Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Trimble’

I remember one reviewer noticing that in the 90’s Roger Corman would seemingly blindly hand out  a contract to any Pro- Kickboxer who came knocking at his door. Now, honestly Corman was far from being the only one guilty of this. 80’s and 90’s had a surging VHS market and Action/ Martial Arts film were way more mainstream then these days so lots of Pro- fighters did have their 15 minutes of fame (or a 5- movie deal) and here’s some interesting examples for you:

05.  Curtis Bush (42- 10- 02 KB)

We purposely decided to lead with  the most obscure name off the list and that’s Curtis Bush. Bush was a lanky southpaw fighter with a background in Tang Soo Do (also Chuck Norris‘s first art). He amassed the pro record of 42 wins, 10 loses and 2 draws and also competed in Pro Boxing in parallel.

Beside being a four division champion he also had a burning desire to be in the movies. But, it seems that tall, mustachioed dudes just weren’t the flavor of the day.
He had a small part of a deranged poacher (killed by the star Michael McNamara) in Canadian action movie Dragon Hunt (1990). He also played parts of Foot Soldiers in the first two TMNT movies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze (1991). He then tried his hand on the small screen with a TV adaptation of Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse– that was canceled after only four episodes!

This has to be one of greatest covers to ever grace a VHS tape

But what really makes him worthy of this list is his passion project: The Dark Angel: Psycho Kickboxer! Made for just 10 000 dollars over the course of 5 years Psycho Kickboxer is a real treat for B-movie lovers like us. I mean who can say no to a seemingly deranged man in a Ninja costume running all over town and preventing random acts of violence (with even more violence). It’s painfully low budget and nonsensical but man- it’s a it’s so fun to watch.

Look at him go!

Now, you could say that his acting career went nowhere but he did have background roles as military personnel in couple of big movies in recent times (Battleship, Godzilla) and IMDB does show him as an Admiral in Godzilla vs. Kong (2020), so it seems Psycho finally got the last laugh.

04. Kathy Long (18-1 KB, 2-0 MMA)

Kung Fu San Soo and Aikido practitioner and a pioneer of female Kickboxing in America with an 18-1 record holding WKA, WMAC, ISKA and KICK titles.
She was even a commentator in the first ever UFC event (1993) – even thou she smartly decided not to comment too much– leaving the other absolute Martial Arts legend Bill “Superfoot” Wallace to keep embarrassing himself (famously mispronouncing UFC as Ultimate Fighting Challenge).

Her most significant contribution to the world of film was actually being a stunt/ fight double for Michelle Pfeiffer‘s Catwoman in ‘92‘s Batman Returns by Tim Burton.

Also in ’92 she also appeared as a villain in Rage and Honor featuring Cynthia Rothrock and (our personal favorite) Richard Norton and continued with couple of leads in movies such as post- apocalyptic Knights (1993) and The Stranger (1995). In ’97 she again showed up with Richard Norton in a fun Australian action movie called Under The Gun aka Iron Fist.

She even dabbled back into the competition pool (having come full circle) by having two MMA fights in 2009 and again in 2015. Second one was particularly impressive, wining a fight at 50 years old against an opponent roughly half her age! Definitely an accomplishment.

Even thou her dramatic acting chops where never even remotely sharp as her fighting chops I’m definitely not changing the channel when I see her on a TV.

03. Gary Daniels (31-04 AKB04- 01 KB)

Gary Daniels started as a British Taekwondo practitioner who was famously too brutal for the sport so he eventually transitioned to Amateur and then Pro Kickboxing (even capturing PKA and WKBA titles).  His most famous lead role is in Hokuto No Ken aka Fist of the Northstar that despite it’s budget constraints turned out to be a surprisingly faithful manga adaptation. Unfortunately it wasn’t widely distributed in the US and is today relegated to a Cult Classic status.

He would go on to be the star in countless Kickboxing movies on VHS either as a Hero or as a Villain but beside a Hong Kong stint or two (see Jackie Chan’s City Hunter) his big break wouldn’t happen for years and years…. Not until Stallone chose him to be an Eric Roberts‘s henchman in the first The Expendables (2010). Even in a star- crowded movie like that he did get to shine especially in an excellent two against one fight scene with Jet Li and Jason Statham.

