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Virtual Combat Reviews

VIRTUAL COMBAT treads familiar ground with a gimmicky plot line about fantasy figures from virtual reality games coming to life. For Nevada border cops Dave Quarry (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) and his pal John (Ken McLeod), virtual reality combat is a challenging way to hone kickboxing skills. Meanwhile, Dr. Lawrence Cameron (Turhan Bey) has perfected his astounding "cyberplasmic" theory for greedy mogul Mr. Burroughs (Ron Barker) and DNA-ed two VR sexmates into existence through the company computer. While Burroughs prepares Lana (Athena Massey) and Greta (Dawn Ann Billings) for an out-of-town marketing kickoff, VR game figure Dante (Michael Bernardo) frees himself from the game. Planning to liberate his equally vicious combat cronies from the company's mainframe, Dante celebrates his new life-state by annihilating several peace officers, including John. Lana and Greta break free of Burroughs but fall under Dante's telepathic command, while Dave resolves to avenge John's death despite a manhunt launched against him by Burroughs. Betrayed by his own superior officer, Dave pursues arch-foe Dante, deactivates Greta, and teams up with Lana before she's recaptured. Making short work of Burroughs' thugs, the cop blows up Burroughs with his own enslaver necklace and then squares off against Dante, who destroys Lana for aiding the human hero. Replaying their rivalry from the VR game, Dave and Dante fight to the death. The cop neutralizes Dante and obliterates his cyberplasmic playmates before they're brought into existence via a computer. Action-packed but over-plotted, VIRTUAL COMBAT loses intensity and suspense because of its emphasis on martial arts fight sequences. Wilson isn't actor enough to tame all this film's wilder storylines; with so many double-crosses and public enemies, the movie meanders anticlimactically during its final segments. The film fortunately does have one imaginative element--a "Frankenstein"-like take on virtual reality. Not as spiffy and high-energy as other Don "The Dragon" vehicles, VIRTUAL COMBAT suffers from Andrew Stevens' incohesive direction. Still, if the star's flying feet can't compensate for unfocused direction and cluttered writing, they perform one vital function: distracting viewers from the desire to glance at their wristwatches. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, profanity.)