Posts Tagged ‘Billy Blanks’

We live in the age of revivals which means we’re getting all the things we miss from our childhood: from The X-Files all the way to Twin Peaks. Now, unfortunately sometimes we get things back that we didn’t even want in the first place– but that’s life.

If you remember in the 90’s we were treated with mystical story of Shaq’a Kung Fu badassery (partially true, he did train with Billy Blanks ). The game was met with universal disdain, people cited  horrible controls, stock characters, and  non- creative backgrounds and today it’s firmly in Top 10 of the Worse games of all times. But now, more than 20 years later after a stealthy IndieGogo campaign in ’15 a new improved version of Shaq Fu, Shaq Fu: Legend Reborn is finally coming out on Nintendo Switch !!! Shaq even did all the motion caption himself.

 

“I’ve got nothing better to do…”

Now with this maybe we can even see the revival of Shaq’s movie career too, I mean he did bless us with hits like Steel, Blue Chips and Kazaam. In the meantime here’s a cool trailer for the game:

 

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We are all well aware of the existence of plenty Karate Kid rip-offs. Some are awful and some are just plain bad. As for Showdown you choose to which group this movie belongs, especially when you keep in mind that Billy Blanks headlines in this hilariously cheesy Karate Kid rip off, together with Brion James and ’80s synthesizer music.

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Ken Marks (played by Kenn Scott) is the new student at his new school in Phoenix. There he meets the girl of his dreams named Julie (played by Christine Taylor). Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend, Tom (played by Ken McLeod), who is not only possessive of her but is also a brutal karate expert. Sounds familiar? Not yet? How about now? Tom beats up Ken for talking to his bitch. Ken decides to drop his career of school boxing bag and, logically, takes self-defense course at school janitor Billy (played by Billy Blanks). Now here is the twist: Tom is learning karate at Lee (played by Patrick Kilpatrick), a sensei whose brother was killed by a rookie cop named Billy. Since then, as a punishment for himself, Billy has taken the most degrading job known to human – a school janitor. Ha! Now we get personal motive for rumble rather than fighting over some high school bimbo. Both Billy and Lee have their owns ways treating their students. While Blanks exploits Ken to do his own job (like scrubbing a toilet and taking out the trash) instead of himself, Lee is a complete maniac who yells at Tom and beats him up for the tiniest mistakes.

But Billy didn’t quite quit his police career (once a cop-always a cop). Using his old partner who’s still on the force, the two work together to bring down a full-contact fighting circuit organized by Lee that pits teenagers against each other for money. In the meantime, Billy doesn’t know that Ken has accepted a challenge to face Tom in this same arena. Bah today’s teenagers don’t have any respect or trust.

treningInsert some inspiring words here

Since the biggest part of the movie displays training consisted of scrubbing, blocking and spinning back kick, occasionally interrupted with Billy’s fighting scenes, we’ll skip to the end. Big fight in a pit takes place where Ken with a lot of luck manages to beat Tom. Revolted by defeat of his student Lee bust into the ring and starts beating the crap out of both Ken and Tom. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Billy appears and sensei vs sensei mega-fight can begin. The fight is rather hilarious with a racist touch when Lee starts whipping Billy’s back with his belt. At that moment even an opposite team started rooting for their janitor. With such wind to his back, Billy easily makes the sudden twist, wins the fight and arrest Lee. Delighted with such development of the situation students offer to Billy to become their new sensei. He gladly accepts it, gets crowned in the utility room and Ken finally gets someone to polish his spear.

usro seIt’s coming out!

Conclusion: Apart of this movie being an obvious ripoff of Karate Kid, it also looks to me like Karate Kid meets the Airbud (both got janitor as a guru). For a high-school martial arts flick this movie doesn’t have a lot of fighting. Instead there are several training montages, with third training montage that was just too much. Billy Blanks steals the movie together with always insane Patrick Kilpatrick. Christine Taylor’s character, despite her weak efforts, just remains to look like typical lightheaded high-school Bimbo.”Showdown” plays out more than just a repeat of “The Karate Kid.” Gibbs’s script combines elements from several completely separate genres and places them in one movie, the two most noticeable being the cop movie and the bullied-teen movie. It also aims to poke fun at the high school movie genre, but doesn’t quite succeed at this either. There are plenty of lame sight gags, the usual bullies, cliches, and even Brion James drops in as the stereotypical hard-nosed principal.

