If you haven’t seen any action video Eric Jacobus has made, I beg of you to stop reading this right now and search them all out. I’m waiting. Ok, you’re done now? I hope so, because the man who brought you such amazing YouTube videos such as his Tekken IRL series, Rope-A-Dope 1 and 2, How to Fight like Kratos and so many more has expanded one of my favorite short films I watched last year, Blindsided. The original short film was 12 minutes and is the beginning of the newly expanded story and they must have answered my internal begging, because after I initially watched the original film, all I wanted was more of Jacobus’ blind martial artists and swordsman Walter and to see him have further adventures. Luckily for us, Jacobus and director Clayton J. Barber (Netflix’ Iron Fist) answered the call and made Blindsided: The Game into a 45 minute short film with a bigger set piece, some more insane fighting and even some intense poker playing.
Walter Cooke (Eric Jacobus) is just a blind man who loves to make apple pies. We see him in his daily routine, making a pie with love and care. When he goes to drink a glass of milk, it’s spoiled and a little bit of mayhem ensues and he has to go to the neighborhood shop where he’s friendly with the owner, Gordon (played by veteran action star Roger Yuan) to buy some more apples and a bottle of milk. This is when Nico (Nicholas Verdi, who also was the director of photography) and his men come to collect money from Gordon, who owes a lot to loan shark named Sal (Joe Bucaro, another great veteran stunt performer). Walter leaves, but comes back to give Gordon money back for too much change and this is where we see Eric Jacobus shine in a wonderful action scene that can rival most action films today.
And ultimately, that’s what I love most about Jacobus’ style of action. He mixes subtle comedy with hard hitting action, mixing sharp moves, swordplay and fancy footwork, which reminds me a lot of Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Beautifully choreographed and fast and smooth, everyone is on point, especially when knife play comes into account. They even mix in a way to possibly defeat Walter, by throwing off his heightened hearing, because Nico figures out throwing a bunch of trash and cans around him makes Walter a bit disorienting. Ultimately he defeats Nico and his goons and this is where the original short film ended.
We then get to see Sal and his compound, and see while he’s a loan shark, he’s also a gambler, loving to play poker while gambling over the phone on fights. We meet some other goons, his right hand man Ace (played by producer of Netflix’ Altered Carbon and The Matrix Reloaded) and Luke (played by swordmaster and fight coordinator Luke LaFontaine). As you can see, Barber and Jacobus know who to showcase in their indie action darling. Ultimately we get a showdown between Walter and Sal, where Walter just wants to play some poker with Sal to pay off the debt Gordon owes. Of course cheating occurs and all hell breaks loose and it’s a whirlwind of action set pieces that are just breathtaking and had me on the edge of my seat. I don’t want to mention too much because I always think going into an action film without known every single beat of the fighting makes it fresh and then you want to show it to everyone you can.
Eric Jacobus, as I said earlier, is someone to watch out for. Heck, he’s been on my radar for a few years now and I can see him headlining series of action franchises if there was anything right in the world. This one alone makes me think he’d be great in a longer form blind man film, ala Zatoichi or even the fun Rutger Hauer film Blind Fury. He exudes a charisma on the screen, just by cracking some jokes and being badass in between. But what makes this film stand out from a lot of other ones is the storytelling and the characters. It’s also a beautiful showcase for so many stunt performers, who I think deserve all the credit in the world for making action cinema one of the purest forms of entertainment.
It’s a story we’ve seen before, haven’t we? Someone being threatened by an evil force and the one person who has to do everything they can to stop it. Yet this has some inventive tricks and makes me just want to watch it again right this minute. Which I think I’m going to do. And you should as well. The film is on YouTube and please spread the word and have everyone screaming Jacobus’ name to action Hollywood, pronto! I heard the role of Wolverine is available…