He went on to share the screen with Eric Roberts and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin again in Hunt To Kill and was perfectly cast as a video game character Bryan Fury in not so perfect Tekken (2010). All of that positioned him to the upper levels of action B-movie market in the ’10s and he even returned to his native England for a pair of movies ike Skin Traffik (2015)– again with Roberts (Rourke and Hannah too) and I Am Vengeance (2018) where he went against the WWE superstar Stu Bennet aka Wade Barrett.

But still, being a legit badass (he traveled all the way to Thailand to have a pro Muay Thai match when he was almost 50) with a cool British accent you’d think the sky is the limit, and because of that I feel that he never really fulfilled his true potential.

02. Jerry Trimble (29-2-2 KB)

Trimble started his film career in the 80’s armed with an annoying high- pitched voice, long blond hair and all the sidekicks, hook kicks and spin-kicks you can possibly imagine.

Now, differently then some of the other folks in this list over the years he eventually developed actual acting chops (but he can still pull out those spin kicks from his arsenal if need be) confirmed- by the fact that he is still successfully working today in both film and TV.

Recommended viewing: any of his collaborations with the Filipino Action Maestro Cirio H. Santiago like One Man Army (1994) or Stranglehold (1994). And if you’re really into our kind of craziness he can be seen in Corman produced StarQuest II.

It’s also worth noting that he is adversary in early Jet Li film The Master (1992) where he is at his mighty mulleted ass- kicking best, then his career altering appearance in famed thriller Heat (1995) and of course going toe for toe with Austin 3:16 himself in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin VS Dolph Lundgren feature The Package.

For an American Kickboxer with golden pants- he sure went far.

Trivia: The Package (2013) was actually directed by Jesse V. Johnson who’s slowly but surely becoming a real force to be reckoned with in the action movie industry with films such as British comicbook– adaptation Accident Man (2018) and the Asian Expendables awesomeness that is Triple Threat (2019).

 

01.  Don “The Dragon” Wilson  (72-5-2 KB)

To circle back to the start with Mr. Roger Corman, there’s one kickboxer in particular who made more movies with Corman than anyone else. His name is of course Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Coming from a Kung Fu Pai Lum Kung Fu and Goju-ryu Karate background he competed in Kickboxing on and off until 2002 (with his final exhibition match in 2011).  He amassed an incredible list of titles: IKF, WKA, KICK, ISKA, STAR and the PKO and with wins over such opponents like Dennis Alexio, Oaktree Edwards and Dick Kimbe he is considered one of the greatest American Kickboxers of all time.

His acting career on the other hand was let’s say- slightly less impressive. He started transitioning to movies with a villain role in 1982 Hong Kong movie New York Chinatown aka Xue xi Tang Ren Jie (1988) and made his debut as a lead with Bloodfist– of course a Roger Corman production directed by Terence H. Winkless. And Bloodfist would continue to be his bread and butter as he filmed 8 parts to date!!! Another stand outs are Ring of Fire movies, featuring other famous Martial Artist like Billy Blanks, Michael Jai White and already mentioned Gary Daniels.

Now for us, we prefer the more obscure and odd moments of his filmography like his forays into SF with Virtual Combat (1995) and let us not forget his horror movie Night Walker(1996) (utilizing shaky cam to the max way before it was a fashionable thing to do) with Wilson breaking freaking vampire spines!

After all this time he’s still working and seems to be doing alright for himself but in retrospect he just never had the charisma and elegance of someone like Van Damme that could have pushed him to the real super- stardom. But he did challenge Van Damme to a Kickboxing match, so you got to give him that.

 

 

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Some of you are too young to remember but in the early days there was nothing more disappointing then your favorite TV show (like Star Trek) starting on TV- just for you to find out it was a clip- show episode and you waited in vain. That kind of a thing would completely ruing your day.


Now, even thou that phenomenon was closely related to TV (live action). Now fair share of TV shows and Hanna Barbera cartoons too made a practice of doing that but in reality there was more than a few movies that implemented that same philosophy. Roger Corman was as guilty of that as much (or more than) anyone else. See Carnosaur/ Raptor for some examples.