Billy Blanks is more famous as a successful Martial Artist, Thai Bo founder and Fitness Guru but he is also most importantly (for us) the BAD MOVIE MAKING MACHINE! His inability to act (probably tied to his inability to read- he actually learned to read at 40 and depended on his then wife for most of his life) coupled with his over the top facial expressions  and badly used athleticism, most often spent on ridiculous kickboxing production that could only get green lighted in the ’90.

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Here Blanks is a humble Karate teacher working with at risks kids in the ghetto. Unfortunately his dojo gets targeted by Yakuza- like organization and their champion Takamura and he barely menages to fend them off. That’s also not the last of his worries because one of his oldest student is starting to spend time in dangerous neighborhoods all in hope of scoring with some random stupid girl. He tries to set him straight but unfortunately the kid is just too much of a dork to ever listen to him. He goes out searching for the slutty girlfriend but Takamura and his men find him first and decide to use “drive by shooting” style rather than Traditional martial art moves.

Blanks arrives just in time to see it happening. And reacts as always- hilariously!

Blanks I’m not sure anyone hears you. YOU should be the one calling ambulance.

Completely out of his mind he gets beaten to a pulp but mysterious Martial Artist Matsumoto aka Mako finds him. As a former teacher for the dreaded clan he offers to train him to defeat James Lew (Takamura) and gets revenge for his student. Like any true Martial Art master in the 90’s Mako teaches him with a string of bizarre or downright stupid tasks like running with a mouth full of water or practicing his blocks while buried in sand.

The director managed to rip off both Rocky III and IV in one training montage!

Finally Blanks is all ready for some revenging. Unfortunately his incompetence again shines thru as Takamura’s men menage to steal Matsumoto’s granddaughter right before his eyes. Having no other choice he goes as planed and enters the corrupt fighting ring. And man does he look ridiculous doing so. He is so muscled up and oiled up that he looks like he will explode any minute now. Also his exaggerated “horse stance” doesn’t do him any favors either. And as much as I LOVE James Lew as a villain (he is only second to Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the film villainy) having a bad guy that’s much smaller then a hero is rarely a good strategy.

Now,after killing both Takamura and his boss  Hastishita and he finally returns to his ghetto dojo to find- his student alive and well after all. So- the kid actually survived and the whole ordeal was about nothing. Great work Billy, for real! He introduces Matsumoto to his students and I think we can expect him exploiting the kids for some other death tournament in no time.

Verdict: Now lets rewind- he didn’t even check if his freaking student had any pulse, he just ran to get some revenge and left him there to die,  and you know what- he managed to fail at that too. If the kid had really died blood would have been on his hands, not just Takamura’s- and all because he is a goddamn idiot!

This movie was originally to be a third sequel in the  horrible, horrible Karate Movie franchise No Retreat, No Surrender aka Karate Tiger. The fact that they changed their minds didn’t make this movie a whole lot better anyway.

As with any action film of the 90es era this one is a rip- off of Van Damme’s  Kickboxer and Bloodsport with boosted levels of craziness and sheer idiocy.It is also a combination of Chinese production, horrible American actors and cheap sets on Thailand- and with a combo like that you know you’re doomed from a start!

The movie starts with Jake Donahue and his older brother in Thailand. Jake’s brother is fighting for the Kickboxing title of Thailand and wins his bout defeating a former champion, Manny Pacquiao- looking fellow. Then they leave the areana in some silly car wearing a championship belt but– soon enough they are ambushed by evil Khan and his henchmen. Khan is none other but mighty Billy Blanks. Yeah, the idiotic inventor of  Thai Bo exercise program* (Blanks didn’t learn to read or write ’till he was 40 years old and it shows.) He looks like some kind of steroided up, rag-top wearing Orc more than he resembles a normal human being. Apparently angry with Sean for taking Thai title- don’t know why, he doesn’t look Thai to me, Khan kills him with some silly kick combinations despite holding a machine gun the whole time!!! When a younger brother Jake tries to save him he gets schooled, but left alive despite suffering practically the same hits like his now deceased brother.

