Pushed to the Limit

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“A title equally applicable to heroine and viewer.”

If I ever become an evil overlord, I will conduct thorough background checks on all entrants to my martial arts tournament, to ensure they are not related to anyone I may previously have had killed. I will also teach my guards that if a prisoner is apparently not in his cell, they will use mirrors to examine all its corners, rather than rushing in and allowing him to drop from the ceiling onto them.

But I digress (if you can do so, before actually saying anything). In this film, wrestling champion Mimi Lesseos plays…wrestling champion Mimi Lesseos. Clearly a stretch for her there, then; think her brother and mother are perhaps also…her brother and mother. Is this a documentary? ‘Course not: real life would never be so cliched and predictable as this, which plods along, almost entirely as predicted. Mimi (Mimi) loses her brother to evil Oriental drug dealer Henry (Henry) – with hindsight, telling “gook” jokes was probably not a wise move on his part – who just happens to run a martial arts tournament. I trust I need say no more with regard to the plot.

Lesseos makes for a decent fighter and a tolerable actress, though the subplot which has her as a showgirl in Vegas is irrelevant, inane and positively wince-inducing. She does rely too much on wrestling moves – flying drop-kicks are not a genuinely viable tactic in deathmatches, I imagine. It’s the story that really kills this. There’s a moment when it seems that the bad guy is becoming infatuated with Mimi, regardless of her background, and this could have gone somewhere. Instead, it’s discarded as she works through a range of opponents, leading to the (yawn) final confrontation with her brother’s killer. The result is something which works, only if you’ve never seen any of this kind of film before – having a female lead is a nice idea, but much more effort is needed, rather than thinking this is sufficient, in and of itself.

Dir: Michael Mileham
Star: Mimi Lesseos, Verrel Reed, Henry Hayashi, Greg Ostrin

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