Posts Tagged ‘Kickboxing’

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.

 

 

We already covered one of the “crown jewels” of Loren Avedon’s career King of the Kickboxers but it’s time to take a closer look at the movie that propelled him to his short- lived B movie stardom. After launching his career with Corey Yuen’s “classic” “No Retreat No Surrender II” (remember- the first one introduced the world to the awesomeness of Van Damme and his incredible splits) he continued his rise thru the ranks with the sequel. Now, this sequel is mostly a sequel in name only- having completely different tone, and abandoning previous “Tournament”setting for more urban of a urban Kickboxing meets Spy Thriller style.

This dude cracks me up!

Films starts with a fitting quote from Mao Tse Tung of course fallowed by a terrorist action by bunch of ridiculous mustached idiots. Their plan comes undone when one of the hostages turns out to be CIA agent Casey Alexander, man whose kickboxing skills are only overshadowed only by his  over the top facial expressions (ala Erik Roberts). He kills the bad guys and gets the girl (there’s always a girl there somewhere). In the meantime his younger brother Willis beating up some noobs.It turns out those are his students and he is just “preparing them for the street”. I am always shocked and amazed by complete lack of charisma and acting ability by this man! Anyway he is called by his father on his birthday party/ family reunion and he reluctantly agrees.

No.Retreat.No.Surrender 3.1990.DVDRip.XviD BROTHERS BLOOD.avi_000147600Mao said it best…

He arrives at the birthday in an old Volkswagen Beetle and ripped up jeans with some Communist insignia. Hmm… I’m wondering if the Chinese director is trying to tell us something here. Anyways, kudos for sneaking in thing like that in something that is an American production. He then menages to get into an argument with his rich CIA brother and quickly leaves. After the party’s over a new party begins as the old man faces bunch of assassins who look like Ninja Bee Gees in his very home and he even menages to kill one of them.Unfortunately he menages to die by flying out of the window like a freakin’ cannonball in one of the many hilarious highlights of this movie. His killer is devious Franko, a man that can be best described as am albino mulleted mongoloid.

Avedon returns home but it’s already too late, his father’s carcass is floating in the family pool. He then has a dramatic, tearful scene with his older brother and I painfully realize that his Keith Vitally is just as terrible actor as Avedon himself, hell maybe even more so! Next thing we see is a funeral and the FBI brother who gets a tap on his back via one of his superiors with words like “he was my partner and my best friend”. We momentarily realize that this man was in fact responsible for the murder… yeah cliches galore in this one!

Avedon journeys to Hawaii to have his revenge and his brother tries to track him down (unfortunately it seems CIA didn’t train him enough cause he fails miserably). First thing Avedon does is find a local dojo and gets into the fight with the friends Martial Artist he has here (how convenient). After blowing some steam they use their prowess and also their acting skill to get Avedon into a gang that they suspect is responsible for the murder. The less said about the way they manage to do that- the better. He ends up being rapidly inducted into the gang with his first mission to… KILL HIS BROTHER! No, I am not making this shit up.

After a disastrous “fake” subduing of his brother, the boss finally figures thing out (he’s no the head of operation for nothing) and starts torturing the brothers and the random girl the older brothers is having sex with when he’s in Hawaii (how conveniant). After being electrocuted the devious plan of CIA agent and Albino dude is finally clear, they want to use Avedon to kidnap the Ambassador of Mozambique and make a diversion which they’ll later use to FUCKIN’ BLOW UP THE PRESIDENT WITH A BAZOOKAA! These men aren’t thinking small.

No.Retreat.No.Surrender 3.1990.DVDRip.XviD BROTHERS BLOOD.avi_004907800

Of course they have a hiccup in their plan and that’s older brother Casey freeing himself and threatening their whole plan. Then finally two brothers team up and put all the evil folks thru their Martial Art blender. It’s also fun to note that the Lowe, the director desperately tried to tone down his usual sensibilities and make fight scenes a bit more in American Karate/ Kicboxing style opposed to over the place Chinese Wire- Fu but it’s like he said “fuck it” in this last scene and went over… and out.

Notice the joyful death of Franko, the albino killer!

Verdict: Director Lucas Lo shows everything that was wrong in Hong Kong cinematography of the 80’s/ 90’s in one place. And Avedon- well he proves why he was never propelled to the stardom of his dreaded nemessis Jean Claude Van Damme.

Trivia: Same director and lead actor had another team up not long after and that resulted in probably the most over the top Martial Arts film of all times- King of the Kickboxers. If you missed it- you enjoy the review here.

PS Loren is having a comeback of sorts these days acting in Frank Caruso’s vehicle Risk Factor and the movies seems like something you can watch straight after NR NS III without spiking a beat.

