004.

'Haitian Slave Children' received 'Best Effort Documentary' at the 2001 Jamerican International Film Festival and took the Silver Remi Award in the WorldFest Houston 2002.

Mr. Kang's third feature is the sexy romantic comedy 'Soap Girl'(2002). This third effort won the Audience Award at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. 'Soap Girl' also received notice as the Official Selection at the Riverside International Film Festival 2003. 'Soap Girl' opened in Hollywood at the Fairfax Laemmle Theater and Gardena in December 2002.

On tour, 'Soap Girl' heads for the Lone Star State in January appearing at the Border Theater in Mission, Texas, January 18. The sexy comedy then sails all the way out to Hawaii to appear at the Wallace Theater in Honolulu, February 14, 2003.

'Soap Girl' was rated one of the '10 BEST UNSEEN FILMS OF 2002' and received Five Stars in 'Film Threat.' More than any other film to date, 'Soap Girl' has created internet controversy and debate.

Young's fourth feature was the supernatural mystery 'Death Valley Diary'(2004).

An epic film entitled "The Last Eve", Mr. Kang's fifth feature, has won the "Best Action Feature Film Award" at the 2005 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
"The Last Eve" is an epic film consisting of three different short films using Adam and Eve from the Bible as motifs.

'The Last Eve' was rated one of the '10 BEST UNSEEN FILMS OF 2005' and received Five Stars in 'Film Threat.'



Cast & Crew
Reuben, ymk, Bruce, Kerry, Aiko, Klay, Stepanie, Melanie, Sam, Lloyd


Eve(Melanie Jean), Director(ymk) & Monk(Bruce Khan)


Lloyd, Melanie, Chris, ymk, Bruce & Aiko


Bruce Khan, Lloyd Hizon & ymk


NEWS

 

CULTURE NEWS Update : Oct 13, 2005 KST 18:57

"The Last Eve" Wins Award at New York International Independent Film Festival

An epic film entitled "The Last Eve" directed by Young Man Kang, who is based in Los Angeles, has won the "Best Action Feature Film Award" at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, which just recently closed.The festival, which was launched in 1993, has been taken in a road show format to four different cities in the United States, including New York and Los Angeles, screening about 300 films each year."The Last Eve" is an epic film consisting of three different short films using Adam and Eve from the Bible as motifs. Kang made headlines in 2000 when he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as "the film director who had distributed a film made with the smallest budget to American movie theaters" by producing the feature film "Cupid's Mistake" (1999) with a mere 980 dollars, or about 1 million won.

Film Threat
filmthreat.com

THE LAST EVE



THE TEN BEST UNSEEN FILMS OF 2005

by Phil Hall
(2005-12-20)

1. THE LAST EVE Young Man Kang¡¯s brilliant reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve legend audaciously imagines the story in an avant-garde triptych spanning the post-apocalypse, a Korean underground fight circuit and the L.A. hedonism orbit. A wealth of stunning imagery, an endlessly original screenplay and a strong ensemble (particularly Chris Torres as the demon Leviathan) makes this an invigorating masterwork.

 

 

REVIEWS

Film Threat
filmthreat.com


THE LAST EVE



2005, Un-rated, 88min, Young Man Kang Films  (8/24/2005)

Reviewing films is the journalistic equivalent of diamond mining: you have to dig through layers upon layers of muck before you find a gem. And after some excessive digging over the course of the year, I can boldly state that I¡¯ve found a diamond unlike any other.


The film is ¡°The Last Eve¡± and this can be described as the world¡¯s first avant-garde theological martial arts love story. Taking the story of Western civilization¡¯s first eviction recipients and spinning it across a bizarre variety of unlikely landscapes, the immensely gifted filmmaker Young Man Kang has brought forth a production which is so astonishing and original than it is impossible to compare it to anything that has ever been made.


¡°The Last Eve¡± is actually a trilogy of short tales which gives imaginative new interpretations to the Adam and Eve story. The first story is ¡°Eve¡¯s Secret,¡± which takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape. An ill-timed comet has turned the Earth into a barren landscape, leaving Adam and Eve to start the human tale all over again. There is a third person in an enigmatic hooded priest, whose presence is not entirely clear. Satan, naturally, wants to make mischief and stop Adam and Eve from procreating, so he sends seven martial artist demons to kill them. But the demons all want to possess Eve and they fight among themselves in fatal competition. The surviving demons, a chain-swinging Lucifer and a blind swordsman called Behemoth, due battle with Adam. Yet the prize of Eve comes with a surprise that Adam neither expects nor desires. Yet another surprise visitor shows Adam that the post-apocalyptic world may be a lot happier than he anticipated.


