“If you thought Showgirls really needed more kung-fu…”
Make no mistake. By few objective standards could this be described as a “good” film. It is, however, one I found entertaining as all get-out, in a “WTF were they thinking?” kinda way. The main story has Hawaiian cop Jo Alwood (Ford) hunting sleazebag psycho mercenary Robert Kell (Broome), He killed Jo’s sister, among a slew of other women, just after she had accepted a position as bodyguard to bisexual S/M pop star Delilah (Mark), who is his final target. If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s a remake of 1992’s Blackbelt, by the same director, which starred Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson as the cop. Ford isn’t as good as martial arts, but makes up for this shortcoming by the frequency with which she takes her top off. Heck, she even combines the two, and does martial arts clad only in a thong, which reminded me of another Roger Corman Philippino production, Angel Fist, from the previous year. Rumour has it, the original star, Charlie Spradling, refused to do the scene, so was relegated to the role of the murdered sister.
If that weren’t enough, Kell kidnaps Delilah’s sidekick/lover, and as ransom, demands that Detective Ford take a starring part in Delilah’s show. Even more bizarrely, she agrees, though I doubt any red-blooded male [and, let’s face it, that’s 95% of your target audience] is going to care about logic, considering the pay-off. That’s an area in which it feels a lot like an Andy Sidaris flick, though he actually shot in Hawaii, rather than as here, trying to fake it with the less salubrious areas of Manilla. He also left the hand-to-hand stuff up to his male leads, but Ford (and her stunt double) does credibly enough there, and is made to look semi-competent. Oh, I almost forgot the largely irrelevant subplot where Delilah’s manager is trying to kill her for the insurance money. Though since this does lead to the thong-based martial arts mentioned above, I’m not complaining too much.
It’s perhaps telling that the male leads – not just Broome, but Bacci as Alwood’s partner – never seems to have appeared in anything else, before or since, and it seems fairly clear that instruction came down from Corman Towers to make this all about the ladies. I’ve seen much less fun films, that didn’t need to be rewritten half-way through: Ford deserves enormous credit for plunging into this with an appropriate level of devil-may-care, and going where Charlie Spradling feared to tread.
Dir: Charles Philip Moore
Star: Maria Ford, Jessica Mark, Jimmy Broome, Antonio Bacci
Sorry: not available in the US. Well done, New Horizon, for helping suppress something promoting your own movie!