Dr. Johnny Wu becomes involved in a global Mafia arms cartel when they kidnap his son Bobby. The cartel, made-up of underworld leaders from around the world, become aware that he stumbled ... See full summary »
Thomas Hoshino (Willson) is a tough Japanese detective, who lost his partner by a deadly Yakuza killer Jaho (Lew). He tracks down the killer and his master to Los Angeles, where he teams up... See full summary »
A lawyer's family is murdered by drug smugglers, and he is beaten and left for dead, but survives although in a coma. When he awakes he only has a partial memory of what happened. In order ... See full summary »
Agent John Sato ( Don 'The Dragon' Wilson), leader of an assault team of LAPD, is considered responsible for the death of a colleague, took place in the course of action. Expelled from the ... See full summary »
Jack Cutter is the last in long line of vampire hunters. After killing few vampires in one L.A. restaurant, he is chased both by police and by other vampires. In the process he meets an ... See full summary »
Eric is a secret agent currently working as a security guard for Senator Dilly. The senator is the main advocate for a new kind of police officer: the Tracker, a perfect and nearly ... See full summary »
Scientist brings virtual reality characters to life. Two are women from the cybersex game site. The third is a warrior who wants to unleash the rest of the bad guys from the virtual reality... See full summary »
On Earth in the future Don "The Dragon" Wilson takes on a sinister corporation that trades in black market human body parts. He single handedly manages to restore law and order in a motion ... See full summary »
Don Wilson plays retired kickboxer Jake Raye, who travels to Manila, where his brother is favored to win a kickboxing competition. His brother is killed, and Jake realizes he must enter the... See full summary »
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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