Michael Jai White finally gets his own action movie franchise

Black Dynamite

Officially speaking, we write these stories about the movie business to impart important news. All those stories we’ve written over the past few months about Joss Whedon’s blockbuster hit The Avengers were driven purely by your collective interest in that film. The movie pulled in nearly $1.5 billion worldwide, so it seems a pretty safe bet that our readers have some interest in hearing news related to the film and its possible future implications.

That said, we also have a bit of an ulterior motive in mind when we sit down to write one of these things. Ideally we’d like you to walk away from our work having learned something, or with a newfound desire to seek out entertainment that perhaps you had never heard of before.

Why the above disclaimer? Well, it’s great news for fans of Michael Jai White that the man will finally be given the sort of full-featured action movie franchise he has so obviously deserved for years, but it’s also an opportunity to expose White’s work to a larger audience. Many of you have likely never heard of the man, and that’s a shame given that he’s the closest living, youthful analogue we currently have to the larger-than-life badass action heroes of the late 1980s and early ’90s. Imagine a more athletic, martial arts-focused Sylvester Stallone, who can actually act quite well, and you’ve got a decent idea of what Michael Jai White brings to the table.

Alright, proselytizing is momentarily over. Let’s get right to the news. Courtesy Indiewire:

White has signed on to star in what is expected to be an action movie franchise from Moonstone Entertainment, titled Codename: Falcon. The franchise will revolve around a former marine named John “Falcon” Chapman, described as a “dark anti-hero driven by guilt, who will destroy himself unless given something else to destroy,” making him “a useful weapon-of-last-resort for the foreign ministry.”

The first film in the franchise, titled Favela, is currently in pre-production.

As for the plot behind Favela, Moonstone Entertainment offers the following, PR-approved synopsis blurb:

… Favela sees Chapman traveling to Brazil to hunt down his sister’s killers, in the process discovering an underground world of drugs, prostitution, and police corruption ruled by the Japanese mafia.

That sounds like a pretty standard action movie plot. Something like a hybrid of Commando and any number of John Woo’s Hong Kong classics. Normally that wouldn’t reach out and grab our attention, but again, we’re big fans of Michael Jai White’s work, and his being given a franchise to lead is long overdue.

Listen, we don’t have all day to impress upon you the idea that Michael Jai White should be standing alongside Tony Jaa in your mental roster of our modern world’s most entertaining celluloid heroes, so instead we’ll do this the quick way. When you next fire up Netflix, stream the film Blood And Bone. Many will claim that Michael Jai White’s best work was in the 2009 blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite, and they’d be absolutely correct, but Blood And Bone is a perfect depiction of the man’s acting talents alongside his inarguable skill at making on-screen violence look both spectacular and horrifically visceral. Blood And Bone fits neatly into the B-movie subgenre, but it’s amazing how many modern big-budget action movies are annihilated by comparison to this flick. If nothing else, it should offer ample evidence that Michael Jai White is a fellow to keep your eyes on.

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