Monday, 25 February 2008

Bloodfist VII: Manhunt


Directed by: Jonathan Winfrey
Written by: Rob Kerchner & Brendan Borderick
Starring: Don Wilson, Jillian McWhirter & Steven Williams

For a former World Kickboxing Champion, Don “The Dragon” Wilson did alright in the world of low budget action pictures. Never really breaking the big time, or producing a film that really showcased his abilities as a fighter, he nevertheless managed to make entertaining action films. During the nineties he even carved out several franchises for himself. He made three Ring of Fire movies, two Cyber Tracker movies and eight (yes, eight!) Bloodfist movies. Again, not bad for a low budget actor. This brings us to Bloodfist 7, a light and breezy Wilson vehicle that neither offends nor overly excites.

Having very little to do with the earlier Bloodfist films, the title Manhunt is more appropriate as this is basically Don Wilson’s version of The Fugitive. Albeit, on a small budget and with more kickboxing action. Wilson plays Jim Trudell, a former Special Forces soldier who is just minding his own business when he helps out a stranded woman (Jillian McWhirter). After spending the night together, she disappears taking Trudell’s car with her. He sets out to find her, and his car, but soon discovers this mysterious woman is linked to murder, crooked cops and an illegal auto theft syndicate. Now caught in the mix, Trudell must go on the run and clear his name before determined cop, Doyle (Steven Williams) catches him first.

Despite being the seventh in the series and no doubt churned out in a couple of months between other Bloodfist, Ring of Fire and Cyber Tracker movies, Manhunt proves to be one of the better entries in the series. Things start off low key with mood being built and Wilson even showing some acting range before segueing into the man on the run element. Proceedings are kept brisk and while production values aren’t exactly high, the film benefits from being shot on location rather than in a series of abandoned warehouses (though there might have been a few of those as well). Steven Williams (The X-Files, Route 666) steals the show with all the best lines while the always watchable McWhirter (Last Man Standing) is criminally underused.

There’s not as much action as there is in many of Wilson’s other movies, with most of the kickboxing being saved for the finale showdown. Wilson still busts a few moves but rightly tones done the martial arts to concentrate more on outwitting the pursuing cops and bad guys. A few illogical steps aside (why does Wilson get into the trunk of that car? And more importantly, how does he get out?) Manhunt is easy viewing and certainly recommended to fans of Don “The Dragon” Wilson.

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