Red Sun Rising

  • 1995
  • Movie
  • R
  • Action, Martial Arts

In contrast to most other low-budget American-made martial arts thrillers, RED SUN RISING boasts above-average fight choreography and a strong cast of familiar players in its story of a Japanese cop teaming with a female Los Angeles counterpart to stop a Japanese mobster from fomenting gang war. Kyoto policeman Thomas Hoshino (Don "The Dragon" Wilson)...read more

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In contrast to most other low-budget American-made martial arts thrillers, RED SUN RISING boasts above-average fight choreography and a strong cast of familiar players in its story of a Japanese cop teaming with a female Los Angeles counterpart to stop a Japanese mobster from fomenting

gang war.

Kyoto policeman Thomas Hoshino (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) arrives in Los Angeles seeking to extradite mobster Yamata (Soon-Teck Oh), who escapes police custody before the transfer can be made. Hoshino teams with police detective Karen Ryder (Terry Farrell) to try and track down Yamata before he can

succeed in his plan to ignite a gang war between the Chicano Malitos and the black Icemen and profit from selling weapons to both sides. Yamata's henchman Jaho (James Lew), a hypnotic martial artist who employs the lethal "death touch," continually outwits Hoshino and Ryder and leaves a string of

bodies in his wake. Hoshino reconnects with Buntoro Iga (Mako), his one-time martial arts instructor, who devotes himself to training Hoshino in the skills necessary to defeat Jaho. Finally, Hoshino learns of a rendezvous between Yamata and the Icemen and attempts to break it up and arrest Yamata,

only to be thwarted by a corrupt federal agent (Edward Albert), who has been paid off by Yamata. The Malitos' timely arrival saves Hoshino from certain death and enables him to engage in one last pitched battle with Jaho. His training pays off when he defeats Jaho by using his own newly learned

death touch.

While still a low-budget potboiler with a far-fetched story line, RED SUN RISING is far superior to most similar efforts, including Roger Corman's ongoing series of BLOODFIST films which also star kickboxing champ Don "The Dragon" Wilson. While the fight scenes may be slower and less frenetic than

similar scenes in Hong Kong thrillers, they tend to be more carefully filmed and staged (by Wilson himself) than usual for American films and employ actual martial artists. In addition, the film benefits from tight direction and editing and expert performances from such genre favorites as Mako, in

his familiar role as a wise Asian elder; Soon-Teck Oh, as a smooth Japanese crime boss; Michael Ironside, in a rare sympathetic turn as a police captain; and Edward Albert as a corrupt BATF agent.

The acting of lead Don "The Dragon" Wilson has gradually improved to the point of adequacy, but he fights skillfully and vigorously and is photographed well, benefiting from dramatic lighting. Terry Farrell, from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," is very attractive as the no-nonsense detective with a

sense of humor and a warm, feminine side. Rising martial arts star James Lew makes an imposing and formidable villain, with his long hair, black costume, and menacing but graceful moves. (Violence, profanity.)

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  • Released: 1995
  • Rating: R
  • Review: In contrast to most other low-budget American-made martial arts thrillers, RED SUN RISING boasts above-average fight choreography and a strong cast of familiar players in its story of a Japanese cop teaming with a female Los Angeles counterpart to stop a J… (more)

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