Posts Tagged ‘Karate Cop’

Movie starts with a trio of (ethnically diverse) fighters that are demonstrating their deadly abilities. After an OK from a stern looking Madam Lee (Mari Honjo) they are taken to a darkened room where they are injected with some sort of a super- serum.

Ron Marchini, Michael Chong & Joshua Johnson

They get going right away, disposing off criminals left and right, first by ramming a tractor in a phone booth, then continuing with a car into the Italian restaurant and then big finale- attacking a Karate school (that’s a front for a drug dealing operation I believe).

Unfortunately they are all yellow belts.

’cause Death Machines are many things but Ninjas they aren’t. Silent and deadly approach just doesn’t work for them. They get in with as big BANG as they can. It would be a fair fight but I guess most of the Karate students are beginners so Machines start beating them like rented mules.

Madame uses their killing spree (and a basket with a decapitated head) to convince the main Mobster Mr. Gioretti (Chuck Katzakian) that they are only game in town if you need someone offed.

Things get complicated when it turns out that the blonde dude from the Karate Dojo Frank survived and they send the White Machine (Ron Marchini) to silence him. He ends up in the police custody but the concerned detective uncuffes him and whole hell gets loose!

Damn, there goes the police station!

After a hard days work Marchini goes to a restaurant to get a hamburger but ends up in the fight with some idiotic bikers. When we think that he finally has no more energy to keep fighting the rest of the Machines show up and clean up the place.

In the meantime Frank Thomas (John Lowe) goes back to the dojo where he got his hand cut off. Now if this was a Hong Kong flick he would dedicate himself to training and become stronger than ever. Hell, maybe he would be punching his opponents with a cool metal fist! No such luck here.

He is just super depressed and the only person who seems to care is his nurse who might be nice or just a stalker (jury still out on that). One of the most entertaining scenes is our hero Thomas taking his nurse to the seedy bar where he works. And I mean seedy enough that it has a stripper that dances next to the jukebox, every time the music plays.

An old drunk man punches out the owner, than the bartender and then demolishes the whole place (with a little help from a local biker dude) and then I guess goes somewhere else to continue his complete rampage. And no one can stop him!

I want a spin-off movie of this dude!

Beaten and even more depressed Thomas decides to leave town (with his nurse ofc) but they actually ran into Machine’s car- he writes down the license plate, sends the nurse to call the police and goes after them.

Madam Lee decides that Machines have become a liability and they need to die but that’s easier said than done. Thomas follows the car to her mansion and almost gets his head chopped off with a katana by Lee- but police arrives just in time to save him.

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And Death Machines- they just got away with everything- they a re last seen at the airport. Remember kids if you’re bad-ass enough police won’t ever catch you.

Verdict: This movie defies the norms by not actually having a main character. It’s actually very hard to classify Frank Thomas (John Lowe), as a protagonist. I mean he is a Karate yellow belt with a dead- end job and gets destroyed by everyone in every fight, from the titular “Death Machines” that’s to be expected, but by an old man an a woman too. That’s a bit too much. His only win was that he got and he successfully tipped off police.

Also we never find out what happened to the mysterious bearded figure that actually provided the super- serum for those killers. PS Jon T. Benn from The Way of the Dragon would have been a great choice.

The distributor bizarrely decided to present this as a SF movie (like Martial Arts weren’t a thing in the 70’s) which couldn’t be further from the truth-but hey I do like the poster with the evil tower buildings showing their teeth.

Trivia: Marchini was a well known name in the Karate circles in the 60’s and interestingly Chuck Norris earned his first martial arts tournament victory by defeating Marchini in the finals by a half a point. Marchini would go out to have a movie career for decades being lead in movies such as Karate Cop, Omega Cop and generally any movie that has Cop in it. Also some with Ninja in it too.


As conventional wisdom tells us a Chuck Norris film will always be unwatchable mess and must be avoided at all costs. On the other hand there are couple exceptions to that rule, obvious ones being The Way of the Dragon (that has one of the best one on one fight sequences in the history of cinema, legendary Chuck Norris vs Bruce Lee duel in Colosseum) and Expendables 2 (which uses Norris cameo to the fullest extend even poking fun at “Chuck Norris Facts” phenomena). Then there is the other kind of movies- the hilariously bad ones, and as you can guess we will concentrate on the later- one of those being  the “Slaughter in San Francisco” aka Yellow Faced Tiger aka Karate Cop aka Karate Cop vs Chuck Norris (no,  we haven’t made up any of those!).

The fact is, Lo Wei, a famed Chinese director (Big Boss, Fist of Fury) wanted to film this movie with Bruce Lee  who kept refusing until he unfortunately died. So instead of a real thing they picked up a kinda look- alike and labeled him  a “Next Action Sensation”. To the best of my knowledge Don Wong (aka Wong Tao) didn’t make another movie (as a lead) in his life.