At certain point in the 90es Anna Nicole Smith, a former model and Playboy’s Playmate decided to further her scope and get into acting. All fine and dandy ,she’s not the first one and most surely won’t be the last one.But there just one little thing. She couldn’t act for the life of her. She couldn’t evens speak English properly and had all the tone and diction of the spoiled 4 year old trailer trash brat. She almost routinely drifted off somewhere in the middle of the sentence if we presume that she knew where she was/ and what she was doing at the first place. It is very rare that I found Schwarzennegers’ heavy Austrian drawl superior when compared to the acting of someone obviously born in the USA but this is most certainly one of these times! Another unexplained and oddly impressive things about the movie is the fact that she decided to do a hard- core Action Flick! Now, I’m all for women taking names and kicking ass but the only parts Anna could have played convincingly were does of voluptuous blonds in some teenage flicks or a romantic comedies. Action movie’s a very different beast and despite her not so small and fragile frame she was everything but the action hero in the making.

Die Hard… with Hooters!

So, we have a sexy helicopter pilot Carrie Wink (Anna Nicole ofc) that offers heli- taxi transport to rich clients. She is happily married to a LAPD detective Gordon and we are often treated to flash back scenes of their domestic life, so we can deduce that their marriage consisted solely of marathon sex with the  occasional break to shoot some cans with heavy weaponry- good for them!

Typical day at Wink residence

Her client is mysterious Mr. Fairfax- in fact a ruthless South African criminal mastermind with a thing for Shakespeare. His final objective- to … four interlocking electronic devices that can seemingly magicly change the balance of power in the world (how it is not explained, ovbiasly it has something to do with satellites). She dispatches Fairfax and his associates all around not even fathoming his true intentions (those being world domination of course! Well this is one rare cases where “stupid blond” stereotype actually makes perfect sense.

Skyscraper.1996.480p.H264.mp4_000979228…and typical manicure for a pilot

Fairfaxe’s long haired goons give their best and succeed in aquairing second to last piece but they naturally make a mess of it. Croatian kickboxing champ Cikatic and Lara Croft wannabe chick come to their rescue and they succeed in getting away with the device.

Skyscraper.1996.480p.H264.mp4_004884087Croatian Kickboxing sensation Branko Cikatic, enjoys strangling black people in his down time

This movie can be easily categorized as  RPG Porn counting the sheer number of scenes of A Rocket Propelled Grenade launching  despite the facts that those RPG’s are not re-loadable, and shouldn’t be able to fire more than once.*

Finally Ann drops off Fairfax at the top of the Zitex building, the 86-floor skyscraper in downtown L.A. His terrorist friends take over the security system of the building and slowly but surely liquidate the security guards. Now it’s time for heroic Mr. Wink to jump into the action (not knowing his woman is at the top of the same building I guess). Some moments later his partner is killed and he heart-brokenly declares  “he was more to me than a partner” not long afterwords (?) Fairfax has a meeting with Criston who was supposed to sell him the part No.4 but he decides to kill him instead (I guess he’s cheep). Criston menages to escape, albeit for the moment but it was enough for his to give the device to the confused Carrie Wink who realizes something is wrong when Criston dies. Blessed with enough common sense to run for her life Wink jumps into the washer’ rig. Goons start shooting like crazy but are such horrible shots that she menages to survive unscatered. Then she does even riskier thing and attaches herself with one of the  steel winch cables and goes down the side of the building. That of course leaves her in even more vulnerable position but thank God those gunman are such idiots. After being confused by her constant swinging around- Spiderman style they lose her when she finally menages to crash through one of the giant windows and get into one of the offices. She then in the moment of unusual clarity for her character stashes away the case, unfortunately in one of the trash cans (not really the best idea in the world but considering who we’re talking about- good enough)..

 

What chance does the terrorist organization has against a woman like this? I mean, really!

They kill boy’s mother thinking it’s Wink (because all blonds look the same?) but the boy doesn’t seem to mind. He just wants to ride his bike. Then she teams up with idiotic security guard who probably managed to survive all this because no one in the right mind would consider him a treat. She gives him some lessons in her distinctive southern twang and snatches the gun from him. Unfortunately the goons track her down and she ends up in the gunfight with the long haired German looking muscle bound villain. Both of them shoot randomly at everything and anything but each-other but she comes out on top with a little help from the cowardly security guy. Making her way through the chain of offices she finds the small blond boy on a toy bike and convinces him to hide. Just in time ’cause the other goons are right after them.

