Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Speakman’

We watched some crazy flicks here at WM but there is one that truly stands out head and shoulders above the rest. It’s a  Martial Arts flick,  but a Martial Arts flick from the most unique place… and that place is Ireland! Yes, they are Martial Artist in Ireland and (at least one) Martial Arts filmmaker, and his name is (in this movie as in his real life) James “Jimmy” Bennet. Now let’s get down to business!

After 10 long years of absence, seasoned and successful  Martial Artist  decides to return to his home town to reconnect with his roots and more importantly discover the truth about the passing of his father Bennet Sr. While narrating his thoughts to the audience Bennet grabs a photograph of his father all samurai looking from the wall (decorated with numerous photographs of Bennet himself and also mulleted Van Damme from Hard Target for some reason), throws in into a bag and starts his long road home.

After a sad song he is finally home just to find it abandoned. He finds a little Buddah statuete on the floor and gets flashback of his training with his father right away. Next he goes to get some groceries just to find local morons stealing and harassing big blond chick who works there. He demonstrates his Van Damme- like kicking ability and stops them. We get some more flashback scenes of his childhood and then the same blond chick manages to get in trouble AGAIN. This time it’s long haired ginger dude (and his friend) speaking with such heavy Irish accent that it’s almost completely impossible to decipher what is he threatening her with. Anyway Bennet shows up and after verbally kicking their ass with “Why don’t you boy scouts go and play in the woods” he asks them and then  demonstrates some more kicking arsenal.

Now we learn who the mysterious Mickey is (the man who sent ginger dude and his friend), he is the grandson of the Drug Baron … the same man who MURDERED HIS FATHER (que in some dramatic music). And while good ol’ Jimmy Bennet practices his deadly Martial Arts Blondie rides a bike to his place. She came all this way to thank him, the only way a girl can thank a man… by giving him a pie she backed for him. Then she rides away.This girl obviously has to much free time on her hand. Anyway some of the Baron’s goons show up (even uglier than the last too) and Jimmy visits the Drug Baron who then offers him a job.

Before deciding anything Bennet takes Blondie on a proper date- a Carnival. There we can see all four women living in this village and then it’s painfully clear why did the trailer say “a hot chick” for Blondie despite her somewhat robust, sturdy built. She truly is the hottest chick in her village, but only because the other 3 don’t really resemble human females.After an obviously fun night by Irish standards Bennet falls asleep and in his dream he remember the horrible truth, he was present as the old crime boss (man barely capable of walking) sliced his father with a Katana blade. He sets his mind at ease with some running and doing some Kempo Karate forms as the sun rises.

Then the plot thickens! A mysterious Celtic Monk (seen earlier stalking Bennet) posts a notification for The Tournament (it seems Ireland also has a long tradition of secret underground fighting). Drug Baron ensures everyone their man, who should be back from Hong Kong any minute now ,Seagul ( obviously an Irish answer to Steven Seagal), will be a sure winner. They see the Tournament as a way to demonstrate that they hold the whole village in the palm of their hands (even thou that doesn’t seem so impressive when you think about it). Monk then appears in front of the Bennet’s house and invites him to the Tournament. Blondie seems trilled about it, it seems she’s also a martial arts aficionado. Anyway Bennet starts getting into (more) shape with some stick fighting and hitting a heavy bag but Monk appears again out of nowhere and invites him to come tomorrow and “walk with him”. So they meet in the woods the next day and the mysterious Monk informs him that he will train him for the tournament, just like he trained his father. And then sends him home and explains that his training will begin tomorrow. Man, he is trolling Bennet big time! The training mostly consists of doing exercises while the old man plays bagpipes but we also get a scene of Monk with Kali sticks which is absolutely precious!

Trening

Now this is what I call training!

Bennet takes a break from the hard training by going  on a picnic with Blondie but just when they’re about to kiss for the first time (yes, it took him THAT long) they are interrupted by Drug Baron’s goons on motorcycles. A ridiculous chase and shootout ensue and Blondie ends up kidnapped.  It turns out that Mickey, the Baron’s grandson is to blame.  “You make me look bad… and that’s not good!” Mickey utters to Blondie and she promises that Bennet will come after her.

Now enraged and desperate Bennet prepares to break Drug Baron’s hold of the city and get his girl back. He is flooded by memories of times they shared together including some previous scenes like riding horses and stuff… and some scenes that ABSOLUTELY didn’t happen like a sex scene . They didn’t even kiss for Christ’s sake! A this point you have to ask yourself is Bennet completely delusional?

Fatal DeviationSeriously, her shoulders are broader than his!

