ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

"The Martial Arts Kid" is a film that is co-headlined by martial arts/action-movie legends Cynthia Rothrock and Don "the Dragon" Wilson, who have been the leads in an incredible 75 films between them.

It features over a dozen real-life martial arts world champions and grandmasters.

Yet the heart of the film - and what will make it relatable to a sizable demographic - is it's quartet of young, rising stars.

This includes Jansen Panettiere as the titular "Kid", Robbie; Brandon Tyler Russell as "best friend" Lenny; Kathryn Newton as the love interest and Matthew Ziff as the bully who torments the "Kid".

Russell had plenty of positive things to say about his fellow members of the film's "Core Four".

"Working with Jansen, or as I call him "Franco", was so much fun", says Russell. "He's a super cool and funny dude. He's wicked talented and also is an easy person to get along with."

"I knew Jansen prior to working on the film, so that made our chemistry very natural", he continues. "Jansen played Robbie very well. He fit the character perfectly and brought a very funny nature to the character as well as portraying it naturally."

Russell also says he enjoyed working with Newton, whose character Rina is at the center of the film's love triangle.

"She's a very easy person to get along with and she's extremely natural which helps the flow of the scenes go very nicely", Russell says. "It really helped that Kathryn and I knew each other long before we filmed this, too! She played the role of RIna very well in the film. She brought a certain lovability to the character, which was genuine."

Russell had nothing but positive things to say about Ziff's performance as Bo Whitlaw - the film's bully - either.

"Working with Matthew was really cool. He's a very nice, friendly person and he loved being on set which made the energy around him really cool. He made it a fun environment to be in", says Russell. "He's a wicked good martial artist and the fight scene he had with Jansen was super awesome! He brought the 'rough'n'toughness' to the character of Bo while (staying) a good-natured person off camera."

"The Martial Arts Kid" is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.


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