Kung Fu comes to the Wild West in this credulity-stretching action pic starring French kickboxer Olivier Gruner. Filled with obvious anachronisms, THE FIGHTER doesn't stint on the de rigueur brutality, which of course is never out of movie fashion.
Part of a French platoon battling Austrians in Texas during a chaotic period following the Civil War, Joseph Charlegrand (Gruner) relaxes off the combat field with a gentlemanly round of the French martial art savate. Not as well versed in honor as Charlegrand's company, Officer Ziegfield von
Trotta (Marc Singer) is stripped of his rank for killing a civilian in Mexico. He subsequently embarks on a vengeance spree against his long-time rival Charlegrand. Left for dead by von Trotta, Charlegrand recovers under the care of settlers Cain (Ian Ziering) and Mary Parker (Ashley Laurence). He
soon becomes embroiled in their real estate negotiations with land-grabber Jack Benedict (R. Lee Ermey), whose chief negotiator is gunslinger Mitchum (Michael Palance). With the aid of Colonel Jones (James Brolin), Benedict fabricates a ruinous tax levy to squeeze out homesteaders. An upcoming
prizefighting competition gives locals hope of raising funds. After Cain is gunned down by Mitchum, Charlegrand agrees to enter the competition against Benedict's representative--von Trotta. Weakened after a gunfight with Mitchum, Charlegrand is badly beaten in the ring by von Trotta until the
fight moves into a darkened church, where von Trotta is weakened by night-blindness. After losing the match, von Trotta nearly shoots Charlegrand in the back but is dispatched by Mary.
Gruner scores in the beefcake and martial arts departments, but his script instincts let him down. Once the novelty of watching martial arts in an Old West setting wears off, THE FIGHTER quickly achieves stereotype overload. Still, genre buffs will forget the endless cliches every time Gruner high
kicks his stems and struts his championship stuff. Only when it's kicking is the FIGHTER a contender. (Graphic violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Kung Fu comes to the Wild West in this credulity-stretching action pic starring French kickboxer Olivier Gruner. Filled with obvious anachronisms, THE FIGHTER doesn't stint on the de rigueur brutality, which of course is never out of movie fashion. Part o… (more)