*all scenes featuring Chuck Norris are covered it this trailer

Young police officer Wong and his black partner John arrest to men for attempt of rape of a young girl, of course using their martial arts expertise (who needs guns anyway). Little while later in the police station young girl, named Sylvia denies all charges and explains “it was all fun”. Confusing start and it just gets weirder. One of the would be rapists kidnaps John in broad daylight just to take him to the beach where he is confronted with numerous adversaries. Let the Kung Fu begin! Johns wife calls Wong and our hippie Bruce Lee– wannabe is momentarily on the way. He makes it in time but unfortunately kills one of the assailants and is almost immediately kicked off the force by his Captain Newman and even incarcerated for a year (?) , obviously if you’re Chinese self- defense doesn’t exist as an excuse.

Next thing we know Wong is now a free man and works as a waiter in a Chinese Restaurant. Unexpectedly a Big Bad Boss of Crime (during the whole movie it is never revealed what kind of crime… it’s just crime)  Chuck Norris aka Chuck Slaughter as he’s known here drops by with his goons obviously hungry for some Chinese…  Then after some usual “lets torture the waiter” routine he blatantly offers a job in his empire of crime to Wong. Wong is dumbfounded and he naturally refuses, and of course something like that can only end in tears. Soon enough Chuck threatens to kill Wong, obviously not able to cope with rejection too good.


After being obliterated by alcohol with Wong one evening his now ex-partner John head home in predictably slow pace and somewhere in the way witnesses some men running away from a bank robbery. He pursues the robbers and soon confronts them. They seem confused, and seem content to fight with him bare- handed until one of them suddenly remembers he’s got a gun. What proceeds is the worst scene of shooting in a cinematic history.There is no recoil, gun is obviously a toy and a black dude’s reaction is telling me that a mosquito accidentally bit him at the same moment we hear the gunshot. Chinese man doesn’t shoot again, he decides to forget their original plan (escape as far as you can) and decides to pursue John. They eventually catch him in some random backyard and beat him till death (with bare hand of course).


Next morning the body is found and Newman being a racist that he is throws Mr. Chu and his wive to jail, their only crime being that 01. The murder took place on their property 02. they are Chinese. Wongs swears a vengeance and then randomly beats a lot of people until he finally finds out the horrible truth- Captain Newman is working for Chuck Slaughter!!!! (Que in the dramatic music) Wong kills Newman in the ferocious and somewhat ridiculous fight and then tries to warn Chu’s lawyer but alas it is already too late.

In all that confusion Chu’s only daughter Sylvia (probably the same girl that was not- raped in the beginning- never explained) menages to run of with Slaughter Jr. aka Chuck Norris’s not so evil brother. Well, Chuck “plays the parts he plays- for real” as the trailer said and tries to force his brothers girl to have sex with him. She narrowly escapes, menages to contacts Wong and he bravely marches into Slaughter residence and confronts Big Bad Boss of Crime himself. Why did he have to wait so much to do that -beats me!


Chow demonstrates his strength and determination by offing some goons and then breaking a shovel- part by part and then Chuck and Chow fight in a obviously non- choreographed or rushedly choreographed scene (typical for Hong Kong movies at the time) and in the middle of  usual punching/kicking combinations they succeed to end up in the fountain, completely wet and already funny fight becomes completely hilarious! Finally Chow beats Chuck and tries to finish him but fashionably late police force stops him (he probably still has them on the payroll) and the movie abruptly ends.

Can new action sensation Don Wong beat the Big Bad Boss of  Crime, Chuck Norris?

Also, there is an important part of this movie that deserves the whole section just for itself  and that’s the incredible and tragic destiny of Mr. Chu.

You see,  Mr. Chu is very old man whose suffering starts right after Chuck Norris’s thugs tossed away a dead body into his backyard. Mr. Chu found a body and called a police. Corrupted cop came in and started interrogation. It looked like the old Mr. Chu was gonna get away (he didn’t do anything anyway, for that matter) but suddenly, without any solid explanation, he went to the backroom with his wife. Following her advice (this was the biggest mistake; never follow woman’s advice) he tried to bribe a cop (?!) with 1000 dollars despite the fact that he is completely innocent. That’s when real hell broke lose. Cop became suspicious and gave him several slaps. After full contact argue with his host, cop placed him under arrest. After coming to jail Mr. Chu had been constantly beaten, insulted, beaten, tortured, beaten, brutally interrogated, discriminated, beaten, deprived of any human rights and beaten some more. One of more ridiculous (and hilarious) moments in the film is scene where Mr. Chu is taken to his cell. When he asked for a phone call cop yelled to him “You are making trouble here!” following with many many many brutal hits into the old man’s belly. With expression of complete confusion on his face Mr Chu threatened with court. With pure hatred  in his eyes cop replied with a stone called face “You won’t live enough to see a court”. We failed to see exact reason for such hate towards poor old man who even tried to bribe a cop despite a fact that he didn’t have to. Movie ends before revealing the final destiny of Mr. Chu so we  can only presume that he is still in jail cell being tortured over and over again…

       Various examples of suffering of poor Mr. Chu

Verdict: this movie is extremely hard to find but it’s absolutely worth the effort! Chuck Norris should have been a deranged villain in every movie he ever made!