Best Mark Dacascos Movies
Mark Dacascos is one of the most skilled fighters in the industry, but is too often overshadowed. Here are some of his best films.
Mark Dacascos has been around on our screens since 1989, playing mostly in films that required fighting skills which he has in spades. With over 80 parts in film, television, and even video games, the man has made his mark. His martial arts background is impressive, being the son of Al Dacascos, one of the founder of Wun Hop Kuen Do (WHKD) Kung Fu, he has been trained from a young age and it shows. Mark Dacascos is one of the most skilled fighters in the industry, something that shows through many of his roles. Here are our picks for the best Mark Dacascos movies.
Only the Strong (1993)
Early on in his career, but not exactly at the start, this film is one that helped put Dacascos on the map. Yes, he had done other work, but for most action film fans, this capoeira film really shows his talent as an actor and a martial artist. The film itself is entertaining and has a few interesting story points. It also helped bring capoeira to US audiences and give Dacascos a starring role that really fitted his skills and capacities. The film comes and goes on streaming, but it’s more than worth checking out. It also helps show how the actor evolved from his early roles to his current roles.
Crying Freeman (1995)
We could have gone with Double Dragon or The Redemption: Kickboxer 5 as his next one, but really, Crying Freeman is where it’s at and it led to another one of his best films, Brotherhood of the Wolf. This one is a comic book adaptation that is beloved by some while the rest still have no idea it exists. Directed by Christophe Gans for whom this was a first feature, the film is all about the titular character played by Dacascos and his turn as Yo Hinomura aka Freeman is excellent here. While the film is very 1990s-dated, the performance is on point and the martial arts on display from Dacascos show that he really can fight and make it look fascinating at the same time. His work here is strong and mesmerizing while the film itself is a fun watch. This is also the film where he met his wife, Julie Condra.
Here, Mark Dacascos plays an enhanced human, a man who is a protype and on the run, so many are looking for him and wanting him either back under their control or dead. He pairs up with a random dude to go survive in this seemingly random film for the actor. Once watching, one can really see why he took the part as it’s fun and it’s a bit insane, bringing a lot to the screen. Dacascos’ performance carries the movie and makes it more than worth a few hours of time to watch it. Drive recently received a re-release with all the bells and whistles on Blu for collectors, showing that the film has legs and is still quite loved by action film fans. It’s definitely one of the best Mark Dacascos movies ever.
Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) (2001)
Possibly THE Mark Dacascos performance here. In this period piece, Dacascos plays Mani, an Iroquois whose tribe was decimated by the French waging war on the locals in what is now known as Quebec. As he was the translator for the lead of the film here, the Chevalier de Fronsac, he was spared and now has traveled to France with him where they have been called to the Gevaudan to elucidate a mystery around a beast that kills the locals. This film, on its own, is a must-see, it’s a period piece, an action film, a horror film, a fantasy film, and so much more. Here, Dacascos gets to show that he can act and that he is one badass dude. His first fight sequence against two ladies armed with metal claws is absolutely stunning. The part has clearly been built around him and his capacities and he is given the space to just be. The film as whole is not about Mani, but his presence is very much felt throughout, and the film would not have been as impactful without him. From this and 1995’s Crying Freeman, it’s clear that pairing Christophe Gans with Mark Dacascos leads to great cinema.
Maximum Impact (2017)
This one seems to have gone below the radar for many people. It’s a different type of part for Dacascos and he plays it very tongue-in-cheek and like a parody of action stars taking themselves way too seriously. His work here is just quirky in the right way and his fighting style shows throughout. It’s a fun film to watch and one with some of the oddest casting choices in an action movie, yet they all somewhat work. Dacascos is the bad guy here, one that is a cinematic cliché and who acts in such ways that he can only be described as being extra. The character is silly, but he also shows how some folks in the industry take themselves way too seriously. For those who have followed his career for years, this won’t come as too much of a surprise and his fans should enjoy watching him go over the top and maybe chew a bit of scenery. This film is very much a throwback to the direct-to-video days of the 1980s and 1990s and is one of the least known Mark Dacascos movies, but also one of his best.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
The current obsession of action fans, the John Wick series, has made it a habit of bringing on actors who both can act and fight, people with very particular skills, so seeing Dacascos in this film was not a surprise. He is brought in to be one of the villains taking on Wick, but they don’t just bring him on board here, they introduce him as a chef, which can only be a nod to his time as the Chairman on the US version of Iron Chef. His character has some development, but not too much, his presence is purely to give Wick a worthy opponent and he does a great job at this. He brings his martial arts skills, his comedic timing, and his ways, making it a part that is fully his.
Of course, his career is still booming, so more excellent parts are coming from this man of course. What do you think are the best Mark Dacascos movies?