The second story is ¡°Cain & Abel,¡± and the action is switched to contemporary Korea. Cain is now Eve¡¯s sister and Abel is Adam¡¯s brother. Adam works as a gravedigger; he used to be the star of the underground martial arts fight circuit, but he landed a fatal injury which numbed him to the activity. He is training Abel to become a professional fighter. Adam wants to marry Eve, but Cain (who orchestrates the underground fights) wants to lure Adam back into the ring. This happens when Abel is killed during one of those clandestine matches. Adam gets revenge and the girl, but loses something in the process.


The third story is ¡°Snake¡¯s Temptation,¡± which takes place in Los Angeles. Adam, Eve and Snake were raised by a priest in an orphanage. Adam and Eve kept their virginity and are now engaged to be wed. Snake, being the bad boy that he is, has his own harem of hotties who seem to lie around his pool all day sipping wine and dropping Biblical double-entendres (Delilah, Jezebel and Salome are among the naughty girls). Snake does his best to tempt Eve, while Adam views Eve¡¯s betrayal with a visit to Lilith (yeah, she¡¯s not in the Bible, but some folks insist she belongs there).


¡°The Last Eve¡± is such a weird movie that one is tempted to classify it along the lines of classic weirdness such as ¡°El Topo¡± and ¡°Begotten.¡± Both of those films had religious elements to them, but they seem pale and conventional when compared here (¡°The Last Eve¡± also lacks the pretension and plodding which those earlier flicks carried). The religious aspect of ¡°The Last Eve¡± is clearly idiosyncratic ? there is a strong Buddhist visual element present, and New Testament quotes are sliced in via intertitles. And at least one significant New Testament figure makes an astonishing guest appearance (I will not give it away ? you just won¡¯t believe it when it happens). Throughout the film, the liberties taken with the Adam and Eve story (especially in relation to the secret of the first story) will raise eyebrows and drop jaws among some viewers. Yet the film is not blasphemous in the least. There is a deep sense of piety, albeit within a mix of wild action and pulse-raising seductiveness.


¡°The Last Eve¡± is so rich is visual imagery and so beautifully framed for its martial arts sequences that it becomes a truly hypnotic experience. Don¡¯t expect CGI-thick flights of fancy, as seen in the wuxia epics that play in American cineplexes. This is gritty, old-school martial arts with kicks to the chin, swords slicing across the throat, and human dynamos in full fury. The Adam of ¡°Eve¡¯s Secret¡± is Hapkido champion Bruce Khan and he is simply an amazing physical presence. Wandering the barren wasteland dressed as a monk and carrying a tattered paper umbrella, he appears to be the essence of introspective passivity. But when the demons come calling, he is a high-kicking human gyroscope who spins into a violent rage who leaves blood and broken bones in his path. In ¡°Cain and Abel,¡± the final duel between Adam (Bruce Khan again) and the Muay Thai fighter who killed Abel (Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom) is a masterwork of muscular athleticism and subtle camerwork. The camera never engages in trick photography or hyperactive editing to make the fight more interesting: it is cinema verite view as two brilliant martial artists go into a stunning duel to the death.


The casting also helps bring this marvelous work to full fury. Special kudos are in order for Freddy Milligan as Snake (he embodies the slick charm which the original Eden reptile must have possessed), the three gorgeous Eves (Melanie Jean, Seung Min Kim and Kelly Hamilton in the respective versions ? it is easy to see why Adam would go bonkers for her), Tomiko Lee as a rather strange fortune teller consulted by the L.A. Eve, Reuben Langdon as Behemoth (the seemingly sickly swordsman proves you should never judge a person by his appearance), and Chris Torres as the chain-swinging Leviathan. Torres in particular stands out as a force of personality and nature ? he is a professional stuntman who is best known for filling in on behalf of less-than-nimble stars, but he is such a vibrant physical presence that he should be starring in his own films rather than substituting for others.


¡°The Last Eve¡± is the latest endeavor from Korean-born, Los Angeles-based Young Man Kang. For the past several years, he has been creating a series of fascinating films which span genres from romantic comedy (the $980 feature ¡°Cupid¡¯s Mistake¡±) to action/adventure (¡°First Testament: CIA Vengeance¡±) to girl power empowerment drama (¡°Soap Girl¡±) to documentary (¡°Haitian Slave Children¡±). With ¡°The Last Eve,¡± has reached a career peak with a complex, challenging and utterly original work of art. From its intelligence, daring and intensity, ¡°The Last Eve¡± proves Young Man Kang is one of the great filmmakers of today¡¯s cinema. He is a genius, and this film is a cult classic in the making.

 



THE LAST EVE(2005)

The Last Eve is an ambitious and challenging independent production that attempts to bring together three interpretations of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, diverse martial arts action, and Korean and American culture, all while set to an apocalyptic story that unfolds in reverse order. It's occasionally bewildering and uneven, with its small budget and good intentions struggling to smooth over a range of rough spots. But there is something quite appealing about this martial arts movie that dares to artistically step beyond convention.

