Posts Tagged ‘Natakote Janakitu’

Gary Daniels was always a personal favorite of mine even since I fist saw him in an unexpectedly cool live action adaptation of a manga- Fist of the North Star.  But even thou he did everything from the slew of 90’s Kickboxing movies to the  Hong Kong appearances ( City Hunter w/ Jackie Chan) to his high profile Expendables (2010) role (he got to fight Statham and Jet Li at the same time!) he did make a few bizarre little movies along the way. And of course being who we are, we’re gonna cover some of those.

‘Punishment starts predictably enough with a story of Kickboxing champion doing some king of possibly illegal Martial Arts presentation in a seedy looking bar. He gets picked up by cops, after beating them up for good measure.

Then we have a scene in which the police Chief (David Caradine) shows him a history of project K.I.C.K. (in a scene suspiciously reminiscent of the Enter The Dragon exposition). It’s all about Kwan Lee, Taiwan chemist who in the 60’s invented some kind of growth hormone that makes people immune to pain. Coincidentally Daniel’s old Sensei from Japan Tadashi Yamashita (The Octagon, American Ninja, Seven) is running the drug operation right now.

  Here we can see Tadashita killing a watermelon, while not killing Gary Daniels- and we’re all grateful for that

He doesn’t want anything to do with cops but they convince him that exposure to the drug can result in genetic mutations and he panics because he has baby on the way. He rushes to visit his wife at a hospital  he ends up fighting a bunch of goons in his way, with one of the cops seemingly dying in the process but that’s how it goes).

Seeing that his wife is not doing that bad he shifts the focus on his upcoming title Kickboxing match. So, we get the fist (but not last) training montage of the movie.

Fight goes his way but after he won they accuse him of having metal in his gloves and then try to arrest him? No due process here!  Things are getting crazier by the minute. Daniels easily frees himself and kicks cop’s asses and gets away. Just like that.

Fighting in the ring…            

… and then fighting the cops for a good measure .

A blond lady- detective contacts him when he gets home but before they can come to an agreement another batch of goons attack them. Man, this is becoming a regular occurrence! Daniels goes after one of them while the lady manages to burn his whole house down, even thou she defeated the remaining attacker. “People are so strange these days” as the wise man Tommy once said.

Crazy and homeless Daniels searches for answers the only way he knows how- with his fists! That’s right kids, all your problems can be solved with violence. Fighting everyone and anyone we gets a lead that leads him to the (shockingly!) abandoned warehouse but he gets overwhelmed by the sheer number of attackers and ends up captured. Yamashita shows up to torture him for a bit but the detective saves him before everything goes up in flames (of the archive footage).

After that he goes to his Martial Art Master (not the drug dealing one) to get his body back in balance or something. Also it turns out that the X-Ray of his unborn child is actually a toy made in Hong Kong. And he never suspected anything!? WTF?!

Now, he’s off to do some revenging- now more than ever! Straight into the ice factory (another Bruce Lee or I guess, Big Boss this time). Among the goons we get one really pleasent suprise, a young Scott Shaw (of Vampire Bikers from Hell, The Rollerblade Seven fame).  He even gets to die via kick activated domino effect (dominoes being the blocks of ice, not really large enough to seriously injure a human being).

He gets to Yamashita but then it turns out his wife was a traitor too (even thou I don’t know why). The only problem is you can’t really tell what was his endgame. Even after decades living in the US his English is so broken that I can’t figure out his explanation for the life of me.

Good thing the cop and the reinforcements (very animated Gerald Okamura) arrive and the tide finally turns. Daniels even got to throw Yamashita off the building. Now, after siting in his office Caradine finally decides that’s it’s his time to act and steals the truck with drugs- but he ends up exploding on the bridge (another archive footage)- so maybe he should have tough twice about that.

Okamura smacking his head is an excellent bonus!

Verdict: this film has of the most nonsensical plots I’ve even encountered (I had to go over it 3 times just to get a vague idea of what’s going on) but it does have  more fights than a Mortal Kombat walktrough so that’s surely saying something.  So, if you leave your brain at the door (and forgive some repetitive choreography and terrible camera) you are bound to have fun with this one.

Trivia: Tadashi Yamashita was always a well  respected as a Karate/ Kobudo practitioner (even thou I’m always a bit skeptical when someone proclaims he is a 10 dan Black Belt in anything) and he is notable for milking both Bruce Lee craze (as Bronson Lee in Soul of Bruce Lee and Bronson Lee, Champion) and Ninja craze (The Octagon, American Ninja and The Shinobi Ninja). And as far as his technique is concerned, you can judge for yourself:

Billy Blanks is more famous as a successful Martial Artist, Thai Bo founder and Fitness Guru but he is also most importantly (for us) the BAD MOVIE MAKING MACHINE! His inability to act (probably tied to his inability to read- he actually learned to read at 40 and depended on his then wife for most of his life) coupled with his over the top facial expressions  and badly used athleticism, most often spent on ridiculous kickboxing production that could only get green lighted in the ’90.


Here Blanks is a humble Karate teacher working with at risks kids in the ghetto. Unfortunately his dojo gets targeted by Yakuza- like organization and their champion Takamura and he barely menages to fend them off. That’s also not the last of his worries because one of his oldest student is starting to spend time in dangerous neighborhoods all in hope of scoring with some random stupid girl. He tries to set him straight but unfortunately the kid is just too much of a dork to ever listen to him. He goes out searching for the slutty girlfriend but Takamura and his men find him first and decide to use “drive by shooting” style rather than Traditional martial art moves.

Blanks arrives just in time to see it happening. And reacts as always- hilariously!

Blanks I’m not sure anyone hears you. YOU should be the one calling ambulance.

Completely out of his mind he gets beaten to a pulp but mysterious Martial Artist Matsumoto aka Mako finds him. As a former teacher for the dreaded clan he offers to train him to defeat James Lew (Takamura) and gets revenge for his student. Like any true Martial Art master in the 90’s Mako teaches him with a string of bizarre or downright stupid tasks like running with a mouth full of water or practicing his blocks while buried in sand.

The director managed to rip off both Rocky III and IV in one training montage!

Finally Blanks is all ready for some revenging. Unfortunately his incompetence again shines thru as Takamura’s men menage to steal Matsumoto’s granddaughter right before his eyes. Having no other choice he goes as planed and enters the corrupt fighting ring. And man does he look ridiculous doing so. He is so muscled up and oiled up that he looks like he will explode any minute now. Also his exaggerated “horse stance” doesn’t do him any favors either. And as much as I LOVE James Lew as a villain (he is only second to Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the film villainy) having a bad guy that’s much smaller then a hero is rarely a good strategy.

Now,after killing both Takamura and his boss  Hastishita and he finally returns to his ghetto dojo to find- his student alive and well after all. So- the kid actually survived and the whole ordeal was about nothing. Great work Billy, for real! He introduces Matsumoto to his students and I think we can expect him exploiting the kids for some other death tournament in no time.

Verdict: Now lets rewind- he didn’t even check if his freaking student had any pulse, he just ran to get some revenge and left him there to die,  and you know what- he managed to fail at that too. If the kid had really died blood would have been on his hands, not just Takamura’s- and all because he is a goddamn idiot!