Now the Tournament starts and we can see that people here really enjoy fighting, lots of older people (man and especially the women) and there in the ruins of an old castle to see people fight. Bennet does his best Van Damme impersonations while demolishing one opponent after another. In the end there’s only two man standing and that’s him and Seugul. Soon to be just one of course. Irish Seagal unfortunately proves that he is not the Martial Artist as an American version. He compensates that with his sheer size and strength and even menages to make problems for Bennet (in big part by using a large chunk of wood to hit him in the head) but in the most critical moment the Celtic Monk calls for the most powerful technique and soon the whole crown chants “FATAL DEVIATION, FATAL DEVIATION…” So Bennet digs deep and manages to perform it perfectly (with some help from the editing room ) thus destroying his opponent.

Now this is simply brilliant!

He doesn’t have time to celebrate ’cause he has to race to get his girl back. This leads straight into a fantastic (apparently non- scripted) carcrash and a post production CGI explosion that lasts about two seconds and doesn’t mask the fact that the car is not burning at all.

Fantastic carcrash that was absolutely NOT a part of the script! Afterwords we get a lame-ass CGI explosion that last half a second and doesn’t mask the fact that the car is not burning at all. Epic shootout scenes fallow and are stooped just so we can see a bare assed man running across the field for absolutely no reason! After a “tense” stand- off Bennet confronts Mickey and breaks his neck. Then we cut in to the quiet picnic and Bennet and Blondie are obviously trying to continue what they started earlier. But they are out of luck again. The incredibly old man, Drug Baron appears out of thin air with a shotgun and proclaims “You killed my son, now I’m going to kill you- just as killed your father”. Jimmy B seems ready for this and he answers “ You killed my father, now I’m going to kill you- just like I killed your son”. Of course he fallows that up by disarming the frail old man and shooting him into oblivion. Then he and Blondie embrace knowing that the nightmare is finally over.

For now this is the best Kung Fu film Ireland has ever produced. But we’re still waiting on the fabled Celtic Samurai flick (trailer unfortunately removed from youtube as of now) to see how it will stack up.

Bennet as a guest on Nationwide (during the shooting of Fatal Deviation)

Trivia: Jimmy Bennet actually DID make it in life, even thou it took  years for his “masterpiece” to see light of the day. He doesn’t work on the farm no more, he is a bona fide Hollywood stuntman working on such films as  Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Lone Ranger. Soon he will also perform in the Swelter with his long time idol and inspiration Van Damme. But I sincerely hope he doesn’t forget where he came from and soon decides to surprise as all with another Irish Martial Arts Action- fest.  Now, that would be a treat!

Tutorial: If you were impressed by Jimmy Bennet’s “secret technique” and want to learn to do it- no problem. Fatal Deviation is in fact regular part of the curriculum of Ed Parker’s American Kempo Karate and here you have his black belt Jeff Speakman (Mr. Perfect Weapon himself) demonstrating this combination.

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90es were the golden age of Martial Arts/ Action film and sheer number of genre films produced guaranteed some classics that are staples of Action Cinematography ’till this day but of course there is also the other side- every hack producer/ director and every half- assed martial artist thought they had a HIT in their hands!

One of the perfect examples of this is Jeff Speakman’s awkward love letter to Kempo Karate in the form of nonsensical, unwatchable mess that also goes by the name-  THE PERFECT WEAPON!

“No gun. No knife. No equal.”

(One of these three thing is actually correct)

Jeff Sanders (Speakman) is a humble construction worker by day and deadly Kempo Karate master by night! We learn the second one by watching him do what he does best… rocking out a Kata ( Karate Form) to SNAP’s super-hit “I’ve got the power” He looks surprisingly like a buffed up, oiled up, slowed- down version of one of the Boldvin brothers… but from the acting standing point I guess that is a grave insult to Boldvins,  because even William Baldwin is an exceptional  actor when compared to  Jeff here!

I mean… he’s got the powah!

For some reason he decides to returns to his old neighborhood and visits him old mentor, played by non other
than veteran actor Mako.While he rides his car we are treated with a dozen of flashback each one more pointless than the last one. First we have his traumatic childhood, father hating him because he didn’t act normal after his mother died?! He wanted to send him to military school just to torture him but he dodged that one thanks to Mako- Mako enrolled him in a Martial Arts School instead ( his extensive karate training involved everything but sparing for some reason) And finally him knocking out an irritating jock to defend his little brother (who is also a little jerk). His Cop father finally can not take it any more- apparently he just hates his firstborn to much to let him do much of anything and he trows him into the street despite the fact that young Jeff is only 16!

Interesting fact- Mako calls Jeff’s karate style a 2000 years old martial art despite the fact that a style is obviously Ed Parker’s American Kempo that was founded in 1940es.

Ed Parker with his favorite student!

We quickly found out that Mako has problems with Korean mafia (all Asian people are Koreans in this film despite the fact that most of them are Japanese, Chinese or even Vietnamese) not wanting to let them use his Antique shop for stashing drugs. They decide to show their power (common theme in this movie) by thrashing the place but that Jeff jumps trough the window (Batman fan perhaps?) with the immortal phrase “Is there a problem here?” and start laying the smack down on their asses. There’s also a irritating Asian boy who think he’s black
here for some reason. After reminiscing the old times Mako goes to bed and Jeff decides to take a walk.

