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by Andrew - May 8, 2003


Hello and welcome to review two of three in the Great Martial Arts Movies saga. Tonight's escapade into the unknown (or rather, known) is a movie about fighting, blood and a whole lot of lovin'*. So let's get right down to it shall we?

The beginning may make it look like this guy--

--stars in the movie. In reality this opening shot was his longest scene. What strikes me most is how much he looks like Mr. Clean, except less bitch and more "I'm going to kick you in the groin". Mr. Clean never kicked anyone in the groin, per se, but rather did other, much nastier things to various groins. If I were to describe such thngs here, I would be sent straight to jail without collecting $200.

This is one of those movies that starts at the end of the movie, where hussling and bussling 1989 Tokyo finds itself host to the World Championship of Free Fighting. Then we see some people of wide girth attempt to do some push-ups and lift some weights, followed by five minutes of them kicking the crap out of each other. At first we thought that all this movie had to offer was inexplicable fighting scenes, sumo wrestlers smothering their opponents with their crotches and tall guys literally demanding someone, anyone to "raise the roof" in not as many words (chiefly, "up! up!"). I mean, the guy was kicking the friggin' lights.

So we're saying, "Okay, what will happen next in this story that takes place in 1989?". The answer is absolutely nothing. Next thing we knew we were flashing back, all the way back to 1987 where we finally meet one of our main characters, Masahiro Kai. He's a drunken, hasbeen trainer with heart of gold. Wait, no, scratch that last part, he's just a drunken hasbeen. If he actually does have one of those fancy confounded "heart" contraptions, it's definitely not made of gold. At this point, his wife/somebody walks into the room where he's watching teevee and tells him bluntley that he's drunk and has been. Has been where? Only NBA great Magic Johnson knows the answer to that. Discouraged by this, he gets up and leaves on a mystical journey. Then we're introduced to these guys.


This gang of street toughs makes me sad inside. One, they are hideous in all respects and should not have light reflecting off of them. Two, they have obscenities written on the back of their Jeep. Three, they have apparently hired Vanilla Ice to be their token white guy/gang leader. See, here in los Americas if we have a movie with an all white cast we'll be called racists and nobody will buy our movie. If we cast a person that is part of a minority everything is cool. That is, of course, if your movie is not "KKK Hooray!". If it is, then everything is most definately not cool. By the same token, asian movies usually have a caucasian person. This time it's Vanilla Ice (or someone that stole his sunglasses), who's it going to be next time, Michael Jackson? It's anybodies guess really.

The gang's apparent motif is to yell insanely, take fruit from unsuspecting shop keepers (at which point the shop keepers run after them yelling the word "Money" repeatedly. Put a beat to that and you've got yourself a rap song), and attempt to beat people up. At the end of their introduction sequence the guy that stole Vanilla Ice's shades, John O'Brien, turns to the camera and a poses a very interesting question to the audience, "What the fuck are you looking at?", he says. Indeed, what were we looking at? So far it hadn't made any sense at all.

We also noticed that during the course of the film, John seems to be a good guy one minute and a bad motherfucker the next. Then we noticed that he was only badass (read: not so) whilst wearing Vanilla Ice's shades. Also, the higher the collar is on his totally rad jean jacket, the more badass he is. In actuality he comes off as one of those guys that tries too hard and ultimately fails, like Sonny of Sonny and Cher fame. I mean, he died!

This movie has had a lot of stuff in it already, so let's recap. We saw Mr. Clean, then some fighting, then the gang made me cry, then I paused the movie to drink my tears away, and now I can't find the remote. Nope still not making any sense.


John wants to become more badass than he thinks he already is. Master Kai wants to regain his title of Kickass trainer guy. Put these two together and you get East meets West! A hilarious sticom about a wacky American in Communist China, where ass kicks you and nothing is as it seems! Or you get this movie. Sadly, we got this movie. After a few short hours of training John, Kai realizes this guy's a dink. John then goes to beat up two girls with his cronies. Not a good idea when one of the girl's friends is Ryu Tenmei.

Ryu is just a normal guy, but he knows how to hand asses back to their respective owners when needed. Master Kai sees great potential in Ryu and proposes that he become his new pupil in a crazy french accent he just developed for unknown reasons. French accents are scary normally, but when they come outta nowhere? Forget it man. That's like those headcrabs in Half-Life, except this time I couldn't unload 250 rounds into the TV. Ryu respectfully declines and any normal sane person would accept that and go on with life. Not Master Kai. No, Master Kai makes it a point to stalk this young man until he finally breaks under the pressure, although Ryu is determined not to train. What's even creepier is the music they play during the stalking sequence.

John, now filled with jealous rage, attacks Ryu and his girl while they were having a nice quiet stroll through the park, at night, in the bad part of the park, with millions of dollars strapped to their genitals. In this scene we fully come to realize that John's cronies are nothing more than Chimps in Power Ranger costumes. I just wish they'd all go away. John claims he doesn't make the same mistake twice. At first I thought he was talking about stealing Vanilla Ice's terrible shades, but then I realized that he meant he doesn't fight without weapons twice and brought weapons. He then proceed to beat the shit out of Ryu. Ironically, this convinces Ryu to study martial arts under the tootledge of Creepy Master Kai.


In a strange twist, Master Kai refuses to teach Ryu and the crazy music ensues and the stalking begins anew. Although this time Ryu is stalking Master Kai! LOL!!1`1`1`ROLF!! Oh my oh my. In sitcom title-style reveals we see Ryu following Kai all over town and for some reason, it works. Master Kai finally agrees to train Ryu.

The next good chunk of the movie is training and it's not very interesting. I had played with the idea of boring you to death describing, in minute detail, each training scene but had that feeling that the townsfolk would be showing up at my door with pitchforks destined for my ass. That's totally not what I ordered.


The 1987 World Championship of Free Fighting seems like a very scary place, and I for one would not go. There's men in pink speedos and women that could beat me up. Sounds like Mike's kind of party. Ryu easlily defeats his first few opponents with swift kicks to the chest, face and lower groin while his girl watches on with a look of impending doom.


In Ryu's second match, he successfully kicks his oponent in the head creating a large dent. Nathan and I were very confused by this, but I think I have figure out how an injury like this happened. You see, Mr. Dent Head here had given Ryu a lot of headbutts to the face and crotch. Such activities can only serve to soften one's skull. That, or his head was made of egg shells and paper mache.


This dude is truly badass. Not fake badass like Vanilla Ice. Anyone that has a tatoo of a snake on his forehead breaks my badassometer. Ryu totally gets his ass kicked by this guy and dies. This is where I gave up on this movie although there is half an hour left. You don't just kill off your main character. That is ass.

Master Kai, after a heavy bout of drinking starts his own training to lay down some smack, and does so two years later at the 1989 Championship of Free Fighting. I just wish they hadn't filmed all two years of the training, that doesn't even seem possible. Of course he has to go up against Snake and of course he wins. TEH END~!`11`~

Actually, I think the movie was about on par with the others on this tape. Terrible. But at least it had some up points, much more than I can say about the other two movies. I'm not at liberty to go into what exactly those were here, you'll just have to watch it yourself! Hahaha! The downside of the whole thing is actually watching it. It's a long 90 minutes of training and drinking. If you're a training enthusiast then by all means you'll probably knock yourself silly. I, however, did not.


*lovin' sold seperately

AIM: Terrahawk X
E-Mail: andrew@ninjacultr.com (I got my first hate mail! I feel so loved!)


To the person that sent in a scan of the September 1990 page of the Nintendo Calender: Thank you.

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