Thursday, January 17, 2008

RSA in the USA

Weird micro-genre: low-budget action films not shot in the US that pretend they are set in the US.

From South Africa, I give you American Kickboxer (aka American Kickboxer 1). It sets up with some exterior LA shots and the hero, BJ, wears a UCLA shirt often. There are a few Americans in the cast, but most of the players are South Africans trying desperately to disguise their accents ... and failing miserably.

Yet AK1 is an entertaining, so bad it's good, movie starring actual martial artists John Barrett, Keith Vitale (karate champion, Superfights, Revenge of the Ninja), and awesome villian Brad Morris. Highlights include workout scenes to hilarious 80s rock songs, they way they make it so thoroughly impossible to like the hero even a little bit, the nebbish sports reporter, and the incredibly pro-looking signage for the broadcasting company carrying the big fight.

Yes there is a sequel (not as good -- don't even think about it).

Another like film is the multi-faceted Kick or Die. This movie announces it takes place in America by having a highway patrolman pull our hero over and say, "Welcome to California." Fooling no one. Again, there are US imports in the cast.

STORY: Kickboxer who left town under a cloud comes back, teaches the local college girls self-defense against the insane rapist/killer stalking them. Takes up with college girl soft-rock singer, who is being managed by his old rival, once a boxer, who wants singer girl for his own. Oh yeah, but who is the crazy killer?

Not only is Kick or Die a film for all countries, it is a film for all audiences. It is a kick-boxing movie, a feminist fight-back against male violence movie, a Star-is-Born story of a woman singer, her mysterious Svengali and the kickboxer who completes their love triangle. A slasher movie, a criminal mastermind movie, and possibly an Amway recruitment film. Investing in this movie was like putting your money in mutual hedged fund instead of a stock. Somebody, somewhere was going to like this movie. Or so they thought.

OK, I liked it, but I might be the only one.

Not on DVD ... yet ...

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