 

When Frank Gallo approached him about directing a non-related sequel to the Starquest aka Terminal Voyage. I imagine he just waved his hand and said “you can use any of my old SF movies for clips and just keep it under budget”.

Movie starts right away with the clip show montage consisting of anything from Archival NASA footage to Corman’s Battle Beyond Stars all the while playing to 90’s dance beats. Can’t go wrong with that but we have no idea what’s going on.

Now, the film’s actual start has 8 people of all different creeds waking up in a mysterious compound. They are not sure where they are or what’s going on and the first thing they all witness a man in a security uniform being electrocuted by something that looks suspiciously like Hall 9000.

Things get a little heated up, a soldier (fan favorite Adam Baldwin) and ex- con Trent (played by a Kickboxing legend Jerry Trimble) almost come to blows. But then a Priest of undisclosed religion (always fantastic Robert Englund) shows up to greet them and clue them in on their situation. Turns out they are in Space.

Another video-montage played by a board computer (set to a soothing soundtrack) explains the crew that humanity has lost it’s way and heralded it’s own destruction. Then the techno music comes in and we are treated to a number of striping and sex scenes. Now, I know some strippers tend to be crazy but I’m pretty sure they are not to blame for the downfall of human civilization.

 

Then the video shifts to a doctor doing some crazy Re-Animator shit and it abruptly ends with the launch of Omega 4 Spaceship (it’s mission- to save human species). We also see the Alien narrating everything and the costume is funny as it gets (with mouth that can barely move at all). But, that’s Roger Corman/ New Horizons production for you.

Trent and the military personnel get into an argument again but suddenly the ship starts shaking- they are attack by a Reptilian race of aliens (and if conspiracy theories thought us anything,those are the mean ones). Suddenly a cyborg pilot emerges from his sleep and he does his job admirably!

Space fight scene
Star Trek- eat your heart out.

Once his done he returns to his chamber. Trent doesn’t like him one bit and can’t wait to star a fight. In the meantime the bold dude and the black chick are plotting behind Father’s back. It seems they knew about the alien attack and they are not pleased with the result.

Lee (Baldwin) and Susan start discussing their fear that the Earth was destroyed– and that’s the reason they are here. They segued directly into the first sex scene of the movie
(I guess they decided it’s time to start repopulating). The funniest thing is Baldwin has constant Alien Abduction flashbacks– and he can still keep it up! That’s admirable.

fotka

It turns out the death of the first man wasn’t an accident, ’cause they find the blond soldier woman choked to death too. Trent tries to pressure a bold dude to show him how the ship’s computer works but he activates the cyborg the Protector. Trent gets into a brawl with the cyborg and almost dies but the bold dude ends up dying it the end. “Hall” electrocutes his remains too. Englund seems displeased with the development of the situation.

Suspecting everyone and anyone the rest of the crew capture Trent (using his stripper girlfriend as the bait). Black girl seduces another soldier (what she’s up to) and then stripper starts stripping so this becomes one big soft- core “spectacle” in space.

Baldwin uncovers that he was injected with an alien DNA. Black girl finally shows her true colors and starts killing, but not before getting a lap dance herself. Man, this girl is
having a busy night. Hope they tip her well (whatever currency works in space). She and Englund get into an argument which fraction really cares for human- Trent solves the conflict by shooting them up both. Unfortunately he dies himself trying to finish the girl off.

After they are left alone Alien flight attendant video shows up again and we have some more psychedelic imagery (not really the 2001 Space Odyssey level but still).

Verdict: As far as clip show movies gothis one makes no sense but is definitely a good fun- and the cast is surprisingly solid.

And as much as I’m an Adam Baldwin fan (Firefly, Chuck, The Last Ship) my favorite parts of the movie are Jerry Trimble scenes- he finally gets to do some acting in this one in addition to his kickboxing arsenal and he comes across like one of those disturbed gang members from Death Wish III. And also his on- screen girlfriend/ stripper Jeannie Millar is a real sight to behold. I was really disappointed to find she didn’t make that much movies  (except couple Black Scorpion ones for Corman, again) before her untimely death.

