The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bloodfist II (1990)

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I've seen this one a few times, including on Spike in 2007, around the time I was starting the DTVC. They played all 8 over the course of a week or so. Somehow, this fell under the radar and I forgot to review it then, which I didn't realize until only a few months ago when I went to look for the post and it wasn't there. Oops. No one I knew had it, and Netflix doesn't carry it anymore, so I finally had to break down and buy it. This does mark the completion of the Don "The Dragon" Wilson Bloodfist Series for us here. Friends of the DTVC who have hit this one before us: Movies in the Attic, Cool Target Action Reviews, and most recently, Ty at Comeuppance Reviews.

Bloodfist II is the only actual sequel, so to speak, in that Wilson plays the same character he did in part 1. Long story short, we have an Enter the Dragon paradigm, with Wilson thinking he's going to save a friend in Manilla from a gambler he owes money to, only to find he's drugged, shackled, and on a boat to an island to fight. "Mr. Lu, I think I'd like to leave your island." After a scuffle, he escapes into the water, comes back to the gambler's compound to get his fighter friends, and ends up captured again and fighting the gambler's 'roid heads. Will he prevail?

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This is something of a transitional picture in the Bloodfist series, because, on the one hand it has the Enter the Dragon paradigm, which makes it something of a tournament film like its predecessor, but really it's more like Bloodfists IV-VIII, in that it has that whole anywhere Wilson goes there's a potential ambush he needs to fight his way out of. Yes, Enter the Dragon is a classic, and as something of a remake, Bloodfist II doesn't do it justice; but as a low-budget Wilson martial arts actioner, it really delivers. This is a great time, something you and your friends can get a kick out of, and there aren't any dead spots or any plot to get in the way of your action.

This is one of Wilson's best. No training montages like the first one, nothing to get in the way of just a series of scenes of Wilson getting ambushed and having to kickass his way out of it. I don't know that there's another action star who plays more innocent guys that get ambushed by gangs so often. When you look at, say, Dolph or Seagal, they're usually cops or secret servicemen who go into dangerous places and fight their way out; but Wilson can't go to the corner store for a six-pack without someone trying to kick his ass. And every movie is like that too, it's just expected that the old man with the walker lurking in the background while Wilson is paying his mortgage at the bank knows karate and is waiting to try and kill him.

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Rina Reyes played Wilson's love interest/woman on the inside helping him out. She looks like a mix of Kim Cattrall and Lisa Bonet, which means she's really hot. She even rocks silver spandex, which can be very dangerous and unflattering on the wrong figure, but looks great on her. As far as I can tell on imdb, she still works, but mostly in the Philippines. Perhaps the best scene came when she and Wilson had their "moment". It was very 6th grade, how their hands brushed up against each other's, then they looked, asked with their eyes if the other meant that touch, and kissed with smooth jazz playing in the background. I guess they cut out the scene later on when Wilson passed her a note with the question "Be my girlfriend?" and two boxes labeled "Yes" and "No" underneath.

I always try to get my hands on a movie to watch it before I review it, even if I've seen it before, because I almost always forget great moments-- not that I don't forget them when I'm writing the review after having just seen it too! In this one, I had totally forgotten about a scene with Tim Baker at a gym, where Baker tells Wilson "I only talk to fighters when I train", which leads Wilson to jumpkick his punching ball off it's chain and into a sparring ring, hitting one of the fighters in the back. That's a gem that if I don't watch the film again I miss out on, and I'm glad I didn't.

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Baker was one of a few great members of the supporting cast, which also included Joe Mari Avellana-- not reprising his role as Kwong from part 1. One of the ones that was interesting was Richard Hill, pictured above, or Rick Hill for short. See where I'm going with this, Rick Hill same name as Deathstalker Rick Hill. In the biography section of the DVD, they actually make this mistake, showing the picture of the guy above-- the guy who was actually in the film-- but then running off the list of accomplishments that the other Rick Hill had had in the industry. How does that happen? Whose job is it to make sure they have the right Rick Hill? And does it really matter? Probably not, right? It kind of gives the DVD character.

For some reason Netflix doesn't have this, but you can buy it new or used on DVD from Amazon, so it doesn't really make any sense. Anyway, if you're into good ol' late 80s/early 90s bad action, this is right in your wheelhouse-- and if you're not, are you sure you have the right blog?

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099155/

11 comments:

  1. Great Review! I agree, this is one of Wilson's best movies.

    That is very cool that you have all the Bloodfist movies on your site!

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  2. Yes, and it only took me four years and 650+ posts to get there!

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  3. This one definitely looks like one of the better ones, so that's good. If you wanted to split hairs you could say you still need to review Bloodfist 2050, the one without The Dragon in it. It is directed by Cirio H. Santiago and stars Matt Mullins who is Johnny Cage in the new Mortal Kombat Legacy shorts, and has at least three visits to a strip club in its 75 minute run time.

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  4. Good movie and my site is back up in case you were concerned by the momentary shut down, what can I say I'm lazy.

