Archive for the ‘Martial Arts’ Category

The Super-Kumite: Bloodfist

Monday, June 17th, 2013

tn_bloodfistRound 1, final competitor, Team Blanks vs. The Red Fist Club

“I didn’t come here to box. I gave that up a long time ago. I came here to find his killer.”

I’m not sure, but could BLOODFIST be the first movie to include sports achievements in the credits? Because it lists the star as DON WILSON – WORLD KICKBOXING ASSOCIATION LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION.”

(Rob Kaman, Billy Blanks and Kris Aguilar get similar credits.)

Of course, we call him Don “The Dragon” Wilson for short, and he stars as Jake Raye, a retired boxer who works pathetically giving faked fight demos for bullied kids at Hal & Jake’s Self Defense in the Valley. He coulda been a contender or whatever but he selflessly donated his kidney to his half brother Mike (Ned Hourani, BLOOD CHASE, BLOOD HANDS, BLOOD RING, FIST OF GLORY, ETERNAL FIST, LIVE BY THE FIST). With only one of those things he could die if he went back in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)

Equal Impact

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

tn_equalimpact

vhsThis week in my column at DAILY GRINDHOUSE I take a look at yet another VHS-only martial arts oddity, it’s called EQUAL IMPACT. Hats off if any of you have heard of it. This one stars one-and-done tae kwon do practicing twin brothers Joe and Jay Gates, plus Robert Z’Dar and Joe Estevez. And as I was watching it I was surprised to realize it was filmed in Seattle.

see my findings over on Daily Grindhouse

The Super-Kumite: Talons of the Eagle

Monday, June 10th, 2013

tn_talonsRound 1, Final Bout, Team Blanks vs. The Red Fist Club

“You’ve got steel balls, but no brains.”

How’s this for a weird twist on the fighting tournament movie: mismatched undercover narcotics agents Billy Blanks (USA) and Jalal Merhi (Canada) train real hard to enter an underground fighting tournament so they can impress crime lord Mr. Li (James Hong). It works, he hires them, and the tournament is never mentioned again.

Up until that point it has all the traditional tournament movie touches, though. The older mentor is Master Pan Quing Fu, a hall-of-famer martial artist who helped the Chinese government catch 23 Triad leaders in the ’60s, appeared in SHAOLIN TEMPLE with Jet Li, and is playing himself in this movie! We know he’s a good dude because when Mr. Li tries to “pay repects” to him with a bunch of cash Master Pan burns it with a torch. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Master of the Flying Guillotine

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

tn_motfgRound 1, Bout 3, Team Video Games vs. The Men From Hong Kong

Fung Shang Wu Chi is the Darth Vader of the Man Chu Ching Dynasty. He’s a blind man who lives on a mountain disguised as a Buddhist lama, but he works for the Emperor, seeking out the last remaining rebels who support the former Ming Dynasty and decapitating them with the flying guillotine, a scientifically questionable but cinematically unparalleled weapon that’s basically a ring on a chain. When he tosses it over someone’s head it unfolds into a basket with a circle of blades inside, then he yanks it and it’s off with their head. And it’s ingeniously designed because the whole thing can fold up into small cylinder about the size of a pocket umbrella. If these things were easier to master then women could keep them in their purses instead of pepper spray, that would be pretty cool. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Pushed to the Limit

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

tn_pttltn_Super-KumiteROUND 1, BOUT 2, AMERICAN KICKBOXERS VS. THE WOMEN

“They’re gonna be punchin where you’re at. Don’t be there.”

I wasn’t familiar with Mimi Lesseos until I was trying to find more tournament movies and I discovered this one. Actually, her wrestling name “The Magnificent Mimi” sounds kind of familiar, maybe I heard of her back in the late ’80s when she was a contender for the AWA World Women’s Championship belt (which she never got, except in a 1989 Playboy spread). After appearing as The Magnificent Mimi, chief rival to the heroine of AMERICAN ANGELS: BAPTISM OF BLOOD (1989), Lesseos decided to pull a Tom Laughlin and make her own independent action vehicles. She started by writing, producing and starring in PUSHED TO THE LIMIT (1992). (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: American Kickboxer 1

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

tn_americankickboxerSUPER-KUMITE, ROUND 1, SECOND BOUT: AMERICAN KICKBOXERS VS. THE WOMEN

