|Index||9 reviews in total|
After spending a long time searching for this movie, I finally found a
store that had it on VHS for less than $1, and I immediately popped it
in my VCR when I got home.
After reading about the plot I was hooked right away: In the future, kick-boxing has been overtaken by cryogenically enhanced fighters, only one man is still 100% human, but when he refuses to fight in the ultimate lethal tournament, the arrangers kidnap his girlfriend/manager and force him to compete!
The movie did not disappoint me at all, but that might be because I saw so many familiar faces in it, being an avid Albert Pyun-fan, he used the same set of actors he always does: Jahi J. J. Zuri is making his film-debut as one of the fighters, and Thom Mathews is also playing a sympathetic fighter in the tournament, being forced to fight in the competition by the evil mastermind Tung. Tung is played by Pyun's most frequent collaborator, the flamboyant Norbert Weisser, who is aided by always entertaining Tim Thomerson, who here plays the synthetic red-headed leader of corporate scumbags. Earl White and Chad Stahelski are also two guys Pyun uses often, and they're in the movie as Budokam fighters, of which there are plenty.
Although the star of the movie is not one of his regulars, Keith H. Cooke, known from "China O'Brien", here plays the last 100% human kick boxer in the world, Chance O'Brien (co-incidence? I think not), and he actually does quite a good job. The martial arts-superstar Gary Daniels (from "Fist of the North Star") is a great bad guy, with his icy-blue eyes and nonchalant attitude, and the woman both men love is also a Pyun-regular, Tina Coté, who hasn't done many movies yet, but always gives her best performances in Pyun's movies (like "Nemesis 2", "Mean Guns", and "Omega Doom"). This was actually the first movie I've seen where she did not play an obnoxious b*tch, so that was a new experience.
The fight-sequences in the movie are interesting, but after a while it does tend to be a bit tedious to watch, and at times fast-forwarding is probably a good idea to keep interest. If you like both cyborgs and kick-boxing this is definitely a movie you should watch, but if either turns you off, you should probably stay away, as that is pretty much all there is going on in this movie.
Highlight: Keith Cooke running around naked in the Phillipines. The abundance of man-ass is hilarious, but if you're homophobic, this might at first turn you off, but later we get to see Tina Coté's nipples, so there's something for both men and women in this movie, cyborgs or not.
Keith Cooke, the cult superkicker who many people would have loved to
see in more movies, achieves something of a career pinnacle with
HEATSEEKER the only starring vehicle he's had as of this writing.
Disappointingly, this high point does not exactly constitute a
highlight: consistently flawed despite a decent premise and an
explosion of physical talent, the film just barely manages to scrape a
decent rating through sheer sweat and grit. I don't recommend it, but
the B-movie aficionado in me won't allow a lower ranking.
The story: In a future when organized combat is waged by technology-enhanced cyborgs, the single 100% human fighter (Cooke) is forced to enter a deadly tournament by a ruthless corporate agent (Norbert Weisser).
Cooke is in great shape and shows off all his best taekwondo moves, but his character is bland beyond all likability. He and the rest of the performers are at the mercy of a script that directs its energy into unwanted venues. The crux of the story is the kidnapping of the lead's manager/fiancé: Tina Cote was one of the movie's few opportunities for some dramatic worth, but her character spends most of the feature being mind-controlled and molested by the villain in a far-fetched plan to get bad guy fighter Gary Daniels to fall in love with her and be a better competitor. Cooke's character is left almost completely in the background. It's an oddly joyless story, plagued by an epidemic of white characters with Asian names: Daniels is called Xao, fighter Chad Stahelski is called Chung, and in what I assume to be a purposely ironic liberty, Norbert Weisser's character is called Tung and spends the movie adorned in teashade sunglasses.
The fight content becomes the picture's last opportunity for entertainment value, and overall, it succeeds (though to what degree diminishes as viewers' expectations rise). A whopping 20 full-length fight scenes almost guarantee that there will be at least some matches for anyone to enjoy, and the cast includes a nice selection of on screen fighters like Thom Matthews, Burton Richardson, Jahi Zuri, John Machado, and Richard Cetrone. I was pleased to see that significantly less slow motion and obstructive editing has been utilized than the norm for director Albert Pyun's movies, though the choreography tends to be bland and the pacing of the matches is far from dynamic. While not nearly matching my hopes, the Cooke/Daniels dream matchup is decent, though my favorite fight of the feature is a winning effort for Pyun regular Earl White .
