Before there was Keanu Reeves as John Wick, there was Mark Dacascos as Father Luke.

One of my favorite straight to video titles of the 1990s was a title called Sanctuary. It had such a great storyline, that if it were done today, it would star a bunch of A List actors, open to huge  box office and critical acclaim. Instead it went straight to video in 1993 and has been largely forgotten…until now!

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Who is Mark Dacascos?

Mark Dacascos in John Wick 3 (2019).

Sanctuary stars Mark Dacascos as Father Luke, a priest in a small parish in Chicago. When his good deeds get his picture in the local paper, some people from No Such Agency come calling to kill him. Turns out Father Luke has got some skills and once went by the name of Kovak, who was a member of a group of children from tragic circumstances that were trained since childhood to become assassins. When Kovak grew up, he becomes one of their foremost operatives. A mission goes wrong and when he refuses to kill an innocent, he becomes a liability to the organization. They turn on him he is forced to go underground. His solution: The Catholic Church.

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Sanctuary (1997)

The movie begins with Kovak giving a reckoning to church officials of what just happened and how he came to the priesthood. As a child, Luke watched his mother get murdered by a mugger and his parish priest explains to him how the church has always been a place of sanctuary to those in need, which explains why he comes back to the church. That and to also atone for his sins.

Only now, the head of his former covert organization is running for high political office and Kovak has evidence of the botched mission that would derail his candidacy and must be eliminated. Cue the gunplay, martial arts and the lair he set up for just this day and that will prove extremely problematic The final scene is one of my favorite scenes in action cinema and set up a sequel that sadly never came.

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Mark Dacascos is about to become relevant again as the only assassin left that can go toe to toe with John Wick in the upcoming Parabellum. Dacascos has been training martial arts since he was eight years old starting out in Kung Fu and traveling the world picking up Wushu and Capoeira along the way. Before achieving a small measure of fame as The Iron Chef on the food network, he has been making action movies since 1990.

Check him out in the all time action classics Only The Strong, where he plays a Capoeira doing former soldier battling gangs in the schools of LA or Brotherhood of the Wolf, where he plays a martial arts doing Iroquois Indian hunting a beast in France during the revolution. This guy should have been the next Seagal or Van Damme but stardom eluded him.

But he has always been one of the steadiest working actors in the industry appearing in such TV shows as The Crow, Chicago PD and Hawaii 5-0. Hell, he was even on Dancing With The Stars.  All this and dozens of straight to video action movies in an industry that he helped found in the 1990s.

All I can say is John Wick had better watch his back!

This author wishes to maintain his secret identity goes by the name of his favorite comic book hero Iron Fist. When he’s not collecting comics from his childhood, watching action movies or raising his three kids, he works a a police officer, trains Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Kali and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Needless to say, he takes poor martial arts or sloppy gun handling skills personally. And he lives and trains in Chicago.

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