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Bloodfist
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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Small budget, big canvas

7/10
Author: verexal from San Francisco
17 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, let's say it up front, Bloodfist is on the cheesy side, mostly a product of its budget. But that being said, it generates a whole lot of horsepower for the four cylinders it's running on.

I found it in a re-release bin a few weeks ago and had a blast watching it with my karate-taking kid. It boasts volcanoes, a spectacular bay, a cock fighting arena as martial arts arena.

But the fights themselves are terrific (nothwithstanding the occasional whiff) -- the camera is constantly on the move, the editing is sharp and drives the action, the music expands what's on the screen.

The acting is passable -- these are fighters, including the great Billy Blanks. Don "the Dragon" Wilson is green, but so is the character he's playing.

What struck me the most is how the movie presages the MMA era we're now enjoying. Bloodfist helped bring back the martial arts movie, and sprang loose the early fittings for the relentless stuff in Strikeforce and others.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not a bad movie, though the sequels (and remakes) are better

6/10
Author: Karthik Abhiram from India
10 August 1999

Don "The Dragon" Wilson plays a kickboxer named Jake Raye. He receives news from Manila that his brother, Michael, was found murdered. So he goes to the Philippines, to try and find his brother's killer. He meets a man named Kwong (Joe Mari Avellana), who trains him to compete in a martial-arts tournament called "Ta Chang" -- because he suspects that one of the fighters there was Michael's killer.

Some of the actors (excepting Wilson and Joe Mari Avellana) are quite bad, and the fight scenes aren't choreographed very well (you can make out that the fighters aren't really hitting each other). Still, this is an entertaining movie.

"Bloodfist" was remade twice (at least as far as I know), as "Full Contact (1992)" and "Dragon Fire (1993)". I've seen both, and they're better than this one. "Full Contact" is the best of the lot (and it would have been even better had Don "The Dragon" Wilson been in it instead of Jerry Trimble).

Seven sequels (to date) have followed "Bloodfist" -- most of them have nothing to do with the first one. They're all better than this movie (especially parts 6 and 7).

If you like low budget action movies, and if you are a fan of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, you might want to see this early movie of his. Others will probably not like this movie.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Fast, Cheap and Fun

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
3 June 2012

Bloodfist (1989)

** (out of 4)

THE KARATE KID meets KICKBOXER Roger Corman style in this 80's cult favorite. Don 'The Dragon' Wilson plays Jake Raye, a retired fighter who travels to the Philipeans to get his brothers ashes and seek vengeance against his killer. He ends up getting involved in a kickboxer tournament and ends up falling for a big-breasted blonde. If you're looking for an uplifting story or a heart felt drama then it's best you go somewhere else. BLOODFIST, the first of (so far) nine films, is 100% exploitation and you get pretty much what you'd expect from a film like this. It's fast, cheap, questionably made but the most important thing is that it's at least fun. I thought Wilson was pretty good in the lead role and while he really wasn't required to give a "performance," I thought his skill as an athlete was on full display. He really makes for a good hero and he managed to be very entertaining during the fight scenes. The supporting players really aren't all that memorable but you Billy Blanks fans should be happy. The fighting scenes are entertaining but at the same time there's no denying that they were all cheaply done and quite often you have to wonder what the editor was doing. Some of the editing is quite sloppy but I'm going to guess this was due to how much footage was shot and him having to try and piece it together the best he could. For the exploitation factor there's some nudity as well but really not as much as you'd expect to find in a Corman-produced film. There's no question that the film was cheaply produced and it's not going to be mistaken for a classic but fans of cheap action films should at least get some mild entertainment from it.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Bloodfist is worth seeking out.

6/10
Author: Comeuppance Reviews from United States Minor Outlying Islands
30 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jake Raye (Wilson) is an L.A. area kickboxing instructor. A lot of his time is spent regaling elementary school kids with tales of his missing kidney, which he generously gave to his beloved brother, who is also a fighter. When it is discovered that Jake's brother has been killed because of shady dealings involving not taking a dive in underground punchfighting deathmatches, Jake goes to Manila to investigate.

Now a man lost in a strange land, he meets up with Kwong (Avellana), a wise old trainer. Kwong informs him of The Red Fist, a secret fighting society that holds the said deathmatches, called Ta Chang. They hold yearly tournaments, that, according to Kwong, have "no rounds, no rules, no referees and no points". Despite his kidney ailments, Jake must enter the tournament in order to get answers about his brother's killer. So Kwong trains him, and Baby (Shaner), the "wacky" fighter, helps him out as well. There's also the love interest, Baby's sister Nancy (Bowman), and the token "mini-boss" fighter Black Rose (Blanks). Will Jake Raye kick and punch his way to the truth?