There's a bit of B-movie abandon to just keep things entertaining enough throughout, including an odd scene in which Cooke is beaten unconscious by some thugs for no reason before having his clothes stolen by children, leaving him to run naked through Manila. Maybe experiences like that limited the man's willingness to submit himself to the whims of a director, but whatever the reason why ol' Keith never received top billing afterwards, you can be assured that the ranking of his credit does not indicate the quality of this movie. I better post this before I rethink my generosity
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Heatseeker" is an entertaining little cyborg kickboxing flick from
cyborg kickboxing master Albert Pyun. Utilizing the tried and true
trope of a worldwide freestyle fighting tournament, the movie stays in
familiar territory while adding it's own fairly unique details. The
cyber-enchanced competitors are varied and skilled enough in martial
arts to keep things fun, and things move along quickly without much
unnecessary hold up. I say "much" because of the completely out of left
field and sudden molestation of the main character's fiancé by the main
villain, and an extended nude male romp through a city.
Aforementioned villain, Mr. Tung, is actually excellent, completely nailing the slightly deranged, business douchebag, money grubbing schemer character. Keith Cooke (David Schwimmer lookalike main character) does a good job of remaining sympathetic, somehow overcoming the odds and remaining human, literally and figuratively. The end is somewhat sudden, and leaves me wondering how the relationship between Chance and Jo would be after she was basically enslaved, shock-raped, exploited and forced to "love" another man mere hours before their quick reunion. Probably gonna have some issues there.
Overall this film was entertaining from start to finish. Nothing had me absolutely engaged or particularly wowed, but there was not much that had me shaking my head in frustration either. Fans of late 80s/early 90s kickboxing movies would do well to at least give this one a shot.
this could've been a martial arts B movie classic. But if I didn't know
better, I'd swear this was made from a video game. Sadly it's that bad.
That said, I've studied martial arts a long time and the choreography
was interesting enough to keep me watching. That and Keith Cooke is no
joke. He's the real deal and he's been around a long time though he
never had a big enough vehicle to really exploit his talent.
I give it a 5 because I'm a martial arts junkie and a huge fan of cyberpunk. Even sucky cyberpunk like Johnny Mneumonic. However the movie was a letdown in that it really didn't establish the cyberpunk theme. Too bad because the premise is great. A totally human fighter enters a tournament of cyber enhanced fighters. But in fact they could've taken the cyber stuff out, and you'd have the same exact movie pretty much. Oh well, for a late night movie on Sci Fi I can't really complain I suppose. :D
I have often found myself defending Albert Pyun for some of his films that few other people like (like "Nemesis"), but "Heatseeker", a pretentious mix of pseudo-sci-fi and martial arts action, really is one of his worst films. Keith Cooke (whom I first spotted in "China O'Brien 2", where he stole the show from Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton), is an impressive kicker; Gary Daniels is an excellent opponent; and the cast is obviously full of real fighters. If Pyun had cut out all the crap about cyber enhancement and rival bio-engineering companies, we would probably have about 30 minutes of straight fighting. In other words, the movie is watchable, but only if you know how to use your fast-forward button. (*)
Keith Cooke plays the last human kickboxer who competes in a tournament
where men with cybernetic replacements, (Or are they cyborgs, whatever
the case my braincells were lost during the transition) of course he is
forced to fight because his girlfriend (Tina Cote) has been abducted
and is being forced to train Xao (Gary Daniels) who is a cyborg. Also
aboard is Thom Mathews who looks to redeem himself and his father. The
only good thing I can say about Heatseeker is that I didn't have to pay
to see it, since I caught it on the Sci-Fi channel. Unfortunately that
is all it has going for it. Heatseeker also ranks as one of the dullest
features from Albert Pyun. His best efforts being the Kickboxer series
(So far what I have seen) have been works of mediocrity but Heatseeker
comes from a curse that no good movie has ever been made by Pyun, that
involves cyborgs, robots or machines.) His best to date was the
confusing and sub par Nemesis. However with Heatseeker, Pyun is
desperately out of ideas and imagination, so he simply turns this into
a robot jox of the fighting circuit. Also of note is that none of the
fight sequences evoke excitement and overall we are left to watch a
movie that is hideously dull in it's uninspired tone.
* out of 4-(Bad)
Heatseeker is a movie which is definitely not my favourite action movie.
director Albert Pyun has wasted his talent on this sop-chocky pile of a
The whole thing dosen't make sense and I think the actor's were paid a dime to play on this one.
I would've thought that the title "Heatseeker" could've been for a sci-fi movie. But this is half sci-fi and half martial arts.
Well, as for this, this is a thumbs down for this one. I'm not going to see it again!
No budget, no actors, and a plot that has been used so many times that it is threadbare. Red-and-blue oozing neons tries to hide the fact that this is all done in cheap sets, as most video fodders. Avoir this.
In the future scientifically enhanced fighters do battle at a tournament
arranged by the Corporations who developed the technology.
With a bigger budget, a better cast and a more capable director, Heatseeker actually had some potential. Unfortunately, it is poorly acted, badly photographed, and there is a dreadful music score. The sets could also have been much better. The only thing going for it is some halfway decent fight sequences. But this isn't enough to warrant even one star.
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