Rutledal Recommends – Enter the In3Dragon

Hello dear reader, it has been 11 years but we are back. I’m dusting off the old column, but unlike previously it will not necessarily tie into an upcoming theatrical release or theme. Instead it might just be about some cool stuff I’ve watched recently, or like this one; a spotlight column. Because allow me to introduce you to my new favourite actor/writer/director/producer/cinematographer/casting director/production designer/art director/storyboard artist/supervising sound editor/visual effects supervisor JJ Stomp. At least these are all credits he’s given himself on his first feature film John Kincaid Unleashed.

If you, like me, love a vanity project then you are in for a treat with the films of JJ Stomp. From the classics like On Deadly Ground, Miami Connection, GetEven and the Billy Jack films, to modern efforts like Fight of Fury, The Room, Double Down and the rest of Neil Breen’s filmography the vanity project has always been one of the most enjoyable action sub-genres. There’s just something fascinating about the ego stroking action film written and directed by its star.

Elephant Stomp

So who is JJ Stomp? Well, luckily he has a very informative IMDb biography that he’s almost certainly written himself. Born Sonny Phoumy Syonesa in Laos in the late 1960s or early 1970s, he does not divulge this, JJ immigrated to the US in the 1980s. From there it just lists various fighting styles he has practiced, his hall of fame inclusions, and his two published novels; Elephant Stomp and Asian Assassin, until it just casually drops one of the craziest lines I’ve ever read: “The Elephant Stomp novel is the most important to him, as it is dedicated to his martial arts style and also dedicated to his wife Jenny B. Syonesa who passed away in a house fire on July 28, 2012.” Talk about burying the lead.

With his short stature, thinning hairline and preference for ridiculous sunglasses he could easily be described as a cross between Leo Fong and Tommy Wiseau. Despite that description I need to make one thing clear and that is that JJ Stomp is the genuine article. I can not vouch for any of his hall of fame claims, but the man can move and he’s showing it off in these films.

John Kincaid Unleashed

John Kincaid Unleashed

John Kincaid Unleashed is the first of JJ Stomp’s films and follows, you guessed it… Agent David Lee. Agent Lee runs an orphanage/martial arts school in the California desert, with his uncle. Most of this is information I was only able to decipher after watching the movie three times and making sure to turn on the subtitles. Because with a sound mix that leaves a lot to be desired and a fluid, non linear storytelling reminiscent of a Terence Mallick film John Kincaid Unleashed it’s not the simplest film to follow. And who is the titular John Kincaid? Well, the movie doesn’t really seem too concerned with telling us that .


Instead it is mostly flashbacks to JJ meeting and falling in love with his late wife. All these scenes take place exclusively near a swamp/lake where they meet when JJ saves her from drowning and then they hang out at a bench near the same lake eating different cakes for all their dates. They have a daughter together, but at no point is the wife and daughter in a scene together, or a pregnancy or child mentioned. Also, the actress playing his wife is roughly 30 years younger than JJ. However the film has supposedly won “… Oscar Award; The Best Love Story Feature Film”, again according to JJ’s IMDb page that he’s clearly written himself, so clearly I’m just not a man of romance.


One hour into the film we’re finally rewarded with a flashback giving us some crumbs of information about who John Kincaid is, and at the same time he breaks free from prison… or just emerges from the sewer, it’s hard to tell. From here on out the film is a blast. Kincaid comes across a man listening to music in the woods and dances along to the music before breaking the man’s neck, and then throwing himself into a river and laughing like a maniac while being dragged away by the current. He does a hostile takeover of the orphanage and then makes JJ fight his army of martial artists that he suddenly has. This is the showcase part of the film and it delivers some solid fights.

