THE SUPER-KUMITE continues to be a rewarding viewing experience. In this battle between TEAM BOLO and THE WOMEN I was able to see two fairly ridiculous movies, both loosely based on the BLOODFIST template, and by watching them in such proximity I’m really able to properly appreciate them as valid variations on an American-ish artform. So which will it be: the MBA who goes to Hong Kong and enters a tournament after his brother dies of a drug overdose, or the cop who goes to Manila and enters a tournament after her sister is killed for knowing too much about an assassination?
Let’s consider what we got here:
Both FEARLESS TIGER and ANGELFIST have the weakness of a tournament that is somewhat incidental. But ANGELFIST at least places it at the end of the movie as the location of the other climax, and the movie seems to care about the outcome of the fight, which FEARLESS TIGER strangely doesn’t. So ANGELFIST is better tournament-wise.
Both have pretty good older mentors (although neither with much screen time). FEARLESS TIGER’s is very traditional, a wise, elderly master (plus Bolo as bonus mentor). ANGELFIST’s is more cool and macho, with that awesome mustache. But part of what I like about him is the unspoken bond he seems to have with Kat, and then it turns out to be fake, so fuck that guy. FEARLESS TIGER wins in the mentor category.
FEARLESS TIGER has the more memorable villain. Not necessarily through anything in the script, but that Lazar Rockwood guy just has such a weird vibe. I definitely gotta give the movie credit for casting him. I glad to know about him.
Both are on the cheesy b-movie side, but I would say ANGELFIST is more competent filmatistically and moves along faster.
And ANGELFIST has by far the better protagonist. Merhi is I think a more legit martial artist than Sassoon, but lacks her screen charisma, and is playing a character who is immature and annoying. Sassoon’s character is arrogant in more of a funny Kurt Russell way and not in a self-centered little kid kind of way.
So it’s kinda close, but…
I gotta give this one to the ladies. Sorry Bolo. It wasn’t your fault. The Women will be moving to the finals, represented by a movie called BARE KNUCKLES (2010).
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.