IMDb may list this Cannon production as AMERICAN KICKBOXER, but the DVD cover and more importantly the title screen call it AMERICAN KICKBOXER 1. So going by the DIE HARD 2 precedent that is the official title as far as I’m concerned. Part 1 is the story of B.J. Quinn (John Barett, GYMKATA), middleweight kickboxingstill_americankickboxer_title champ with a 35-1 record. In the opening fight he takes on the young up and comer Chad Hunter (Keith Vitali, REVENGE OF THE NINJA) and wins with an allegedly accidental elbow. Because of B.J.’s arrogant talk on the way to the ring and the dishonorable means of victory I honestly thought this was the introduction of the bad guy. But I guess he’s supposed to be one of those lovable asshole characters, or possibly just a guy at a low point who needs redemption or whatever. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

tn_bloodsport2ROUND 1, FIRST BOUT, BLOODSPORT SEQUELS VS. TEAM BOLO

“You’re a true warrior, Alex.”

The hero of the original BLOODSPORT, Frank Dux (played by the icon of tournament fighting movies, Jean-Claude Van Damme) trained in ninjitsu as a kid after stealing a valuable katana and then impressing its owner by having second thoughts and returning it. As an adult he’s in the Army, but goes AWOL to enter the dangerous underground Kumite tournament.

The replacement hero for the Van-Damme-less part 2, Alex Cardos (Daniel Bernhardt, the Swiss martial artist and model who had been in a Versace commercial with Van Damme) is also a dirty sword-stealer, but this guy does it as a grown man, has no regrets and doesn’t try to give it back. He goes to a party at Pat Morita’s house, steals the sword from upstairs and makes a lunch date with a lady he was flirting with named Janine (Lori Lynn Dickson) as he flees. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Bloodfight

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

tn_bloodfightROUND 1, FIRST BOUT, BLOODSPORT SEQUELS VS. TEAM BOLO

aka FINAL FIGHT

“Stop him! You mustn’t let him keep practicing martial arts! Please! Please! Ryu is not a fighter. He’s a warm and caring person!”

BLOODFIGHT is from Japanese director Shuji Goto (FIGHTING BLACK KINGS) and star Yasuaki Kurata (HEROES OF THE EAST, EASTERN CONDORS, FIST OF LEGEND) but it’s a Hong Kong production featuring Bolo Yeung and Simon Yam. I rented it on a triple feature called Great Martial Arts Movies, and it had a warning about the picture quality not being up to modern standards, so I expected the worst. But other than being cropped it looked fine.

I also thought it might be dubbed, and there’s not any dialogue for the first ten minutes or more, so I was in suspense. Turns out it’s one of the rare Hong Kong movies that was actually filmed in English. Some of the actors sound like they’re just repeating it phonetically, so it’s hard to understand some of it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stranglehold

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

tn_strangleholdThis week in my Daily Grindhouse column I check out STRANGLEHOLD, another Cirio H. Santiago picture. This one is from 1994 and stars Jerry Trimble, who you may know as the guy who fights Dolph in front of the welders in THE PACKAGE. It’s an UNDER SIEGE type scenario where delighted-with-himself terrorist Vernon Wells has taken over a chemical plant while Trimble was doing security for a visiting congresswoman.

Take a look.

The Kick

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

tn_thekickTHE KICK is a family friendly Thai martial arts movie from director Prachya Pinkaew (ONG BAK, TOM YUM GOONG, CHOCOLATE). It’s not as ridiculous as POWER KIDS (arguably that’s a bad thing) but way less cheesy and broad than MUAY THAI GIANT (definitely a good thing). It’s less gory than POWER KIDS but otherwise schews a little older, with a teen brother and sister getting alot of the focus.

Despite being a Thai production it’s about a Korean family who train and perform Tae Kwon Do. The father has alot of resentment about a loss at the Olympics long ago, just as he had to abandon his dream in order to raise a family. Because of this he puts alot of pressure on his family to train hard, especially his older son, who would rather pursue his dream of STEP UP style dancing. Dad doesn’t even want him to go to a big audition to be a dancer for “Dream Entertainment.” The poor kid has to make a deal to master the impossible “Tornado Kick” to even be allowed to pursue dancing at all. (read the rest of this shit…)