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With a weird non-linear structure, weaving between flashbacks, dream sequences and the present without any kind of clear distinction, John Kincaid Unleashed becomes the lucid vision of a madman.

the boss man

The Boss Man

Chuck Liddell’s body double is accused of skimming from the top, no joke Joseph Lee Michael was Chuck Liddell’s body double in the Denise Richards vehicle Altitude, and gets fired from his job as the driver of the titular boss man. JJ Stomp is hired to be the new driver for Mr Prudhomme, played by Ray La Rochelle who looks like Mick Jagger’s dad, but who can surprisingly throw a kick. He is part of the ensemble that JJ Stomp seems to have built up in between John Kincaid Unleashed and this. Both La Rochelle and Joseph Lee Michael seem to be part of some South California martial arts vanity project circle as they appear in at least two JJ films, Shuny Bee’s Fight of Fury and Craig Robert Bruss’ The Match-Stick Flame, that is some vanity project holy trinity. Why am I talking about this instead of the movie? Well, the sad fact is that this film is dreadfully dull for the first 45 minutes at least. A lot of scenes of JJ and his wife eating dinner, or them going on double dates with Mr Prudhomme and his wife… zzzzzz.

Chuck Liddell

Finally a rival businessman hires Not Chuck Liddell to take out Mr Prudhomme and we can get to the action. I hope you like stock footage and VFX plugins because there is a lot of that and it is very noticeable. In fact there isn’t really that much good to say about The Boss Man to be honest with you, it is JJ Stomp’s most linear film and suffers from an absence of his more indulgent auteristic touches. It might seem weird to even include it, but the man has only made three films and you should definitely watch all of them. The climax will still melt your face off, and it contains one of the funniest cuts I’ve seen.

It just offers very few standout moments. If this was the first JJ Stomp film you came across you probably wouldn’t go back for more. But it is still worth watching in the context of JJ’s oeuvre and to see how important it is for JJ to be completely unrestrained. Which brings us to…



JJ Stomp’s masterpiece. Having learned from John Kincaid Unleashed this film opens with a narration setting up the plot and explaining the lore of the In3Dragons. Does it help? Eh… Million of years ago there was a dragon who had three sons and they were known as the In3Dragons, for some reason, and then one of the sons, Diamond Dragon, decides he wants to go to earth and live as a human and there he fathers a child before going back. Fast forward to present day and the other son, Gold Dragon, is going down to earth to find his brother’s son and challenge him to battle.

Gold Dragon

Gold Dragon enters the body of a street bum in California and just starts doing bum fights. He’s discovered by an underground promoter and from there he’s basically doing JCVD’s Lionheart and fighting in backyards until he can gain enough notoriety to fight the earth’s greatest champion. This leads him to a talk show, hosted by Missing in Action 3 bad guy Aki Aleong playing himself here, and watching this scene must be what having a stroke feels like. The whole thing feels awkwardly improvised and there is so much mismatched stock footage.

stock footage

Who else is on the show? Why it is the earth’s greatest champion, of course played by JJ Stomp. The Gold Dragon immediately challenges JJ to a fight, sensing that he is the son of Diamond Dragon, and JJ in the end reluctantly agrees to do a comeback fight. From there on out the film is perhaps my all time favourite martial arts vanity project film. It has everything you would want. It showcases JJ’s skills and moves, it is completely devoid of logic and has one the most unhinged third acts I have ever seen. Plus JJ also has his love interest brag to another character about how good JJ is at fucking. Just perfection.


The films of JJ Stomp is basically what it would be like if Tony Jaa had been 54 instead of 27 when he made Ong-bak, if he had categorically refused to work with anyone who had set foot on a film set before, and if everyone else he fought was also in their 50s. The only people in JJ’s universe who look remotely like they are younger than 50 are his children and his love interests.

JJ got the moves


Poo Facing Italian Warrior

This is a short film with a little too much plot set up for what is actually a pretty impressive fight scene shot in a room covered by mirrors, yet you never see the camera or crew reflected. Of course it is most notable for JJ having named his character Poo. Before you ask; yes, JJ manages to give himself some on-screen sexy time even in this 18 minute short. The video has embedding turned off, or you’d be looking at it right now, but you can watch it on YouTube here.

He also has a, as of yet, unreleased film called Elephant Stomp, where is character is also called Poo, that looks incredible and he has over a dozen titles listed as “in production” on his IMDb. Bring them JJ, bring them all. I am ready to live in your world.

All three films can be seen on either Tubi or Plex for free.