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.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Rage of Honor (1987)
I could've sworn I'd done this before, but when I saw our buddy Ty at Comeuppance Reviews had covered it recently, and I went into my archives to see what I wrote, the realization hit me: I hadn't done it yet. Fortunately Netflix Watch Instantly had my back, and I was able to rectify this mistake. So without further ado, it's Shô time. (That was bad, wasn't it?)
Rage of Honor has Mr. Kosugi as a detective at the Drug Investigative Bureau who also happens to have major ninja skills. His buddy is captured and worked over pretty bad by a drug lord, and Kosugi swears revenge. Problem is, his boss doesn't want him to get involved, so he has to quit, and fly down to Buenos Aires with his girlfriend and pretend to be on vacation. Now she's in danger, and he has to save her and take down all these baddies. No problem for a too sweet ninja like Shô Kosugi.
This was a fun time. Was it good? I don't know, but it had some great fight scenes, Kosugi was solid as usual, and the rest of the action was on point. It was a little all over the place though, especially with Kosugi fighting tribesmen in the Patagonian jungle and later ninjas in camouflage. Also, Kosugi himself never dons a full ninja suit, which is an extreme disappointment. On the other hand, if watched in a group, this is an excellent bad movie night option. Sweet Kosugi ninja action-- even if he's never in a ninja suit.
This film seemed to get the Shô Kosugi paradigm right, though not completely right. His English, especially in 1987, was very poor, which is fine, but why make the man do scenes with heavy dialog? Fortunately there weren't many of them, and many more great fights. He totally gets after it, fighting in Miami Vice-style Member's Only Jackets or tuxedos, doing huge flips, tossing throwing stars and shooting crossbows. In one scene near the end, he's in an abandoned factory using everything he can find off the ground, like old saw blades and other hardware. If you came for Shô Kosugi, then Rage of Honor is the right place.
I mentioned above that Kosugi gets into it with some tribesmen. That's not entirely accurate. Genocide in self-defense is more like it. He wipes out two-thirds of them as they attack him for whatever reason. This is one of the great things about a film like this, its kind of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, where they just toss in a bunch of dudes with painted faces throwing spears and arrows at our hero, and he takes them out with his sword. It makes absolutely no sense, yet is given to us with exactly no irony whatsoever-- just the way I like it.
Was this a ninja bait-and-switch based on the cover? Perhaps. Yes, Kosugi's character is technically a ninja, but are throwing stars enough? I don't know, I need the whole ninja attire, the mask and the feety pajamas. It's weird how some movies do this, the ninja bait-and-switch, as if ninjas are something that will sell us on renting it. I mean, is it that hard to just put the damn ninjas in the movie? Was this made by some guy that wanted to go out on a limb and keep Kosugi out of the ninja outfit, and then after the fact the film company was like "whoa, we can't sell a Shô Kosugi where he doesn't dress like a ninja! We need to rectify this!" Come on, just call the damn costume designer and get Kosgui a damn ninja suit.
Speaking of wardrobe, check out that too sweet Munsingwear Penguin polo this dude is rocking. Vintage 1980s right there. I remember in the mid 2000s the Munsingwear Penguin was rereleased as Original Penguin, and the polos were like $60 a pop. I never bought one, but if you watch Cheap Seats, you'll see the Sklar brothers in them quite a bit. Seeing one here makes me want to go out and get one and pair it with a blazer like this.
I don't know if I'd go solo on this one, but the Netflix Watch Instantly availability makes it a great and easy choice for a bad movie night feature. Get together with some friends, and just laugh at the silly parts and love the great Kosugi fight scenes.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093820/