Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Street Warrior
*cautiously opens door of vault*
It’s scary in here, and there’s definitely a funny smell. Possibly of hope dying. This explains why I’ve not reviewed anything in a long time. Heh.
Actually, I’ve just been lazy, to be honest. Nevertheless, I am still watching rubbish hoping to sift out nuggets of gold, just most of what I’ve seen hasn’t really been worth a review. For example, I have literally nothing of interest to say about Metamorphosis (1989) other than “shit film, but funny to see an early cameo from Barney the Dinosaur”. I have got forthcoming reviews of some gold such as Chainsaw Cheerleaders (and Ninja Cheerleaders if I can ever find it) coming soon, but in the meantime here’s a brief review of 2008’s alleged underground fighting film Street Warrior.
Wow, this is ludicrous. However, I want to bitch slap whoever came up with the opening titles. On one hand, I do appreciate the dedication to stuffing them full of as much gratuitous nudity as can remotely be imagined, but on the other I am less than chuffed to discover they represent a montage of the ENTIRE FUCKING FILM. Who thought that was a good idea? Seriously? You can just watch these credits and then give a reasonable synopsis of the entire bloody plot. Mind you, you can probably do that without even going to the hassle of watching for this long. Or even reading this review.
NIck Chinlund (frantically working to pay the mortgage) plays Mr. Pope. Mr. Pope runs an underground boxing/ MMA ring called The Gauntlet. His main man (a huge beast of a man, actually) Isiah (Sidney S. Liufau) pummeled some poor bugger into a coma in seconds and he realises he now has a marketing problem- the dude is just unbeatable. In the meantime, Jack (Max Martini) has been booted out of the military for beating his commanding officer so badly that the guy had to retire. It turns out, and I bet this comes as a shock, that the kid beaten into paste at the beginning was his brother. So, Jack, with the aid of his sleazy strip-club owning friend Georgie (Max Perlich), who incidentally only owns the strip club to jam a quite impressive collection of naked titties into the film, and girlfriend Maggie (Valerie Cruz), joins the Gauntlet to get revenge. Will he win?
What do you think?
This, actually, is quite an entertaining little film, with a few standout moments. It’s dumb as hell, admittedly, and the script is so ridiculously over-egged (Pope has a hot Chinese assistant/ bookie, and is an expert in Kendo) that it becomes strangely likable very quickly. Georgie, for example, is a strip bar owner, so therefore could be interpreted as being part of the underworld already, yet slides easily into the comedy sidekick role. I can’t think of another film with this obvious inconsistency in it. Pope also breaks all his own rules with the fights- he keeps going on and on about how he’s in it for the money, and so forth, yet rushes the last fights through to climax- fuck knows why. That can’t be good for business.
The acting is, in a word, patchy. Chinlund relishes his “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE” intros, but seems to be ringing it in otherwise, while Martini is a bit of a plank for the most part. Cruz is passable in a totally underwritten role and Perlich decent as the comedy sidekick. The best acting by far comes from the other fighters, with Danny Arroyo giving it his all as Luchador Santo, and Gary Kaspar hamming it up something fierce as hate-figure/ neo-Nazi Baldus. Actually, I have no idea why this character is in the film, given that we already have an obvious hate figure: Isiah, who opened the film injecting himself with rage steroids before beating our hero’s brother into a coma. Do we need another one? I would argue that, no, we don’t, and it’s another example of the film wanting to have its cake and eat it.
The fighting itself is, as to be expected, wildly over-enthusiastic. Realism isn’t big on the cards here, and the film is all the more entertaining for it. Santo hops around like the proverbial jumping bean, while Baldus trundles about being offensive and beating his opponents to paste. Our hero, Jack, on the other hand, is nigh on indestructible, and capable of knocking out 260 pound behemoths with one punch (actually the best scene in the film). Funnily enough, the random fights in the market and the strip bar are a hell of a lot more entertaining than the “event” fights, but this may be because of the more structured nature of the gauntlet bouts.
Overall, this isn’t bad. I actually quite enjoyed it. Street Warrior is so gleefully over the top and enthusiastic that I found it almost infectious. Several bits of it made me smile, a few made me laugh out loud, and much to my astonishment I found myself having a good time. This is a film that’s so eager to please that it’s almost impossible to hate on, and while it is dumb as hell, and quite frequently shoddy, it’s so over-egged and so keen to make you like it that in the end, by the slimmest of margins, I’m going to approve it.
Not a classic, by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly an enjoyable time. Which is more than can be said for most of the trash I’ve reviewed in this category.
I’ve got quite a few options for next time, so until then,