ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

One of the best things you can say about Brandon Tyler Russell is that he managed to play a memorable character, Lenny, in "The Martial Arts Kid".

This is no easy task, when you consider that in a film about martial arts, obviously co-headliners Cynthia Rothrock and Don "The Dragon" Wilson are going to get a lot of lines, scenes and media attention.

Then, of course, there is the titular "Kid", played by Jansens Panettiere. Oh, and his love interest, played by Kathryn Newton. Plus, of course, Matthew Ziff as the scene-stealing bully in the film.

In a martial arts-based film, there are over a dozen real-life World Champions and Grandmasters who get significant screen time or cameos - including Eric Kovaleski, Jesse-Jane McParland, Nassim Lahrizi, Olando Rivera and Christine Bannon-Rodrigues.

There are also plenty of lovely ladies to keep an eye on, from Natasha Blasick to Tara Cardinal to Marissa Jade.

It would be easy for a lesser actor to be overshadowed by all of that.

Do it says something about Brandon Tyler Russell that he manages to make his character of Lenny, the best friend of the "Kid" in the film, memorable.

"I just really wanted people to feel for Lenny. I wanted them to see he was a boy with a story", says Russell. "I think his story, however, is whatever the viewer decides to make it."

Playing the best friend of a boy being bullied was key for Russell, who feels the film's anti-bullying message is what gives it it's heart.

"The message in it is really important", says Russell. "I think it sits so well with people because it's about bullying and reflects on the topic of bullying as well as loving your family."

"The Martial Arts Kid" is scheduled to hit theaters this summer.


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