Posts Tagged ‘Tadashi Yamashita’

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.

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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 no 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 explenation for the life of me.

Good thing the cop and the reinforcments (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:

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Here we have another jewel from Iranian director Amir Shervan (Samurai Cop, Killing American Style). The story about revenge, family strings and cleaning up neighborhood. If you ever had a chance of watching any of abovementioned movies then you’ll know what to expect in this one.

Young Rebels is about a crime boss Mr. Vincenzo (played by G. Alexander Vidrion), who deals drugs and hates everything and everyone (which is not a surprise at all since he is an old man). His son Joey (played by Robert Z’dar) is one of his enforcers. The Crime boss hates him too. With a reason, since Joey had managed to fuck up drug deal which can be seen in the opening scene. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that one of the goons attending this drug exchange was played by none other than legendary Eric Freeman. Anyway, they wanted to keep both drug and money and now they are left empty-handed. That is why they need a plan B (as in B movies). That’s when we get to the main story. Our hero of the film Charlie (played by John Greene) has a younger brother Ben (whose name is listed wrong on the IMDB and I can’t tell which non-photo, never-acted-again) who borrowed money from the boss and he owes big time. The only way he can get out of debt is if he has Charlie fly a helicopter to Mexico to transport two drug kingpins to the states. Charlie shrugs his shoulders and agrees despite the risk. Meanwhile, Mr Vincenzo solved a problem when his workers went on strike action by killing them all. Simple and efficient!

A possible solution for the immigrant crisis?

Of course, the deal goes sour with the two kingpins ending up dead. Now the crime syndicate is after the brothers. So Joey and his thugs make an ambush at Charlie’s girlfriend place. Ben rushes is and manages to warn Charlie, but both him and the girl end up dead. Some cowboy style showdown occurs, followed by funk music playing in the background, from which only Joey and few goons manage to come alive, while Charlie ends up hiding and wounded. His friends find him and now they are plotting a revenge against Mr Vincenzo since every single one of them had some quarell with the crime boss.

Pad

And he got shot to his back moments ago

Meanwhile Joey spends some relaxing time with his stripper girlfriend (played by Delia Shepard) when he gets interrupted by one of his goons. His father wants to see him. Apparently they found a lead about Charlie’s whereabouts with a help of crooked Judd (played by Dale Cummings) who is a deputy to senile old Sheriff (played by Aldo Ray). They now bust some Mexican party, trying to extort any info about Charlie but their attack once again got repelled by Charlie, his friend Genza (played by Tadashi Yamashita) and others. So everyone have gone back to doing what they like. Charlie’s girlfriend’s corpse didn’t even gone cold properly and yet he is already onto her sister Liz (played by Christine Lunde). Meh no point living the past, I guess. And Joey went back to his girl so she can finish striptease in peace.

Hello ladies

Hello ladies

But Joey can’t catch a break. Charlie interrupts their little show. Joey then heroically uses his girlfriend as a living shield and manages to escape. Meanwhile Mr Vincenzo once again visits immigrants farm and kills Chico (played by David Kinder), in a chainsaw torture scene which manages to produce very little blood, after refusing to give him info about Charlie. Charlie arrives to the place just in time to be accused of Chico’s murder by crooked Deputy. Again, he manages SOMEHOW to escape and long car chasing scene occurs, in which Charlie managed not only to outsmart police but even to locate Joey after and execute him. It is worth mentioning that like for any other action scene in this movie sudden location changes are characteristic for this scene as well.

A perfect example of knighthood

Mad with death of his son Mr Vincenzo goes after Charlie for revenge. Liz joins the fight too. With her help and help of his friends Charlie disposes of goons and crooked cops one by one in several ridicolous action scenes. Eventually, he corners Mr Vincenzo at some house and we get to see some fistfight with more sudden location changes and punches that don’t connect. Now, I have to point out shameless way in which Charlie came victourious out of this duel. Although Mr Vincenzo was kinda 30 years older than Charlie he beated a living crap out of our “hero”. Charlie was forced to reach out for less honorable measures. While Mr Vincenzo wasn’t looking Charlie kicked his butt (literally), pushing him away just enough to have a time to shoot him from his gun (somewhere near the end of that scene the producers suddenly realized they should have added some blood). Meh what can you expect from a man who sleeps with a sister of his girlfriend just couple of days after she was killed? Sheriff arrived just in time to conclude that he has absolutely no idea what is going on here. And that conlcudes this movie too.

