Hard Way Out: Bloodfist Viii

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Action, Martial Arts, Thriller

This misconceived blarney, loaded with plot cliches and hokey combat, bodes ill for the Irish kickboxer-espionage genre. Widower Rick Cowan (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) is a high school teacher and a pretty dull guy, at least to his rebellious teen, Chris (John Patrick White)--until assassins try to kill them. It turns out the reason for dad's long absences...read more

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This misconceived blarney, loaded with plot cliches and hokey combat, bodes ill for the Irish kickboxer-espionage genre.

Widower Rick Cowan (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) is a high school teacher and a pretty dull guy, at least to his rebellious teen, Chris (John Patrick White)--until assassins try to kill them. It turns out the reason for dad's long absences during the boy's childhood was his secret work as overseas CIA

operative "George Macready." One of Cowan/Macready's missions led to the JFK-style murder of an Italian politician, and now it appears Rome is striking back.

Cowan and son flee to Ireland, home of the Major (Richard Farrell), a retired spy Cowan can still trust. Too late, the Major learns that the Italians are just hirelings, employed by Cowan's old Company boss, Michael Powell (Warren Burton), to eliminate witnesses to his own involvement in dirty

tricks. Powell and his flunkies seize Chris--repeatedly--and the kid gains a new appreciation for his old man as Cowan shoots, kicks, and chops down the baddies in their shipboard hideaway.

The BLOODFIST series consists of several martial-arts features from Roger Corman, linked only by action-hero Wilson in the main roles. Except for the realistic prison drama BLOODFIST III: FORCED TO FIGHT (1992), all are forgettable, and by the time the eighth installment rolled around, the

filmmakers evidently felt behooved to acknowledge Wilson's younger fans with the hackneyed father-son bonding. Too bad both Wilson and "juvenile" lead White could pass for being in their mid-to-late 20s. Though he sometimes plays conflicted Asian-Americans, Wilson is actually of Japanese-Irish

descent, which perhaps explains the odd sortie to the Emerald Isle--with its nonstop lute and uilleann pipe melodies on the soundtrack--and a fight in a cramped village pub that replaces the customary biker bar-strip club brawl.

Even the combat is substandard: The punch-outs are framed much too tightly, and the edits confound coherency. The plot is all predictable double-crosses and cartoon cynicism about a CIA that resembles the Mafia, but with less honor. Viewers smart enough to get in-jokes in character names like

Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, and George Macready deserve better. (Violence, profanity.)

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This misconceived blarney, loaded with plot cliches and hokey combat, bodes ill for the Irish kickboxer-espionage genre. Widower Rick Cowan (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) is a high school teacher and a pretty dull guy, at least to his rebellious teen, Chris (J… (more)

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