Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Raw Force (1982)

For more overlooked films go here.
Simply put, RAW FORCE is one of the most entertaining films of all time. It doesn't have great acting or beautiful cinematography or a nuanced screenplay. What is does have is the perfect combination of weird and stupid, which should be enough to keep anyone from checking their watch for this film's entire action-packed 83 minutes. 

The film involves a group of instructors from the Burbank School of Karate who book a bargain cruise around the Phillipines in the least seaworthy-looking ship since Gilligan took his three hour cruise. The ship, captained by Cameron "No Paycheck Too Small" Mitchell, is headed for a new destination: Warrior Island, which the brochure refers to as the home of disgraced martial artists. This doesn't sit well with crooked jade trader Thomas Speer (Ralph Lombardi, made up to look exactly like Adolph Hitler for no discernable reason). You see, he has a business arrangement with the monks of Warrior Island. He supplies them with women kidnapped from local brothels and in return they give him all the jade he wants. But like everything else in this movie, all is not what it appears to be. The monks don't want the women for sex, but for food. It turns out that human flesh gives the monks the power to raise the dead and command an army of (disgraced) zombie martial artists.

When Speer learns of the ship's destination he hires a squad of goons to dispose of all the passengers, leading to the priceless piece of dialogue over the ship's PA, "Maniacs have boarded the ship. Go back to your cabins." However, Speer and the goons have underestimated the martial arts prowess of the karate instructors as well as the ship's cook, who is also a martial arts master, and a female passenger, Cookie, who just happens to be a vacationing member of the LAPD SWAT team.  The goons succeed in destroying the ship, causing our heroes to become shipwrecked on Warrior Island. However, the monks aren't too happy about intruders invading their home so they force them to battle to the death against their (disgraced) kung fu zombie army.

The above description doesn't even begin to convey how crazy this movie is, and I mean that as a complement. Everything in this movie, from the dialogue to the sets and costumes, is just insane. Just when you think it can't get any nuttier, it does. It also helps that it's really well paced and doesn't overstay its welcome. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a good cannibal monk movie but in my opinion RAW FORCE really hits the spot if you're looking for some no brainer fun. 

The trailer may not be work safe, btw.

1 comment:

  1. And to think, American Panorama didn't become a major studio on the back of this.

    Good double-feature with FANFARE FOR A DEATH SCENE?