Conclusion: First thing wrong about this movie is its title. There are no particularly young people in this movie, nor could they be said to be rebelling against anything. Sidetracked again! I have already mentioned confusing sudden location changes. This isn’t quite all. There’s some of the worst acting I can remember, primarily from Ben but also from Joselito Rescober, who you’ll remember as the ultra-camp waiter from “Samurai Cop”.  There’s the way that punches sound like a bomb going off and are so ludicrous that I can’t even imagine a late 80s no-budget action movie seriously going “yes, this is effect we’re going for”. But the most confusing were cuts from one scene to another with no particular order. Of course, this results in many continuity and plot holes (like the one when Ben’s fiancé turned out to be Charlie’s girlfriend couple of minutes later). Still, just like other Amir’s movies, this one is a hella lot of fun to watch.

 

 

 

 

Martial Arts legend Bruce Lee unfortunately didn’t live to see his ultimate triumph of Enter The Dragon (he died weeks before the premiere). After his popularity exploded all over the world (not just Hong Kong) people were hooked and were left desiring a product (cool Bruce Lee movies)- but having no one to deliver it.

Well,  a great number of people saw this as an opportunity for a quick cash grab and soon Brucexploitation was born! Cheaply patch together movies full of horrible look-a-likes (not really) all sporting the names that are so close yet so far away. Names like Bruce Le, Bruce Li, Dragon Lee (who looks like Bruce on steroids), Bruce Ly, Bruce Thai, Bronson Lee (aka Tadashi Yamashita later also a staple in Ninja movies like American Ninja and Octagon).

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

Now enjoy our Top 5 choices!

05. Bruce Lee in New Guinea

In this mind-boggling flick Bruce Li manages to father a child to a princess of the Snake Island. Also he fights a wizard. When a Kung Fu movie steals the show with nudity and not action you know there’s something seriously wrong with it.

04. Enter The Game of Death

Like the title says Enter The Game of Death is a combination of Enter The Dragon and Game of Death– with a hint of Fist of Fury. It stars Bruce Le who’s generally one of the worst imitators and it has him fighting evil  Japanese people again and again and refusing to visit the fabled pagoda for way too long. Lone bright spot is (again) Bolo Yueng as the leader of the first Japanese gang (even thou heis Chinese). It’s nice seeing him rock a cool Katana sword for a bit.

03.Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave aka Visitor of America

This is actually  a Korean film that had nothing to do with Bruce Lee until the US Distributor decided to add this awesome intro with the imitator jumping fiercely from the grave. The rest of the movie deals with Wong Han a Korean man trying to discover the truth behind the death of his brother.

02. The Dragon Lives Again AKA Deadly Hands of Kung Fu

This movie starts with the announcement “this film is dedicated to millions who love Bruce Lee” but that doesn’t even start to describe what you’re in for. It shockingly starts after the death of Bruce Lee- who’s soul ends up in Hell. There he meets some fun people like Kwai Chang Caine (from Kung Fu series), Fang Kang (One Armed Swordsman) and also a cartoon character Popeye too? He opens a Martial Arts Dojo with Popaye but attracts a vicious mafia (consisting of Dracula, James Bond, Zatoichi and Man with No Name– not played by Clint Eastwood but rather a local Chinese actor).

Bruce Lee uncovers a conspiracy of Mafia to overthrow The King of Hell (shockingly using a soft- core porn star Emanuelle !!!) He menages to defeat the Mafia ans save the King who grants him back his life. It is definitely the most out there of all Brucexploitation and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

01. Clones of Bruce Lee aka Death Penalty on Three Robots

This is the undisputed winner considering the ridiculousness of the plot ( Profesor Lucas clones Bruce Lee into three adult clones that are then sent to battle crime including a gold smuggler and an evil scientist), presence of the actual Bruce Lee movies luminaries like Jon T. Benn- the Italian mob boss from The Way of the Dragon as crazy scientist (again seen in recent films like Fearless and also Man with the Iron Fists by RZA) and the legendary evil henchmen Bolo Yueng. It also a kind of The Expendables or The Avengers of the Brucexploitation genre because it teams ups all the prominent Bruce Lee imitators like Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Bruce Thai and Dragon Lee in one place.

Hell, it even has the random FBI agent that looks just like Bruce Lee! If you want a Lee overdose this is the film for you.

To top it off we need to mention the excellent parody of the Brucexploitation genre “Finishing the Game”directed by Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame. It’s a comedy but man- it’s one of those “it’s funny ’cause it’s true” type of deals.

 

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