Saddled with a by-the-numbers revenge plot, poor acting and muddy cinematography, this direct-to-video release is sure to leave plenty of raw feelings among its target audience of martial-arts fans.
Pro kickboxer Johnny Rider (Dale "Apollo" Cook) accidentally kills an opponent in the ring and mopes around as a homeless penitent until his police-informant brother is slain by sadistic kung-fu drug kingpin Rod Sparks (Nick Hill). Seeking revenge, Johnny masquerades as a freelance thug and gets
hired in Sparks's organization. Johnny's payback plans are disrupted by Det. Bill Williams (Ron Hall), Sparks's prime nemesis on the force. This martial-arts cop is also the brother of the kickboxer Johnny killed, and Williams has sworn to take lethal revenge on Johnny. Sparks gives Johnny orders
to assassinate the troublesome lawman. After Johnny saves the intended target's life a few times, Williams voids his vow. The new pals converge on Sparks in his gymnasium lair. After a brutal one-on-one, Johnny makes Sparks fly off a railing to his doom.
Hill seems to be having a grand time as the cackling Sparks, apparently clad in a leftover MORTAL KOMBAT (1995) uniform; but all his scenery chewing doesn't excuse the fact that he's a lousy actor. Heroine-love interest Mychelle Charteris--as the lady officer who sent Johnny's brother to his
death--is so evasive and sketchy a character that one expects her to be a traitor on Sparks's payroll, but that never happens.
The film comes with a pair of Vegas-style songs, "Raw Target" and "Never Say Die," meant to underscore Johnny's soul-searching.
RAW TARGET, like many of its breed, seems to occur in some parallel universe where nine out of 10 extras at any given setting are karate brawlers who erupt into violence at the least excuse. If the cinematography weren't so dim, you might be able to see it. The budget of RAW TARGET evidently did
not cover electric bills. (Violence, substance abuse, profanity, nudity, sexual situations)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Saddled with a by-the-numbers revenge plot, poor acting and muddy cinematography, this direct-to-video release is sure to leave plenty of raw feelings among its target audience of martial-arts fans. Pro kickboxer Johnny Rider (Dale "Apollo" Cook) accident… (more)