Although there is a singular thread that runs through the whole film, it's divided into three chapters that could very easily stand apart as distinct short films. Hapkido champion Bruce Khan stars in the first two chapters, but this and each chapter's relevance to Adam and Eve is about all that connects them.

To break it down as easily as possible, the earth has been struck by a massive comet that has wiped out all of humanity save for three people. One is a hooded priest, whose presence I must admit remains a mystery to me. Then there is Adam (Bruce Khan), the last man and a warrior monk who defends Eve (Melanie Jean), the last woman, from a small group of demons sent to earth in human form by Satan to stop humanity from being reborn. The outcome of the fight is clear, but the fate of humanity is left to interpretation for we're either presented with a demonic trick played on mankind or a reference to The Crying Game.

Of special interest in this first chapter is some fun martial arts choreography courtesy of Reuben Langdon and a number of fellow stunt actors who fill out the roles of the demons. This includes Zero Gravity member Kerry Wong, Chris Torres, and Stephanie Cheeva. Visually, these scenes are less of a supernatural sort and more of a crude Mad Max variety. The editing in this segment borders on experimental, but unfortunately things like two or three scene fades crudely overlaid looks a little too much like public access channel video effects and does nothing to enhance the film. There's also no dialogue, only some narration. When paired with the film's most unusual and arguably disturbing imagery, this makes it difficult to settle in to the film.

The middle act, which reinterprets the Biblical murder of Abel after Adam and Eve are exiled from Eden, is the film's high point visually and action-wise. The story makes an abrupt shift to an earlier time in modern-day South Korea where Adam (again Bruce Khan) is now a gravedigger and underground cage fighter, while Eve (Seung Min Kim) is the woman he hopes to marry. Trouble arises when the figurative serpent, in the form of Eve's brother Cain (Eung Jun Lee), loses Eve in a wager with a gangster and gets Adam's brother Abel (Chul Jeong) killed in the ring. To win her back, Adam must defeat the gangster's Muay Thai champion.

The production values and visuals of this Korean segment are substantially better than the American ones. It should come as no surprise though for the guys in charge of the camera and stunt work are Cheol Hun Ham and Eung Jun Lee, both veterans of Korean action cinema with Jungdok (2002) and Volcano High (2001) respectively to their credits. It serves no purpose to the story, but Eung Jun Lee is featured in a fantastic fight with his stunt team where he uses a blunt training sword to beat a group of gangsters to a pulp. Imagine any group fighting scene in Korean films like My Wife is a Gangster or Arahan, but without wires or excessive editing. The featured cage match between Bruce Khan and the Muay Thai fighter is just as well executed with Khan showing off some terrific legwork. His performance, and he's a solid actor too I might add, really makes me wish that the art of Hapkido was featured more often in action films.

The final chapter brings us to America, shortly before the comet strikes. From here on, Young Man Kang leaves the martial arts action behind and focuses on the temptation of Eve. Adam (Jourdon Lee Khoo) and Eve (Kelly Hamilton) appear to be grown residents of a Catholic orphanage and soon to be married. Enter the serpent again, this time as Snake (Freddie Milligan), another grown resident who has embraced worldly vice. Jealously leads him to tempt Eve into having a little premarital sex. She in turn does the same to Adam and both are cast out of Eden, shortly before the world comes crashing to a halt.

Kudos to Young Man Kang for attempting such a unique film. Certainly, the martial arts movie genre can benefit from more creative and challenging productions that push boundaries, although this is obviously more than just a genre movie. It's amazing to see so many diverse elements come together in a single, independent production. Most impressive is how Young blends Korean and American culture without resorting to any of the pitfalls that generally plague Hollywood productions that attempt the same. The Last Eve is definitely a major advancement from the director's last action-oriented film 1st Testament CIA Vengeance (2001), an ultra-low budget and convoluted thriller with mammoth pacing and bad acting issues.

The Last Eve has a few issues of its own, chief among them is a lack of visual continuity. The three chapters look like they were all shot with different crews and different equipment, while under different circumstances. In fact, this is somewhat the truth and its just hard to hide on a limited budget. I could also complain about the loose story structure and overall lack of clarity with regard to the film's message, if there is any beyond restating the tragedy of humanity's Biblical fall from grace. But the film falls far enough into relative artistic expression territory that viewers should ultimately form their own conclusions. However, I'll go ahead and put forth my own and state that The Last Eve is an intriguing, if overly ambitious art film, given its means. It's like a rough draft of some daring work of potential genius in progress. But it also challenges convention, makes you think, and delivers some great martial arts action, which makes the film worth investigating and Young Man Kang worth keeping an eye on.

- Mark Pollard

 

Official Site
www.youngmankang.com/thelasteve.htm

Contact:
Young Man Kang Films
P. O. Box 761081
LA, CA 90076
email: youngmankang@gmail.com
website: www.youngmankang.com


2004 Copyrights. The Last Eve. Young Man Kang Films