Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rage of Honor

This movie had won me over before I even watched it.  Look at that DVD cover!  There is a ninja dropping several stories (or, I suppose, the building could be rapidly erupting from the ground while the ninja jumps) with a helicopter in the background.  Awesome!  And what a great title!  Rage of Honor: it says "I have principles and standards that elevate me above most men, and am filled with an all-consuming fury because of it."  How can you go wrong with a movie like this?  Oh.  Sho Kosugi is the star.  Surely, even his poor command of the English language cannot derail a movie as promising as this, right?  ...Right?

The movie opens with Shiro Tanaka (Sho Kosugi) and his partner, Ray, cleverly blending in on a drug lord's party yacht by posing as waiters.  When the opportune moment arrives, look out --- it's a drug bust, courtesy of the DEA!  No...?  I guess somebody in the government didn't want the public to know how they do business, so the drug enforcement agency in this movie is the Drug Investigation Bureau.  Anyway, it's an in-your-face extreme bust, thanks to the notorious DIB!  Man, those drug lords are so confident in Miami...wait...that's not Miami.  That's Buenos Aires!  Um...so the movie starts with an American drug agency making a bust in Argentinian waters?  You know, reading it summarized in one sentence makes that sounds completely reasonable.

When Shiro and Ray (with the help of one other guy, from the looks of it) make their move, Shiro's first action is to walk halfway up some stairs and stick his gun muzzle right between the buttocks of the guy standing at the top of the stairs.  Remarkably, the guy with a gun centimeters from ruining his rectum does not follow orders when told to freeze.  Actually, nobody freezes.  That's when Shiro breaks out a DIB agent's best friend: the shuriken.  Shiro shoots some baddies and shurikens a few more in the face, but one guy tries to escape!  The nerve of some people!  Come take your shuriken to the face like a man!  This is where Shiro's extensive DIB training becomes important.  He follows the department manual to a tee: he jumps off the pleasure yacht, does a triple flip, and lands in a civilian boat that happens to be passing by at the time (apparently, gunfire just made them curious).  Shiro kicks the driver in the face, throws him out of the boat and chases the escaping (presumed) felon.  When guns don't stop the bad guy, a shuriken to the face does, and the boat hits something and explodes.  Just like in the DIB manual.  Back on shore, as Shiro and Ray mop up the remaining bad guys and bring them into custody (whose?  I'm not sure...), their boss shows up (in Argentina!) and gives them some BS about "blah blah blah police force in foreign nations blah blah blah."

And that's just the first scene!  The rest of the movie has the Argentinean drug lord (who is white, wears white pants at all times with a scarf, and maintains a proud curly mullet) track down Shiro and Ray.  Well, Ray tracks down a drug hideout and infiltrates it without backup.  Not because he's stupid, but because Siro was on a date that night.  Ray is murdered and Shiro vows to avenge his death.  This involves Shiro and his girlfriend (one of about thirty worn-out blondes in this movie) traveling to Buenos Aires to take on the evil drug lord in the jungle.  Of Argentina.  A country that is normally jungle-free.

Some of the more noteworthy bits of awesome knowledge dropped in this fine example of Lefty Gold cinema:
  • Somersaults and flips are apparently bulletproof
  • The best way to disguise yourself is to adjust your collar and shift your eyes frequently
  • The DIB has its base in the political hotbed of Washington, DC Phoenix, Arizona
  • Shiro's jerky behavior is explained away as a symptom of his Japanese upbringing.  That's not racist, it's just a fact of life
  • The best parties feature homoerotic Swiss cowboys doing exhibitions.  But you already knew that
  • Local news programs report on the progress of two-passenger planes traveling internationally
  • The heaviest flow of illegal drugs in the Western Hemisphere is from Buenos Aires to Phoenix, Arizona
  • Running through the jungle does not make your clothes sweaty or dirty
  • Argentina apparently grew a jungle
  • Indigenous tribesmen in the jungle hide in the shadows, using fluorescent body paint to blend in
  • Ninjas jumping out of helicopters always have camouflage ninja suits
There's more, but I'm going to save them for my thesis paper."So, how was the movie?"  Poorly acted, ineptly directed by Gordon Hessler, probably written in crayon, and absolutely ridiculous.  As a film, this is a stupid one, even for Sho Kosugi.  It deserves worse, but it's actually kind of fun.

But as pure entertainment, it rates a bit higher because, while bad, it's not painful.  The action is frequent and the oddities in the film are so numerous that you don't even have to pay attention to notice some.  As Lefty Gold, I give Rage of Honor

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