In the late 80’s and the early 90’s many fine Kickboxers made the switch from the ring to an acting gig and there was always a steep learning curve there. For every Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren able to make a solid leap from Karate (or Full Contact Karate/ Kickboxing) almost straight to mainstream roles you had a fair share of people who needed years and years to get their acting chops up there, people like Jerry Trimble for example (these days an extremely capable actor- but originally someone able to do the talking only with his fists/ kicks).

“…  de la violence!” Who could resist?

 

Don “The Dragon” Wilson, a Kickboxer of a highest caliber is even below that comparison. His presence and acting capabilities seems completely at odds with his abilities in the ring. Where in the ring he was able to be relaxed and get his timing right in the movies he seems constantly tense, performing not only his lines but his specialty- kicks with such nervousness and stiffens that he looks incredibly lika  a Robocop trying to imitate Bruce Lee.

 

Movie starts with our hero (see Ring of Fire 1)  John Woo (Wilson) buying a ring for his pretty redhead girlfriend Julie (Maria Ford). She accepts the marriage proposal way to easy but they get interrupted- by a band of muscled up, biker looking thieves! Man, not a single boring day in the Don “Dragon” land. After killing an innocent man for no reason whatsoever the he good doctor Woo (yes, Wilson is a doctor in this series) jumps in to fight them with his bare hands! Police breaks in but Julie still ends up wounded, and we also get a bonus bizarre car chase (I mean the tire gets shot and the whole car goes up in flames)!

 

Now in the hospital Wilson and his retarded friends visit Jullie but he runs into the same goons trying to wheel out their compatriot in the freakin’ middle of the day (what are the odds)!  As always the fight ensues and Dragon accidentally manages to finish what he started by  accidentally shooting  the already crippled thug straight in his face!!! Doctor killing a patient- man this is dude is crazy!

Kalin (Ian Jacklin) gets arrested but quickly escapes and his second in command Predator (Evan Lurie) kidnaps Jullie. Then, what started as a by the numbers action thriller suddenly goes completely left field-in all improbably it turns into a Martial Arts remake of Mad Max series and Walter Hill’s The Warriors.

“You know that shit when they build new buildings on top of old ones? Well that shit still underneath is the Underground! Yes, the random street dude clues Wilson in and he finds the entrance to the Underground. It even has an ENTER TO DIE sign on the entrance, so this should be fun.

 

Also, somehow in the Underground there’s an agreement that guns are prohibited so the world devolved into crazy hand to hand fighting post- apocalyptic community. Not a bad idea when you thing about it. Going trough underground passageways Woo destroys everything in his path, led by a  guide- an old black Vietnam vet with a bum leg. Maybe they could have added a mystical powers too? He keeps  fighting different underground fractions one by one as he goes towards the center, the Trashcan Samurai (notice an old favorite Gerald Okamura), the Afro- Ninjas… he even fights the Skateboard Gang with Kali sticks and  flashlights!

 

Yes,  Dragon VS an evil skateboard gang! With the appropriate soundtrack,too…

His retarded (also Martial Arts friends) go after him, and mostly just kick the people already down from the Dragon beating.  Yet they manage to lose sight of what they came here for (like I said they are a bit retarded ) and end up in an underground hooker bar. Whore gang of course drugs them and deliver them straight to the villain. The only one who gets out is a small Chinese dude who gets into a fight with a disgusting bodybuilder chick.

“You are really sexy when you throw one of those spining kicks!” WORST. PICK- UP LINE. EVER.

Now Woo has to save the friends who came to save him. But don’t worry- no problem in the world that can’t be solved with some cagefighting! He goes against the Predator and deafeats him and you know what else happens- more explosions! The old veteran vet did his magic with rigging the armory. Sadly the final fight happens in the daylight so it looses some of the surreal, dream like quality other fight had. Also the main villain is just not very good.

 

Verdict: Even thou you can’t really call this a good movie it is a crazy good time, I mean it has explosions, over the top fighting,  90’s music and  (for no reason whatsoever) Road Warrior esthetics! But the truth is- this would work even better if it was an old school arcade fighting  game.

 

Imagine this- just with Don “Dragon” Wilson!