Hey, everyone has their own methods of getting answers. Columbo has questions, and Jake Raye has roundhouse kicks. Produced by Roger Corman, there, inexplicably, are nine Bloodfist movies. Only the first two have any connection to each other as The Dragon returns in the sequel as Jake Raye. But apparently this series has legs, whether the supposed sequels were in-name only or not. Looking through our local video store, we always noticed Bloodfist, mainly because of the title. We thought it was kind of silly, as if action movie makers have a list of prescribed words they must use to make a title. The list may go as follows:

Blood Kick Punch Cage Fist Fight/Fighter Death Rage Terminal Extreme Force Impact Maximum Best Match Sport

We are announcing two new action movies to go into production: "Bloodpunch" and "KickPuncher". If you have any more words to add to this tentative list, please write in and leave a comment today.

Back to the Bloodfist, The Dragon is always watchable, and you like him as Jake, the good-natured fighter. Vic Diaz, who has been in every Filipino movie ever made, plays the policeman who hands Jake his brother's ashes in a vase. I guess they cremate first and ask questions later. Joe Mari Avellana, a familiar face around these parts, is perfect as the wise elder who puts Jake through his rigorous training. A movie like this wouldn't be complete without training sequences. Lastly there's Billy Blanks in an early role just bein' Billy. (Just Bein' Billy should the name for an upcoming sitcom featuring Blanks).

The big selling point of Bloodfist is its use of actual fighters, and their official titles and/or ranks appear on screen along with their names in the credits. This was just as important as who they are. While harsher reviewers might call this nothing more than a Corman knockoff of Kickboxer (1989) or Bloodsport (1988), cooler heads should prevail and realize most DTV punchfighting product is all cut from pretty much the same cloth. Some are better than others. Bloodfist might not be the absolute best of the bunch, but it's nowhere near the worst. It's a fairly early entry into the punchfighting sweepstakes, and some sort of attempt was made to make it entertaining, what with the actual plot developments/twists, etc.

For its classic (or near-classic) status alone, Bloodfist is worth seeking out.

for more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Roger Corman's Thrilla in Manila

5/10
Author: RetroRoger from United States
7 September 2004

First starring role for Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion Don "The Dragon" Wilson, 'Bloodfist' is worth every penny of the $4.95 I spent on the bargain DVD.

Forget the critics. This is one of Roger Corman's earliest ventures into the martial arts genre, and, like much of the Corman library, there's lots of respectable bang for the few bucks spent on the production.

First, let's get past the name thing. Wilson has taken some smirks in the media for adding "The Dragon" to his name. But the man was just being pragmatic. I mean, do you remember the other Don Wilson? The paunchy, bulldog-jowled, middle-aged announcer on the old Jack Benny Show? Prior to 'Bloodfist', he was the only Don Wilson anyone had ever heard of in showbiz.

Would you have lined up at the box office for a martial arts movie starring that guy?

The Set-up: Wilson's half-brother is a prizefighter in a shady Manila fight club who ends up dead after winning a fixed fight.

Cut to Wilson back in sunny Southern Cal, who promptly explains to a bunch of grade school field trippers that he runs a gym, but does not box professionally because HE ONLY HAS ONE KIDNEY. He donated the other to his (late) half-brother. This begs the question: Why was the brother fighting? One assumes that he also had one kidney (the donated one), unless Wilson generously gave one of his away because he felt his brother should have two ...?

As in the best Corman films, the action takes over fast, and the field trip isn't even out of the building before Don gets the call that his brother's dead.

The Dragon hops the next thing smokin' to the Philippines, officially to claim the body, but I can't help thinking that in the back of his mind, Don didn't wonder just a little about getting that kidney back. Imagine his disappointment when the Manila officials open a green file cabinet and hand him an urn. Full of his brother's ashes. Including at least one powdered kidney. Nothing left but revenge, since we're already here.

Wilson promptly picks up a painter-slash-kickboxing trainer, a party animal-slash-kickboxer roommate, and a translator-slash-exotic dancer love interest. Which brings us to actress Riley Bowman, who plays the love interest. Where did this woman go? 'Bloodfist' was not only her first, but also her last movie. And Riley exhibited ... ample ... uh ... skills. Exactly the type of open-minded, halfway-talented actress that Corman employed again and again and again in his New Horizon and Concorde flicks. What a loss.

Oh, well. Back to the action. You get a great selection of tournament adversaries for Wilson, who also double as suspects in his brother's murder.

There's a little twist to the ending, tantamount to Burgess Meredith whupping the daylights out of Rocky Balboa.

Better than 'Swamp Women'. Close to the pleasures of 'Attack of the Giant Leeches' or the first remake of 'Not of This Earth' (the Traci Lords one). No self-respecting Corman fanatic should be without a copy of this. 'Bloodfist' is worth a B-movie 5 out of 10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Smashing!

