Posts Tagged ‘Kathy Long’

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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This movie has the honor of being the first (and probably the last) Western/Vampire/Cyborg/Kickboxing flick EVER. Our old friend Pyun sure knows how to make them!

The film starts with an old fashion caravan- only they are ambushed by a bunch of… Cyborgs? Hell Yeah!
Who want to drink their blood??? Ok, this is something else. Young Nea runs away with her baby brother in her arms while  the rest of the travelers get massacred  rather quickly. She returns after a while, sees all the  bloodshed and then the flashback ends. Next thing you know, it’s 10/15 years later, Nea now full grown woman (you can tell it’s her because of her silly blond, fluffy hair) is being approached by and old soothsayer who predicts grand things for her but she just shrugs it off. Then out of the blue, an evil Cyborg and some assistants appear and… massacres all the people. Again! Not whole 10 minutes from the last one! Well at least things move pretty fast in this film, different than some of the other garbage that we watched. She somehow survives initial attack, fights a little-  gets hit by an arrow, survives a fall, then survives some silly rant of a Simon the Cyborg (great name!) until a mysterious stranger arrives (cue in the Western sound effects here).
Stranger is non other than famed country musician Kris Kristofferson ( how appropriate). Kristofferson aka The Gabriel (notice the non-subtle Biblical reference there) starts unleashing hell, some dudes fall from a cliff (common theme in this movie) and then he has a showdown with Simon… and Kung Fu Wuxia ispired sword fight!!! This movie pulls no punches, really!

He easily defeats Simon but Simon plays dirty and tries to blow him ’till Kingdom Come with his rocket launcher arm
thingie but Nea interferes  (but why would you human, help a cyborg?) and Simon is no more.After that Nea is in shock that ther’s a good cyborg in this world too but she still fallows him. Soon enough we get to inevitable question and although Gabries claims that “Only Cyborg can kill a Cyborg” he accepts to train her in the ways of Cyborg- killing Martial Arts Mastery. And yeah, and you can only kill cyborgs by shooting/ stabbing them in forehead– whoa, never would have guessed it! Then we have the thing that kinda disappeared from the movies these days and is sorely missed-  A TRAINING MONTAGE!

It’s painfully obvious that Kris Kristofferson is the one who should be a student (he is doubled by a much younger stuntman every few seconds) but he at least looks cool and seems to take this whole movie as a  joke so you can easily sympatise with the dude. Kathy Long seems to be a complete opposite. Despite being a prolific martial artist( Aikido, Kung Fu blackbelt, 5 time World Kickboxing Champ ) Kathy Long can’t act or even speak properly for the life of her! Not one sentence had the conviction or diction to stop my inevitable laughter every time she openes her mouth.
And stereotypical 80s surfer girl look wasn’t helping either. Like I said- you can marvel at her back flips, kicking and takedown combos … and that’s about it. Try to ignore her when she’s not hitting anyone, you’ll enjoy this movie a whole lot more!
Anyway ,she and Gabriel swordfight, stickfight and kickbox trough the desert and everything is fine until she has an emotional outburst witch leaves me completely in shock. I have never witnessed a lack of talent of that magnitude in my life! Why the hell is she trying to express her deep emotions in a film about a cyborg killing cyborgs and girl who eventually kills even more cyborgs? I’m stupified.

In the meantime THE CYBORGS PLAN TO RAID THE LAST GREAT HUMAN CITY- TO MAKE EVEN MORE CYBORGS! The fact that you need even more blood to feed all those fresh additions to the ranks or the funny thing that people obviously serve Cyborgs for years in hope of their mechanical gift and others get it for free seams completely retarded.

Couple minutes later they  finally start putting some hurt on the cyborg asses but Gabriel ends up showing human emotions towards Nea, and that costs him half his body! Interestingly most of the cyborgs wear some Arabic inspired robes that cover all but eyes which lead me to believe that the same five people were killed over and over and over again (congrats to stuntmen for doing all the extra work).

Nea continues fight alone, infiltrates the Cyborg Camp, and earns a right to fight for the gift of becoming a cyborg! Oh, yeah, she also finds her long lost brother there- just like that! Somebody refused to  put  any kind of effort when he was scripting the damn thing but that’s how things work in Pyun-land.

Leader of the cyborg camp, Lens Henriksen’s character Job (cyborg with a freakin’ giant robot arm, who looks incredibly like some discarded Moebius sketch) decides that she is worth of the gift… he receives the arrow as a reword. Also, I have to notice that Job is quite fascinating character,  the only special power that he exhibited in the movie is his ability to spit incredible amount of liquid, I mean incredible!  Ok, his mastery with whip is impressive too but you don’t really need any technological advancements to learn to do that.

              I want to suck your bloooood!

So, Kathy proceeds to kick ass and take names, killing about 100 people in the process, combined forces of about 20 cyborgs and their human underlings. They all die in all sort of interesting/ funny/ ridicules ways that will definitely keep you interested. Even the good old Cyborg who kills cyborgs- Gabriel patches himself somehow (by stealing legs from some other poor half- mechanical soul).

Evil mastermind, Master Builder finally appears, does nothing for a while and than steals Nea’s brother. Gabriel and Nea come after him presumably to the fabled Cyborg City, her monologue narrating all the incredible adventures they will have but the movie ended up being a flop and none of the planed sequels ever found their way into production.

Verdict: in the fighting/martial arts department film delivers and delivers with flying colors- and that is main redeeming feature of this film. Also if you like explosions, things explode in abundance here, just wait and see! Cinematography is also actually rather beautiful (thanks to George Mooradian who latter found fame working on TV series like “According to Jim” ), desert of Moab, Utah provided perfect backdrop for this unique kind of adventure. On the flip side acting is atrociously bad, especial miss Long, script doesn’t make any sense and editing is godawful, most of the scenes look cut up and without the natural end.Music sounds like something out of  National Geographic, not  Western/Vampire/Cyborg/Kickboxing movie Knights is. Anyway if you really have nothing better to do with your life , go watch some cyborgs explode, it’s  still better than The Kardashians!