In the meantime her husbands Gordon finds a way to infiltrate the building but succeeds in doing nothing when inside- except having a prolonged hide and seek with the Whoopi Goldberg looking dude*

Skyscraper.1996.480p.H264.mp4_003922710

Whoopi Goldberg before the sex change operation

Wink confuses the tech terrorist (the one operating the security cameras) by lighting fire in the waste paper bin causing fire alarm and disabling some of the monitors. Just when it seems she knows what she’s doing she ends up captured. She tries to reason with them and exchange the lives of the hostages for the suitcase but she is unfortunately just not that good with words. She gives away the location of the case and all she gets is one of the guards (the one wearing tight leather pants) trying to nail her in the ass. I know, life is not fair. But Wink is nothing if not resourceful, and she manages to find a paper knife… and procides to stab the goon in groins, shoot him with his own gun with the force of blast pushing him through the window and into his unavoidable death by being squished by lethal combination of velocity and pavement.

Don’t fuck with Anna Nicole… unless she wants you to!

Seeing that the shit hit the fan Fairfax offs the remaining goons and heads out to the copter. He exchanges the blond kid for the blond chick aka Anna Nicole but her silly husband shows up all gung-ho and tries to free her.
Being the evil mastermind that he is Fairfax takes the girl and shoots the cop and just when it seems that he will get away with everything- Wink busts out (no pun intended) some Kung Fu moves and kick his ass to kingdom come!!!, why she haven’t used them in any of the critic situations in the last hour and a half beats me. Anyway,  Wink hugs the little blond boy telling him everything is  all right while we see ambulance taking the body of his dead mother in the background. The End

Infierno de cristal (8)

I guess her brains and beauty will somehow get her out of this?

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.

               *???

    *Here you can marvel at Gruner as he demonstrates his  kickboxing skills on
a bad stop- motion Terminator rip- off.

One of those films that start kinda gritty Cyber Punk-ish with a possible promise of good innocent fun and then… goes absolutely nowhere! Director Pyun (somewhat rightfully claimed to be a Hawaiian reincarnation of Ed Wood) wanted to make a film with a dystopian , almost William Gibson SF atmosphere and every time he got close to nailing it he found a new way to royally screw things up (adding women with big muscles in the scenes has been known to do that.) It takes somewhere around a half an hour to set up our story and after that he just trows it all away the same moment our hero Rain (Olivier Gruner) gets to the island and fists start flying/guns start blazing.

Event that could be forgiven (often enough SF is just a backdrop for a classic action fest) if those same action scenes made some kind of impact but there are just cartoonish violence at it worst. Incoherent story gets completely lost in translation really fast while bizarre bunch of characters kill/fuck/or save one another almost randomly.
At some points you have to ask yourself did those people follow a REAL SCRIPT and soon after you start doubting that the script even existed. Perhaps they had a 10 page treatment… for the beginning of the movie and then they improvised from there. That would explain a lot of things. There is also a hilarious moment when a gun packing grandma starts unleashing hell, it is absurd as it gets, but at least it’s fun and you can’t say that for the rest of this picture.

THIS. IS. BAD.

Olivier Gruner ( our cyborg ex-government agent) is karateka/ ex- kickboxing champion and he demonstrates his skill here and there (in-spite of the laughable choreographed fight scenes ) but he’s acting is so woden that after a while you start appreciating all the subtleties of Schwarzenegger’s performances and that is never a good sign. On the + side (if there is one here) he gets to fight a crazed robot, terminator style stop- motion monstrosity that explodes for no apparent reason and takes his arm with him!*
One of his sidekicks (the only one that actually survives) is irritating teenage girl who becomes extremely important character out of nowhere in the last half an hour of the film– against all common sense. His dog at the beginning of the film had more character and a hell lot of more story potential than she ever had!
Legendary “Cary” Hiroyuki Tagawa (Sheng Tsung himself) makes an appearance as the crazy Yakuza boss in a Hawaiian shirt but not even his devilish charm can make this crap watchable.

Verdict: If you have to watch an Albert Pyun film watch his eulogy  of Cannon Films in the form of Van Damme’s Cyborg, Cyber- Punk angle is better realized and despite the fact that JCVD wasn’t  much of an actor back then/ or much of an English speaker back then he always had a ton of charisma, the thing that Gruner sorely lacks.

Trivia: Pyun is doing a (joint) prequel of both Nemesis and Cyborg. Unfortunately he discovered digital technology/ CGI (nobody told him that you need some money to make it work) so his movies are now worse than ever. Here’s a trailer for Cyborgs: Rise of the Slingers so you can remember to avoid it if you have the bad luck of seeing it somewhere.

You can actually find better special effects (and acting!!!) in Porn these days .