Then a giant Asian fellow (ex- wrestler Dr. Tanaka) breaks in a strangles the poor Mako. Jeff finds the corpse but it’s already too late. Or is it? Jeff reaches inhuman speed of approximately 70 km/h and almost catches the car but his body betrays him and he remains on the street sorely disappointed. Then couple of idiotic criminals appear out of nowhere and “they get what the want” if what they wanted was an ass- kicking.

Behold the Speakman!

Soon bunch of police officers is in the scene (for once) the detectives must be Ned Flanders’s cousin cause I never heard a person in a live- action movie use  “diddly” in the sentence before. We also have a supposedly emotive reunion of brothers (his younger brother being cop now, like their evil father) but the scene abruptly cut before we get to see anything happening.

On Mako’s funeral we get Asian people wearing white (their traditional colour of mourning) and Caucasian people wearing black suits and Speakman wearing his usual brown leather jacket and jeans for some reason. Did he consciously decide to disrespect his mentor of is he really than much of a bum, not having anything else to wear? Anyway irritating kid shows up, Jeff tries to catch him and interrogate him but he fails miserably and the kid gets away. Then he menages to get in a argument and a fight with his brother and younger Sanders is tempted to shoot him… that would make all our lives easier but we’re just not that lucky.

He than procides to take justice into his own hands, start beating people up- including but not limited to people in night club of unusual kind, place is called Croc- Pit and their gimmick is they have live alligators in their club!!! After achieving nothing  “humble” Chinese fellow Yung (also playing a Korean) ofers his assistance. He reveals he is one of the four bosses of crime in Korea Town but that Mako was his friend and he wants to help Jeff get his revenge. Jeff, being the sucker that he is accepts the help and information just to find out he was double crossed afterwards. After disposing of approximately half of his man mafia boss sam explains that it was in fact Yung who is responsible for Mako’s death and that he used Jeff mearly as a weapon against his rival bosses. Irritating Asian kid confirms that.

Jeff now gets his sights into killing Yung but there is just one problem, a big, big problem- Yung is always protected by his bodyguard Tanaka (aka ex- wrestler Dr. Tanaka) and as we are about to learn Tanaka is unstoppable. In fact if we had The Incredible Hulk going against Dr. Tanaka I would bet my money on the vicious Asian Dr.
Knowing that even perfect weapon that is himself is powerless against Tanaka Jeff devises a plan, gets irritating
Asian kid to testify that Tanaka was a killer (not a bad thing because he really is the killer) and then uses a
mess that surrounds the arrest to personally destroy unguarded Yung. A rare glimpse of intelligence from Speakman, bravo!

Unfortunately it doesn’t really work out Sounders Jr gets destroyed by Tanaka (he can obviously survive a
car crash (and even throw away the wrecked car with his bare hands) and sustain being tasered by 1000 volts without even fliching twice). Cops get mauled by Dr and even Jeff ends up empty handed because Yung wasn’t even in the said car. Jeff almost got his brother killed for nothing but knowing that they are not in the best of terms anyhow- who cares.

            Tanaka reveling in his indestructibility!

Irritating kid somehow overhears that Yung is planing to escape county by boat (how original) and informs Jeff.
Jeff fueled by vengeance equips himself with some knives and sticks (he doesn’t use firearms for some reason- maybe they remind him of his asshole father) and after destroying a perfectly fine bed to display his weaponry he gets going. He breaks into factory on the dock and starts causing a ruckus incapacitating one henchman at a time including the ones with guns. He distract them and then slays them with his mighty trowing knives.
After easily reaching Yung and almost killing him Dr. Tanaka joins the fun and starts trowing Jeff around like a ragged doll. Jeff puts all his Kempo mastery on display but it just isn’t enough but at the last moment he figures out Tanaka’s only weakness EXPLOSIONS! After blowing up a propane tank mighty Mr. Tanaka finally meets his doom and Jeff gets Yung but for some reason doesn’t kill him- the fact that he just killed the man before that seem not to disturb his notion of honor.

Vengeance! Vengeance!

Film ends with Jeff finally back in his old Kempo Dojo, exchanging glances with a possible love interest that was for
some reason left unexplored- and bows to his master .Than we have credits that dedicate this film to the late and great Ed Parker, and even though he endorsed Speakman you have to wonder did the film live up to his expectations… I would be surprised if it did.

Vedict: Even though the story is nonexistent and large chunks of choreography are just pure nonsense
(moves are neither effective, nor look good on camera) Speakman is- truth be told- a better martial artist than most of his comrades in action movie industry but his acting ability is so atociously bad that there’s just no punching/kicking combo in existence, hell in a whole Multiverse that can possibly redeem it!

One thing is for sure- Speakman’s got the powah!