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Il ragazzo delle mani d'acciaio (1990)

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Kevin Foster (Antonio Sabato Jr) is a new teen who arrived at a small town. A dance competition takes place on Kevin's first night out. He approaches the most gorgeous girl, Connie (Dorian ... See full summary »


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Title: Il ragazzo delle mani d'acciaio (1990)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Foster (as Antonio Sabàto Jr.)
Natalie Hendrix ...
Kim (as Natalie J. Hendrix)
Dorian D. Field ...
Robert Chan ...
Andrew J. Parker ...
Jeff Hunter
David Warbeck ...
John Foster
John Palmer ...
Timothy Smith ...
Jennifer Cohen ...
Sharon Canterbury
Genevieve Pouton
Patrick M. Seyden
Michael Jones
Thomas Lentz
Peter Hedley


Kevin Foster (Antonio Sabato Jr) is a new teen who arrived at a small town. A dance competition takes place on Kevin's first night out. He approaches the most gorgeous girl, Connie (Dorian D Field) inviting her to compete with him in the dance not knowing her already boyfriend Jeff (Andrew J Parker) is close by but Kevin keeps dancing with Connie and together win the dance comp. Jeff offers Kevin another competition in a race with their cars in what they call the Tunnel Of Death. Kevin wins again and enrages Jeff who is a black belt in Karate beats up Kevin. Kevin later meets an ex Karate champion who starts teaching Kevin martial arts. Along the way, Kevin meets Kim (Nathalie Hendrix) who befriends Kevin but secretly falls in love with Kevin. Kevin is then forced by Jeff to compete in a Karate tournament being held at Jeff's Karate school. Kevin made a bet with Jeff that the winner can have Connie and a truce will be made. Now it's time for the final showdown. Written by markroberts

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karate | high school | See All (2) »


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Release Date:

November 1991 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Kid with Iron Hands  »

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User Reviews

"I don't know what else I can try to do to make a human being out of you!"
9 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While browsing through a thrift store, I came across a Region 2 release of Antonio Sabato's first movie, an Italian-filmed English language knock-off of THE KARATE KID called THE KID WITH THE IRON HANDS (A.K.A. KARATE ROCK). Now, I like karate B-movies, but I can honestly say that this here is not only the worst KARATE KID derivative I have ever seen, but it is also the single worst martial arts picture I have watched in my life. There is so very little redeeming value to this illogically-made movie that it baffles me - how can anybody make a film about martial arts that's so deficient in all aspects of cinematic entertainment? Well, director Fabrizio de Angelis found a way, and everybody reading this review ought to be glad you haven't heard of this debacle before.

The story follows the basic KARATE KID premise - a new kid on the block (Sabato) runs afoul of the local karate-practicing bully (Andrew Parker) because of a girl (Natalie Hendrix) and ends up learning the martial arts from a wizened old master (Robert Chan) to save his social life - but it's the laziest and most flawed retelling ever. I'm not even sure if the film deserves the word "karate" in its title, since Sabato's character doesn't learn the martial arts until the final 18 minutes of the movie. Seem like a short time? - the characters agree, with the bully making a comment indicating that only a single day passes between Antonio learning the moves and his climactic showdown. Until then, the plot revolves almost singularly around a popularity contest between them, highlighted by a set of car races.

Of the few low-budget Italian films that I've seen, none of them have been very good, but this one's lack of sophistication stands out; it's practically at Joe D'Amato levels of klutziness. On the technical side, the movie not only features poor visual quality, but is also filled with unnecessary exit shots (cars driving away, characters walking away), unsettling close-ups, unfathomable emphasis on minor characters making throwaway comments, obvious dubbing of characters' voices, and an awful electronic soundtrack. Dramatically, the performers need to contend with forced dialogue clearly not penned by a native English speaker. A lot of the writing is simply awkward, like how everybody in Antonio Sabato's new homestead immediately knows his name and everything about his past. Aesthetically, the movie is boring to look at, with an unexciting color palate and dreary visuals.

I like to talk about a film's action content in my reviews, but in this case there's so little to talk about that it hardly merits its own section. Disregard the cover art: Antonio's shirt is never ripped to shreds and there are no muscular black men or switchblades in this movie. Throughout the course of 92 minutes, our hero is beaten up twice, partakes in two car races, endures one training montage, and has the necessary finale with the bully afterward - *none* of it any good. Literally nothing happens during the races - no crashing, no overtaking, not even any turns being made - and both of the encounters which actually include karate qualify as among the worst fights ever filmed...well, at least one of them does, since the other is such a quick, one-sided beat-'im-up that it hardly qualifies as a fight. I'm convinced that the director actually became embarrassed of the quality of the final showdown, since the way the onlookers' heads obscure the action seems intentional.

The worst of this movie's offenses is that it's so boring. Admittedly, I cracked up laughing a couple times, but these were fits of disbelief at how shoddy of a piece of work I was watching. Mirth and amusement were far removed as I sat through this, the only relief from which came of knowing that I'd never ever have to watch it again. Since Fabrizio de Angelis has made other movies, it's very possible that there are worse martial arts pictures out there, but again, in my experience, this one personally takes the cake and throws it against a wall.

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