THE SET UP
As a young impetuous boy in the Philippine countryside, DANE, learns chess from his dad in front of their bamboo hut, rice patties and soaring mountains. Now in present day American and in his 20's, Dane toils away as a dishwasher in a Filipino restaurant owned by a tightfisted manager who keeps the passports of all his immigrant workers. Dane surreptitiously scores some pharmaceuticals that he mails back to his sick dad in the Philippines.
Dane plays chess with a local older Mexican man, SAMMY, then runs off to work. Turns out "work" is fighting in underground MMA tournaments that his restaurant boss and other business owners organize to bet on. Dane's friends, FERNANDO and ALIEK, watch him lose a close battle to another foreign-born foe.
That's when ICE agents raid the tournament and take everyone into handcuffs. Aliek manages to find a way out and they escape.
Dane longs for a more stable life and discusses moving somewhere else with his girlfriend, JESSIE. But the restaurant is sponsoring his VISA so they're a bit stuck. Dane goes with Aliek to find some work and living money since the restaurant is now closed. It turns out Aliek is back into dealing drugs. Dane protests but Aliek says he had to bargain their way out of the ICE raid and this is the only way they can get enough cash to buy their freedom. Aliek goes into an abandoned building while Dane waits in the car.
Gun shots. Dane discovers Aliek dead at the drug deal. Having had enough, Dane and Jessie decide to lay low for a while in another state.
Then the arrogant ICE agent who raided the fight, OCTAVIUS, appears and holds Dane responsible for the debt that Aliek negotiated. The problem is Dane only has 24 hours to come up with $20,000.
Dane finds Aliek's remaining drugs and pulls one last delivery to a psycho drug dealer named LORD BYRON at his home located way out in the countryside. Byron's place is a junkyard on the outside, rusted relics of days past litter the yard. But inside it's a luxury, albeit garish display of Lord Byron's wealth. He likes to live in luxury but doesn't want to tempt anyone so his palace is hidden amongst the junkyard city.
It turns out, what Dane thought were Aliek's drugs is actually a hard drive. They plug the hard drive in and see video footage of Aliek getting Octavius to reveal that he forges immigration papers in order to bring fighters into the country to compete in the underground fighting ring where rich men can gamble on their lives. When the fighters fall out of favor Octavius orders them to run drugs for him or else he'll deport them.
Lord Byron freaks out at the inflammatory, and potentially dangerous, video and goes nuts on Dane, threatening to turn him in to Octavius. Dane shoots Lord Byron and his bodyguard in self-defense. He then scrambles with Jessie to find the money in the hideout.
The deadline passes and Octavius comes to Dane's apartment to collect. He beats Sammy and tortures Fernando to find out where Dane went. Fernando succumbs and tells them Dane went to Byron's.
Octavius and his ICE agents arrive at Byron's place to collect from Dane one way or another. Dane and Jessie are out-numbered and out-gunned. They sneak around the sprawling compound evading the several ICE agents hunting the grounds.
Can Dane fight for, or bargain for, their freedom? Will the detectives who up and take everyone in? Or will Dane and Jessie get the short end of the stick and thrown into jail as their immigrant dreams run into the American fist of corruption?
Why This Is An Event Movie
In today's volatile immigration climate there are no immigrant heroes. Dane is an immigrant hero who fights against corrupt ICE and Customs and Border Patrol agents for his freedom. He believes he came here legally. But that is up for debate. And if he did, can the corrupt agents destroy his evidence?
This is not pro-illegal immigration. It is anti-corruption. This movie does not idolize someone who knowingly breaks the law. This movie is about someone who believes they came here legally to provide a better life for their family but are up against corrupt immigration enforcement. This is happening right now in our world.
None of those underdogs taking on a corrupt system have a hero. Until now.
An Action Chessmatch
Combat Palace is unique amongst action movies in that the hero must win with his brains along with his brawn. Numerous times he's faced with grave circumstances. The choices of his next move flash quickly before his eyes.
The audience gets to see these choices and makes a decision in their own minds They essentially play along with Dane as the movie progresses.
This unusual storytelling technique gives the film a visual vibrancy and energy that sets it apart from other films without taking away from the narrative momentum.
The closest comparison to this technique is this edited montage from "Run Lola Run," a movie that played with different versions of the same incident. This particular edit cuts together 3 versions of the same flashforward scenes that the film utilized in different acts of the movie. The flash forwards in COMBAT PALACE would be quick narrative scenes one after another. This sample is a close proximity.
Proposed Male Lead Actors
DANE, 20's, is a hard-working immigrant who came to American to send money and medicine back to his ailing dad while also pursuing the American dream. He keeps both his mind and body sharp while he deals with the tough life of a poor blue-collar immigrant. Both sides of his brain will be put to the test when he and his girlfriend are cornered.
Proposed Female Lead Actors
JESSIE, Dane's girlfriend, 20's, is supportive and tough through her boyfriends trials and tribulations. A bit pampered, she's not use to this rough and tumble life but she loves her man and when the chips falls she's willing to throw down with the best of them.
Proposed Villain Actors
OCTAVIUS is everyone's worst nightmare: a cocky tough-as-nails corrupt ICE agent above the law with no moral compass.
Proposed Supporting Actors
LORD BYRON is the psycho drug dealer who's everyone's hilarious drinking buddy, unless he decides to kill them. Wildly unpredictable, bi-polar and foul-mouthed, his penchant for extreme violence is well-earned and well-feared.
UNCLE SAMMY is Dane's Mexican mentor and protector with a deep distrust of law enforcement. Yet he plays a vital role in Dane's fate.
THE PALACE OF COMBAT
The setting for the film is an interesting contrast of visuals. The exteriors are set in a junkyard that's seemingly right out of a post-apocalyptic movie. This speaks to the gritty urban nature of the underworld figures who inhabit this world. With random relics of the past strewn about anything goes; A million places to hide but a million places the bad guys can jump you from.
The interiors of The Palace are exactly what a crazy over-the-top megalomaniac would build if he had unlimited money and unlimited don't-give-a-fuck. Garish, cheesy, unrestrained, but oddly fun. These interiors give the setting plenty of visual eye-candy for the audience to enjoy in between the butt-kicking action.
Martial arts/action fighting films are a very popular genre that can achieve large returns on a low budget. The Raid: Redemption and You're Next are contained action films with great stunt sequences that resonated with audiences. John Wick and its sequels have star power but the brutal fighting action shows the massive appeal that action done right has.
AMERICAN FIST continues this staple of knockdown drag out fights in an enclosed structure with suspense, thrills and bone-crunching action. On top of that, there's a relevant tale of corruption that makes the concept resonate with today's headlines.
Writer - Director - Producer
Walter Boholst will be the writer, director and producer of AMERICAN FIST. Walter is an experienced creative who wrote/directed/co-produced the horror feature film "Voodoo Possession" with Danny Trejo that was distributed in the US by RLJ Entertainment and is available worldwide including territories in Europe, all of the Middle East and all of Latin America. His film distribution background includes 20 years specializing in film/TV distribution and foreign sales. His business consulting clients and employers have included RLJ Entertainment (distributor), Dean Devlin's Electric Entertainment (production, distribution, foreign sales), XYZ Films (foreign sales) and The Film Arcade(distributor). His previous industry stints include Assistant Story Editor for MGM Pictures, as a reader for John Davis' Davis Entertainment (Predator, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and in foreign sales at Initial Entertainment Group founded by Graham King (The Aviator, The Departed).
See Walter's director reels, trailers and background by clicking here.