8/10
Author: Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW) from WILMINGTON, NC
11 August 2006

Many martial art films come and go, and yet some are very interesting to watch. Don "The Dragon" Wilson packs a punch and strong kicks in "Bloodfist". I liked all the fight and power-breaking scene. kicking the bottles, smashing the bricks, and the matches, are accounted for will be memorable for all times. The quest is getting the fighter who killed his brother. And boy was he ever brutal! Billy Blanks did a short role as Black Rose. I liked the part where he smashed all the bricks with one chop, and I liked the part where he cartwheels every move. The problem was who won the match between Jake Raye(Wilson) and Rose. That was a bit of a downer. And the real surprise of the movie is where the guy he trained with is a dirty double-crosser, especially when he laced that mango with a narcotic. At least he was able to get the fighter and ripped off his earring was enough to really ridicule him. I would have done the same myself. A entertaining movie, and very articulating in the fighting, which I like the most, could have been better though. 3 out of 5 stars.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not quite a thrilla in Mannila, but enjoyable in its own way

5/10
Author: movieman_kev from United States
28 July 2012

After his brother, Mike, is murdered in Manila, Jake (Don Wilson) travels down there to claim the body and must use his kick-boxing expertise to deal with the local highly-trained hooligans that had to do with his brother's untimely demise. He meets and stays with Baby and his sister Nancy (Riley Bowman)

If there's one fatal flaw with the film, I mean aside from the mediocre fight scenes, is the character of Baby, he's awful and brings the otherwise enjoyable , if not particularly good in the conventional sense of the word, don whenever he's on-screen. The writer of this is currently having fairly good fortune with hit TV show "The Good Wife", so the dues he paid were worth it, I kind of doubt he keeps this one on his resume though. Furthermore, 'The Dragon' would thankfully grow as an actor later in his career. I still hold a (unexplainable) soft spot for this film though.

Eye Candy: Riley Bowman and an extra get topless

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Worst of all bloodfist movies

3/10
Author: theromanempire-1 from Greece
18 February 2012

Don the dragon Wilson is one of my favorite martial arts champions so i was thrilled when i got all 8 bloodfists in one huge box set as a present.

Watching this first chapter i was so disappointed that i was thinking not to watch the rest of the sequels. Gladly i changed my mind and watched all the rest.

It's a shame cause all of the sequels were great for their standard and only part 1 is so poorly made that disappoints in every level.

Only don Wilson can't save this movie. The fights are bad and the story is so poorly made that is way below average even for these kind of b-movies.

Fortunately all the sequels faired a lot better and i suggest u skip this part and begin with part 2.

After part 2 there is no plot continuity as don Wilson play different characters so u don't have problems with plot continuity.

All in all the bloodfist box set is great but not this movie.

If u like don Wilson also check out for the following gems in which he stars...

BLACKBELT

RING OF FIRE TRILOGY

OUT FOR BLOOD

MOVING TARGET

BLOODFIST 2-8

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Enter (Don) The Dragon (Wilson)

6/10
Author: Viva_Chiba from Land of the dead
6 June 2011

Roger Corman had an eye of what kind of movies the audience wanted to see....in the 80's and 90's there was a huge boom in the martial arts genre, Corman produced many martial arts movies starring kickboxing champion Don "The Dragon" Wilson.

The movie itself is stuff that you already saw: martial arts tournament, revenge and some twists (if you have seen Bloodsport and some other movie like that you know of what i am talking about), but is not so bad to get a 3.8 rating and it's not even the worst martial arts movie ever (trust me, i have seen crappier MA movies) My favorite scene in Bloodfist is the fight scene between Don Wilson and Billy Blanks, the slow-motion sound effects are just worth the whole scene.

The sequels are FAR better than this one.

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Lame knock-off of Kickboxer with poor production values throughout

2/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
5 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Produced by Roger Corman and shot in the Philippines, BLOODFIST screams 'cheap' from the outset. It's an obvious rip-off of KICKBOXER and BLOODSPORT, detailing the story of a young man forced to take part in a violent martial arts tournament while seeking his brother's murderer. There the similarities end. Although this film is notable for launching the screen career of fight champion Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, it's a complete mess, and frequently unwatchable.

The lack of budget and talent is obvious in the poor, uninteresting settings and inadequate lighting. The script feels like it was written on the back of a beer mat and the characterisation is cardboard-thin. The worst aspect, for me, is the choreography, which is so poor that you barely see a blow hitting, only people punching the air and their opponents pretending to fall backwards. This makes the many fight sequences laughable, and wastes the genuine talents of the little-seen Billy Blanks and other martial arts competitors.

Wilson himself is a bore, never showing the charisma or skill that made Van Damme a star, and he's hardly a hero to root for. The supporting cast is limited to a Pat Morita-style teacher who shows Wilson how to kick glass bottles off a bench (sad to say that this scene is a 'highlight'). There's also a buxom blonde in a parade of tight-fitting leotards and t-shirts, but she doesn't do a lot to raise the interest of even the dedicated male viewer of this nonsense. Things culminate in a boring showdown where our hero tears his enemy's earring off in fury – yes, that really is the height of the drama here. BLOODFIST is definitely one of the worst movies Roger Corman has ever been involved with. Incredibly, this spawned many sequels, so I guess somebody somewhere liked it!

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