Frank Hopkins is a wealthy American MMA champion living in Honolulu. But Frank is unhappy. Despite the exotic cars, extravagant house, and beautiful women, he can always find something to ...
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Frank Hopkins is a wealthy American MMA champion living in Honolulu. But Frank is unhappy. Despite the exotic cars, extravagant house, and beautiful women, he can always find something to complain about. His business partner Axel sends Frank to Manila, Philippines to promote their line of MMA products. Frank's pessimistic attitude irritates his bodyguard, Boy, and Boy's sister-in-law, Girly. But Frank's life is about to change when he is double-crossed, left penniless, and pursued by the police. Boy saves Frank by taking him to his home in the squatter area. But Axel sends a team of American martial arts experts to capture Frank in Manila. This formidable team is led by their guide Shaquille. Can a rich American survive in a Manila slum? Can he discover the secret to happiness there? Can he find love? "Watch ONE PERCENT FULL---a wonderfully entertaining film for the whole family." Written by
The production benefited greatly from the generosity of locals: a neurosurgeon volunteered their office to shoot a scene, a hotel manager offered his hotel for several shots, and cinematographer Hui Kang shot gratis test footage which the filmmakers ended up using in the film. See more »
Burton Richardson is a man known to diligent fans of martial arts. A student of Dan Inosanto and a staple of hybridized fight instruction in the United States, he's also been the choreographer of choice of Albert Pyun for most of the 90s. As it turns out, Richardson was disappointed with the fact that he's almost exclusively worked on pessimistic revenge films, and this dissatisfaction led to his directing debut in the realm of indie cinema. While "positive" action movies run the risk of corning themselves to death and independent films always fight an uphill battle, ONE PERCENT FULL is a competent little feature that fulfills its agenda while still remaining entertaining. By default, it's not for everyone, but if you're a fan of Filipino martial arts and are looking for a movie less aggressive than typical fight fare, check this out.
The story: A snobbish MMA entrepreneur (Richardson) is double-crossed by his partner and stranded in Manila, where his only hope of redemption depends on the goodness of a lowly bodyguard (Ronnie Ricketts) and an orphan caregiver (Andrea Del Rosario).
Despite his slender build and hammy approach to acting, Richardson makes a surprisingly good lead performer and action hero. His martial arts moves are great, but he's also entertaining to watch being a world-class jerk and humbling himself into embarrassment. To this end, the movie presents a slightly idealized world which may alienate some viewers, but in this context, Richardson and his costars do good work. They present a feel-good message about the importance of loving relationships and how teamwork can overcome greed, and I'd be lying if I said my heart didn't get a little soft during the best of these scenes. The film's relatively inoffensive tone presents some definite drawbacks, including the toll it takes on the gravity of the story, but the approach works much better than I'd expected.
Burton's also pretty astute when it comes to the technical aspects of filmmaking. In comparison, a movie like BLOOD TIES demonstrates the directorial excesses that an independent filmmaker may employ to spice up a cheap-looking production, but the Richardson production is not only restrained and professional, it's also one of the few action films I've seen make the Philippines look aesthetically pleasing. Its fight scenes are also good to an extent. Burton's bona fides have been established long ago, and he demonstrates his kickboxing, grappling, and stick-fighting in an exciting and well-shot manner. However, Burton utterly dominates the ten fights with Seagal-esque authority, easily overpowering the fighters sent after him. Though he exhibits a veritable textbook of jiu-jitsu maneuvers and trapping techniques, the fights feel less intense because of the obviousness that our hero is never going to lose.
I cannot honestly rate this feature any higher, but know that my given score is nevertheless very enthusiastic due to the effort this one makes. Burton Richardson seems to have dropped out of film production altogether, and while he did so at a time when it became exceedingly difficult to attain funding for movies, it was at the same time that he seemed ready to show the world what he can really bring to cinema. I don't know if he'll ever helm another feature, but if he does, he'll certainly find me among his audience.
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