Friday, 18 January 2008

Bloodfist 4: Die Trying


Written and Directed by: Paul Ziller
Starring: Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, Cat Sassoon and Gary Daniels.

Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, one of the unsung heroes (along with Gary Daniels and Mark Dacoscos) of martial arts cinema, made somewhere in the region of 8 Bloodfist films. A long running and successful kung fu series, Bloodfist 4: Die Trying is an entertaining and well made, if unspectacular, action film. Wilson plays Danny Holt, a repo man who is just trying to make it through the day so he can take his daughter out for dinner. Yet circumstances conspire against him when he repossesses the wrong car: a black BMW belonging to bad guy, Gary Daniels (complete with lion’s mane and shoulder pads). Inside the car is a box of chocolates (!) containing stolen nuclear triggers, which a nefarious mob boss (Kale Browne) desperately wants to get his hands on. Killing all his workmates and kidnapping his daughter, Danny is forced to go on a one man rampage against the mob, the police , the FBI and a whole host of martial arts experts.

Produced by legendary low budget filmmaker, Roger Corman, Bloodfist 4 benefits from some decent production values and an energetic pace that features a smattering of bare knuckle action. The first half hour or so builds the tension up nicely as Danny’s world falls apart. There are some cool fights; one with Daniels on top of a multi storey car park and another with Cat Sassoon in a kitchen incorporating many of its utensils. Wilson is a likeable hero, and while he’ll never win an Oscar, at least shows some sensitivity in the scenes with his daughter. The fights, choreographed by Art Camancho (Recoil), Paul Maslak (Red Sun Rising) and Wilson himself, aren’t as kinetic as those in a Hong Kong flick but still manage to deliver a brutal impact. In fact, the film is very violent, the body count is high and the action often fierce.

Around the half way mark things fall apart somewhat. The pared down storyline soon becomes convoluted, with unnecessary characters and plot developments. Too many characters are introduced and underdeveloped, clogging up the fast paced action that came before. James Tolkan’s (Back To The Future) comedy relief FBI agent is an unwelcome annoyance and pairing Wilson’s character with an irritating and fairly useless sidekick (Amanda Wyss) robs the film of the lone wolf aspect it was developing in the first half. The action also deteriorates with a second fight with Daniels being a disappointment.

However, if you are fan of Wilson’s there is still much to enjoy. As mentioned, Bloodfist 4 is an adequate action flick, competently made and fun if you are a fan of fight flicks. It also features credits which list the martial arts performers and their respective titles and achievements. So we get: Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, WKA World Kickboxing Champion; Cat Sassoon, WKA North American Forms & Weapons Champion; Gene Lebell, RAU National Judo Champion; and Carolyn Raimondi, Women’s National Taekwondo Champion to name but a few. If that doesn’t make you want to watch the film, then nothing will.

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