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9 user 22 critic

Death Force (1978)

An American Vietnam soldier on his way home is left for dead and is saved by a pair of Japanese stragglers from WWII, who train him in the way of the samurai.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Iglehart ...
Doug Russell
...
Morelli
...
McGee (as Leon Isaac)
Jayne Kennedy ...
Maria Russell
Joe Mari Avellana ...
(as Jose Mari Avellana)
...
(as Joonie Gamboa)
Armando Federico ...
Rico
Cathy Sabino
...
Jimmy Russell
Allen Arkus
Tony Carreon ...
(as Tony Carrion)
Ernie Carvajal
Vic Diaz
Ramon D'Salva
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Storyline

After being left for dead, the man is rescued by two Japanese soldiers, living on a remote island, who teach him the ways of the samurai. Upon returning to the USA, he quickly exacts a bloody revenge on his tormentors and reunite with his wife and son.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beaten, Betrayed and Bustin' Loose! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Crime | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

September 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fighting Mad  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Connections

References The Born Losers (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I love you, Cirio H. Santiago!
16 September 2016 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Like the case with so many "notoriously awful" Z-grade exploitation directors, I have a love/hate relationship with Cirio H. Santiago. Of all that movies that I have seen of him, I honestly couldn't award any with a rating higher than 3 out of 10, but at the same time I certainly don't regret having seen them! Some of his works are just plain terrible ("Demon of Paradise", "TNT Jackson") while others are hilariously inept but non-stop entertaining trash hits ("Equalizer 2000", "Future Hunters", "Caged Fury"…). With "Death Force" Santiago delivers one of the better titles of his impressive repertoire; a vigorous and raw action picture with a couple of ludicrous plot ideas, flamboyant characters and – especially when approaching the finale – a bunch of cheap but gory massacres! Lots of bad muthas losing their heads in the final act, I guarantee you! But the thing that makes "Death Force" particularly unique is that it can be categorized in no less than three different exploitation sub genres. With its many story lines and colorful cast of characters, the film qualifies simultaneously as Kung-Fu/Samurai action, Blaxploitation and revenge thriller! And what's really funny is that there are also enough alternative titles to fit the different categories, as the film is also known as "The Black Samurai", "Fighting Mad" and "Vengeance is Mine". At the end of their tour of duty in 'Nam, three buddies named Morelli, McGee and Doug (the former a white boy, the other two black guys) have smuggled a fair stash of gold. Morelli and McGee have the ambitious plan to become the mob bosses of Los Angeles, but they righteously fear that Doug is too much of a soft family man that will hinder them. Morelli comes with the idea of killing Doug and McGee immediately agrees, also because he's always been jealous of Doug for having such a beautiful wife. They cut Doug's throat and throw him off a yacht, but apparently they didn't properly lean to kill in Vietnam, because Doug survives and washes ashore a small island. Seriously, how do you fail slicing somebody's throat? The plot gets even more deranged when the little island turns out to be inhabited by two ancient Japanese samurai warriors that still believe WWII hasn't finished and refuse to surrender. While Doug receives a full samurai training on the island, Morelli and McGee work themselves up to fearsome LA crime lords (illustrated through dozens of shootout sequences) and McGee also aggressively stalks Doug's wife. Dough eventually leaves the island - though not before a cheesy and fake-sentimental farewell to the 2 samurais - and head backs home with only vengeance on his mind. You can say a lot about our pal Cirio H. Santiago, but not that he didn't do his homework and carefully studied action blockbusters of the 70s decade! "Death Force" is a typical product of its time, stuffed with redundant romantic interludes, wannabe groovy music and costumes martial arts. Bad blokes Carmen Argenziano and Leon Isaac are the most familiar faces in the cast, and it shouldn't come too much as a surprise to learn that Q. Tarantino is a big fan of this junk as well.


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