Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Honour and Glory


Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Screenplay by: Herb Borkland
Starring: Cynthia Rothrock, Donna Jason, Robin Shou and Chuck Jeffreys

Any film genre has its masterpieces and its pieces of crap, martial arts being no exception. At one end of the spectrum you have Drunken Master 2, Iron Monkey and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. At the other end you have Master With Cracked Fingers, China O’Brien and On Deadly Ground. Unsurprisingly, Honour and Glory finds itself in the latter category. Crap.

Directed by the unholy king of z-grade martial arts flicks, Godfrey Ho (Deadly China Dolls, about a trillion movies with the word Ninja in the title) and starring kung fu queen, Cynthia Rothrock (Guardian Angel), Honour and Glory is an embarrassing, sloppy and, oh-so often, amusing mess. Having something to do with a stolen nuclear trigger (which we never see), a camp megalomaniac bad guy (John Miller) and high kicking sisters Rothrock and Donna Jason, the film is so muddled, confusing and riddled with pointless characters it’s amazing they all manage to meet up at the end for the final showdown. Whenever Rothrock is on screen Jason disappears for half the film and vice versa when ever Jason pops up. Ho has a reputation for splicing footage from different films together and Honour and Glory certainly feels like several films in one.

Actors (I use the term loosely) John Miller, Richard Yuen, and Yip Yim Hing all compete for the worst actor ever title, with Miller just edging out everyone as the completely bonkers bad guy, Slade. Other highlights include: random characters popping up from nowhere; Jason’s news reporter getting into a kung fu fight with a disgruntled passer-by; death by being thrown into a cardboard box; a seduction by chopstick kung fu; several boom mikes in shot; a Pepsi machine not very well taped out to avoid advertising; the most unconvincing stakeout ever; and probably the most unintentionally hilarious final fight put to film. Add in the fact that almost ever scene seems to have been shot in either somebody’s driveway or a disused parking lot, that every fight lasts no more than 30 seconds, and you have an abject lesson in how not to make a martial arts flick.

It is amusing in a so bad it’s funny kind of way and there are a couple of cool training sequences (obviously thrown in for no apparent reason and featuring cool weapons that none of the characters use in the fight scenes) and Rothrock has made worse. Yet for a film featuring competent martial arts talents such as Rothrock, Mortal Kombat’s Robin Shou and Eddie Murphy look-alike and Bloodmoon star, Chuck Jeffreys, Honour and Glory should have a least delivered on the fight front. But hey, what do you expect from a film featuring a cast members named Greg Algie and Herb Borkland? Suffice to say, apart from Rothrock, Shou and Jeffreys, hardly any of the cast members went on to make any other films. Awesome in the worst possible way.

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