    Anyway the best thing to remember is that Tim Baker (karate champion) was the worst actor in the movie, like he was awful, I mean he should've been shot for how bad he was. The Dragon had a big a mullet, the chick looked too much like my cousin for her to be all that hot but the fight sequences were awesome. Indeed the best ever in The Dragon's career. I think it's safe to say that now given that The Dragon is old and doesn't seem to do much kung fu anymore.

    The best line of this movie (and don't get me wrong I enjoyed it) was when The Dragon is captured and he says "Fuck you geek!" and another big flaw if I was counting technical is the lack of plot. Indeed the best example of such is how The Dragon escapes from captivity, then shows up and teams with the daughter then beats up some guards and gets captured again. Then before he is captured he gets caught he runs around some third world country fighting a bunch of thugs and then goes to a gym and fights more guys. This movie is probably the most plotless thing ever committed to celluoid. If those fight scenes weren't good the whole thing would stink on ice. Seriously. But thankfully it doesn't.

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  5. That's why I put the Wilson disclaimer in he first paragraph, because I do plan on doing 2050 at some point, but this was a big one just to get the Wilson Bloodfists out of the way. I think out of all of them you might enjoy this one best.

    Mr. Kenner, longtime no hear from. I did notice some weird goings on at your site as I was looking for your Bloodfist post. What happened, does Blogger clip a site that hasn't been used for a certain amount of time?

    "Fuck you geek!" was a great line that I had meant to mention in here but forgot, so I'm glad you brought it up. For me the no plot is a non-issue, because I'd rather have no plot, than a bad plot done poorly and adversely affecting the action, though I agree that if one goes the no plot route, the action has to be up to snuff, and luckily it was here. And I love your take on Baker. It seemed like he was some kind of ramped up caricature of an obnoxious guy.

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  6. Well the biggest thing is that something with my cookies is dislocated so for some reason there are hurdles to overcome to leave my awesome comments. Also I haven't seen Hatchet or Born To Raise Hell and hence I couldn't really contribute to the conversation.

    I'm fine with plotless action too, but like you know a movie like Cyborg,Invasion USA and Showdown In Little Tokyo really don't have plots so you basically have to make sure the action is good. Actually the director's cut for Cyborg has more plot but it's one of those things and I've seen it backfire like in the movie Escape From L.A, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and especially in the torture porn category like Saw sequels and Hostel. You know a movie is in fact plotless whenever the hero in question has to find an excuse to fight it out, or in Hostel's case half of the time is taken up with partying and sex. Typically most movies have a bare minimum which justifies the carnage and never gets away from it. Like Commando, Rambo 2 and 4, The Punisher 1 and 3 (2 has too much plot) Kickboxer 1, 2 and 4 and American Ninja 1-2. Even Universal Soldier comes close to plotless as it takes ahwile before Lundgren turns on Van Damme and the army unit but the revenge angle and the reuniting of feuds play enough into it to make it qualify as having a plot. Showdown doesn't because Dolph Lundgren does in fact look for vengeance but such doesn't exactly fuel the movie's odds. Like the way it does in The Punisher or the way the Vietnam post traumatic stress plays a part in Universal Soldier. Plus a telltale sign of such is how the bad guys find Lundgren's hut with no explanation, how Lundgren and Lee just happen to find two M16s in the truck that they know to hijack and of course that Tagawa would be there despite the fact that he could be anywhere. Whenever a movie like that has such loose ends, it tends to be plotless.

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  7. When you put it in the Saw or Hostel context I can see what you're talking about as far as plot goes, but Bloodfist II wasn't quite that bad. There was the faint plot from the Enter the Dragon paradigm which was enough to perpetuate things for me.

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  8. I too wanted to review all the Bloodfist movies but Netflix slowly but surely deleted them. I hope that means that they are scheduled for re-release on DVD soon. I know a lot of Corman titles that disappeared from Netflix later got released by Shout Factory. Here's hoping they'll release all of them in a box set.

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  9. [Comment that went missing during the Blogger outage:]

    thevideovacuum (http://thevideovacuum.livejournal.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Bloodfist II (1990)":

    I too wanted to review all the Bloodfist movies but Netflix slowly but surely deleted them. I hope that means that they are scheduled for re-release on DVD soon. I know a lot of Corman titles that disappeared from Netflix later got released by Shout Factory. Here's hoping they'll release all of them in a box set.

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  10. I hope so too, except that the movies are still available to buy new at Amazon, so I don't know... we'll see, because a re-release would be great.

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  11. +JMJ+

    The only Don "The Dragon" Wilson movies I've seen so far are Bloodfist and Bloodfist II, but I'll take your word on him holding the record for number of times his innocent character is ambushed by the bad guys. He totally has that vibe! LOL! The tone of his voice sometimes sells it, too: I had to look really closely at the scene when he confronts the taxi driver, because the way he said, "Why are you doing this?" sounded as if his feelings had really been hurt!

    I didn't expect to like Bloodfist II very much, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good the tournament scenes were. I'm no expert on martial arts, but even I could see that each fight had its own special character and was interesting. =)

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