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Ring of Fire (1991)

L.A.'s Chinatown is disrupted by the cross-town rivalry between two kickboxing clubs, as the competitive sport is catapulted from the ring of a gymnasium to a ring of fire.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Johnny Woo (as Don 'The Dragon' Wilson)
...
Julie
...
Chuck
Dale Jacoby ...
Brad
Steven Vincent Leigh ...
Terry Woo
...
Lopez (as Michael Delano)
Eric Lee ...
Kwong
Jane Chung ...
Aunt Mei
Shirley Spiegler Jacobs ...
Grandmother
Marta Merrifield ...
Wendy
...
Bud
Shaun Shimoda ...
Cho
...
Li
Lisa Saxton ...
Linda
Diana Phipps ...
Nurse
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Storyline

L.A.'s Chinatown is disrupted by the cross-town rivalry between two kickboxing clubs, as the competitive sport is catapulted from the ring of a gymnasium to a ring of fire.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for kickboxing violence and sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anel de Fogo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard W. Munchkin had only two weeks to write the film's script. He purposely based the story on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" so as to save time with writing. See more »

Connections

Followed by Ring of Fire II: Blood and Steel (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Shakespearian Kickboxing
6 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While PM Entertainment – that glorious company of action and excess – had already made action movies featuring martial arts, RING OF FIRE is the studio's first genuine karate flick, as well as a triumph for martial arts of the B-movie scale. It's also a pretty unique vehicle for star Don Wilson – possibly one of his best, which is ironic given his limited input to the action content. As a genuinely exciting kickfest that's powered by a real plot and investable characters, I deem this a must-have for fans of low budget action and just about all of the performers involved.

The story: In the middle of a violent gang rivalry in Los Angeles, a doctor and cousin of the Asian gang's leader (Wilson) falls in love with the sister and fiancé of the Surfer gang's leaders (Maria Ford).

I believe this is the perfect role for Don Wilson, who I find enjoyable though not for the quality of his other movies. In an all-time low count for a feature advertised with his name, Wilson has only a single fight – the finale – and spends the rest of the film interacting with others in a dramatic way, opposed to a physical manner. Don is naturally likable and gives a smooth performance, all the while acting well with costar Maria Ford. Ford's acting ability is often underrated in favor of her sexuality, but here it is clearly at the forefront of her performance. Together, she and Wilson make a sound dramatic duo and a believable couple.

Thematically, the movie may not be particularly strong, but I say that it's as significant as the viewer allows for. It's obvious that this is a take on "Romeo & Juliet" with kickboxing, but it's also one of only a handful of films at the time that addressed interracial romance from an Asian perspective. Race relations would be a non-factor in most of Wilson's films to come, so it's all the more significant that he sets such a positive standard for a masculine Asian-American who perseveres for the sake of love. I haven't seen many western films wherein an Asian male is portrayed as desirable and romantic; Wilson makes the absolute most of the opportunity to be both, and delivers one of the best performances of his career.

The action content is both ample and solid, with approximately eight full-length matches providing a good stage for a supergroup of film fighters: Steven Vincent Leigh, Dale Jacoby, Vince Murdocco, Eric Lee, Gary Daniels, Ron Yuan… (And those are only the performers with additional acting scenes.) Admittedly, many of the matches are a bit too heavily edited for my taste, but the occasional creativeness of the choreography and the consistent athleticism of its performers shine through, making for a cumulatively enjoyable adrenaline package. Even the final showdown featuring Wilson (and even more editing) can be considered among Don's personal best, making it worth waiting for.

The film bounces along with an agreeable pace and hums with a level of energy that PM would frequently try to recapture and often fail at. It's enjoyable, and despite its imperfections, that is the most I can ask of a movie. If you know this is your kind of picture, I encourage you to check it out.


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