Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Death Match


Directed by: Joe Coppoletta
Screenplay: Curtis Gleaves, Bob Wyatt & Steve Tymon
Starring: Ian Jacklin, Martin Kove, Matthias Hues, Renee Allman, Bob Wyatt & Nick Hill

Death Match is about as 90s a martial arts movie as they come. Set in Los Angeles: check. Tournament fights arranged by some shifty criminal type: check. Two buddies (who know kung fu) trying to make a living in LA and one of them gets sucked into said tournament fights and subsequently goes missing/dies: check. Other buddy drops everything to find his friend and must train, as he will inevitably take part in the tournament fights: check. Hot reporter for said buddy to bed and to help him out with his investigations: check. Matthias Hues: check. Kid sidekick: check. Lots of fights: check. Cool cameos from B-movie action stalwarts Richard Lynch, Jorge Rivero and Steven Vincent Leigh: check. A huge boat to have the big end action scene play out on: check. And there you have it, Death Match.

Taking all the above ingredients and mixing it into a kind of mish-mash of genres, Death Match is still surprisingly enjoyable. It has a load of crisp and crunchy fights (choreographed by the great Art Camancho and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez: who even appears as himself as the hero’s trainer!) and one time would be action star Ian Jacklin (Expert Weapon) makes for a likeable hero and convincing fighter. He even gets a cool motorcycle to ride (sometimes with helmet, sometimes without!) and an obligatory sex scene with the hot reporter. Cool. The great Martin Kove smirks his way through the smarmy bad guy role and Matthias Hues gets a meaty role as his right hand man and a couple of decent fights scenes as well. Hell, he even gets set on fire but comes back for more fighting, fire-scarred an all! Sweet.

It’s all fairly predictable and low rent but with a little more time given to story and a likeable hero who we actually want to see win (and not get kicked in the face because he is always acting like a wannabe bad ass douche!), it makes for refreshing viewing. If you read blogs like this and watch movies like these, you've no doubt seen this type of story a gazillion times (especially if you grew up watching these types of films in the 80s and 90s) but Death Match does it fairly well, has plenty of kicks to faces and is a decent 80 minutes or so of bygone era action junk.

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