Hey folks, Valkor here. This next film I’m reviewing literally came out of nowhere. I know the Val-cave address is out there, but usually I’ll get some heads up on what’s coming. However someone slipped this through the doors of the cave and on the outside of the envelope it read “Fist of the Warrior”. After popping it in the caves DVD player, I thought I was in for some kind of kung fu, fantasy flick. Imagine my surprise to find a story of revenge.
The story behind Fist of the Warrior revolves around Lee (Ho-sung Pak), who’s a hired assassin. But when he meets the right girl, Sarah (Robin Paul) at a coffee shop, he wants out of his criminal life and to start a new life with her. However his gangster boss, John Lowe (Peter Green) doesn’t like that idea, so he sends a couple of hired guns to kill him. Only they succeed in killing his girlfriend and really pissing Lee off enough that he breaks his bonds, kills his attackers and sets out after his boss and anyone associated with him. Enter super cop Detective Craig Barnes (Roger Guenvuer Smith), sure he’s living the sweet life as a cop and makin all kinds of busts, but at home his wife is a drunken mess. Barnes is hired by John to track down Lee and kill him, because Lee keeps attacking John’s clubs and killing his men. Because Lee brought Sarah’s body to a church, a priest (Antonio Fargas aka Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch) assist Barnes in corning and capturing Lee. However John sends his men to make sure the job’s done, but Lee escapes (of course). Lee eventually works out a deal with Barnes to get John, Barnes works out a deal with a local drug dealer to get John, the drug dealer works out a deal with Miles (John’s Boss played by Ed Marinaro) to get some money, John works out a deal with another gang boss to protect him from getting killed by Lee, but in the end Lee gets his man, in one of the worse endings I’ve seen in any film.
You know this film was originally called (according to IMDB) “Lesser of Three Evils”. I think before this film is released, it should be given back that title as “Fist of the Warrior” simply doesn’t work.
I like the plot because it’s very straightforward; man wants revenge for his girlfriend who was killed by hired thugs. That makes the film easy to get into because you kinda know what to expect. The film has some small, very tiny twists, but nothing that will make you gasp. Peter Greene is probably one my favorite bad guys who I love to hate. Basically he sorta replays his role of Dorian from “The Mask”, but much more hardcore. I love this fucking guy! I will sit through this film 50 times over just for Pete because he is that cool. But what I love best about the film is the cameos that make appearances. Marina Siritis (Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Michael Dorn (the same), Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear), Richard Grant (Who has an extensive career in TV and film. Trust me when you see his face, you’ll know who he is), Brian Thompson, and Ed Marinaro to name a few; just lots of cool cameos that really draw you into the film. The action is spread out evenly to balance the drama, which I never thought could be pulled off, but in this film its balanced quite well. The fight scenes are perfect; not too close and not too much quick editing, again well balanced that you can focus on the fight. And really you’d wanna see Ho-Sung’s moves. Not over the top like a Tony Jaa or Jackie Chan flick, but he has some nice moves. Finally, Ho-Sung’s character, while the main character of the story, is mostly delegated in the background as the tale moves forward through Barne’s and John’s perspective, but when we do get to Lee, he’s mostly brooding over his lost love, once again very well balanced.
There is some really bad acting in this film. Actually the worst of the bunch is Roger Smith’s Barnes. One scene in particular is when he’s talking to Antonio Fargas’s Priest Riley; it really hurts to watch it. Actually most scenes with Roger are pretty painful to sit through. Seriously watch the film! Ho-Sung also hams it up in a few scenes, putting too much emphasis in his facial expressions.
The ending; I think Lee should have wailed on John a little. Instead you get a really cheap ending to their conflict.
Fist of the Warrior is an excellent balance of drama and action mixed in with some great cameos. Truth be told, even with Roger’s cheesy acting, the film is highly watchable one that most will enjoy. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give “Fist of the Warrior” 3.5 stars and it’s been Valkor tested and TOV approved.