Ten years later, Jake is now a undercover police officer, doesn’t look anything like he did when he was young but he’s got a scar from the fight with Khan so it must be him.  He is a notorious lone wolf stooping crime by fighting criminals with kickboxing skills, defeating one mullet wearing baddie at the time. His commanding officer Captain O’Day tells him that there are filmmakers in Thailand who really kill the actors on the sets of their films (???) and that Jake has to travel to Thailand to stop them. Why would an American cop travel to Thailand to do some Interpol stuff is beyond me. In one of his rare moments of sanity Jake refuses but he unfortunately takes the VHS tapes with him anyway. After casually watching them (he had nothing better to do I guess) he notices the guy “who’s kinda good” and then the dude turns and he sees- The Khan. He calls his boss and accepts the assignment with crying voice and then screams his lungs out so we could all know what kind of pussy he really is.

Avedon and Blanks having a moment.

The he travels to Thailand. Decides to beat up some Muay Thai dudes for no reason but to feel good I guess but one of the students from that camp fallows him and kicks his ass to even the score. Humiliated Jack admits he is no match for Khan but a fighter tells him about Prang, a man who is now a drunken recluse living in the wild but was evenly match with Khan in the past. Jake finds Prang who at first rejects his offer but changes his mind when Jack tries to save him from some punks. In the middle of all that Prang’s monkey steals Jack’s passport ,maybe hoping he can use it to get out of the country?

If that wasn’t enough Jack succeeds in befriending ( and soon enough bedding )  idiotic trailer thrash blond Molly who was coincidentally almost raped by Khan only hours ago. I personally believe that there is no audience for love scenes between such ugly individuals but I could be wrong, it’s a strange world we live in after all.

Anyway we are treated with the most imbecilic training montage in history of training montages (which are not the most intelligent dramatic tools as it is)  where we see Avedon  being stretched, beaten and stretched some more and the mere glance at a skinny dude blocking three stomps with his elbows will make you laugh until you cry.After reaching masteryin something that should be Muay Thai Jack challenges a bunch of dudes in the illegal  fight circuit, and beats every one of them while at the same time wearing a female shirt?  One of the evil producers sees a potential in him and invites him to the set. Now his wish is granted and he can finally face the Khan and have his revenge!

    HO- MO- SEXUAL!

Obviously there is not a chance in hell he could beat Khan. Even if we presume that their technique is equal (and it’s not) Khan is far bigger and stronger fighter and would naturally tear him apart. Movie doesn’t concert itself with thing like that, you know common sense and  runs into a climactic final fight between Avedon- dressed like a court jester and Billy Blanks- who’s just being himself. The moment in which Khan deduces the identity of Jack  aka “you are… the BROTHER” after Jack throws him the old photograph is pure cinematic gold. And then as if that wasn’t enough he threatens to kill him and make him join his brother in hell- at that moment Jack loses it, yells “I’ve already been there… for 10 years” and then unleashes a girlish scream that would leave many of the ladies from horror movies envious.

                The proper way to evade a punch.

The fight itself is incredible mish- mash of American kickboxing, pro- wrestling,  Chinese wire-fu with some Muay Thai thrown in for good measure and yeah, they succeeded to take all the worst elements of them all and combine them in such God-awful way that the end result (which was indeed physically demanding and hard to accomplish) ends up being nothing short of absurd and laughable.

Cops -as the cliche goes- arrive late and do the only thing they can- START DESTROYING THE CRIME SCENE WITH FREAKIN’ BAZOOKAS! FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, WTF?!

Verdict: If you like kickboxing, Thailand, Ninjas, Blonds with pathetic boobs, training montages, Billy Blanks, random Zen riddles, Savages and monkeys- this is your movie!

PS For additional footage of  Billy Blanks embarrassing himself find any Tai- Bo instructional DVD.

               *???