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Decent Martial Arts
Michael_Elliott1 January 2013
Rage of Honor (1987)

** (out of 4)

A Narc agent (Shô Kosugi) gives up his job and goes for revenge after his partner is brutally killed and no one seems to care. It gets even more personal when the drug lord kidnaps his girlfriend and the agent decides to take everyone down. RAGE OF HONOR isn't going to win any Oscars and most people are going to hate it with a passion but if you're a fan of the genre then it should at least keep you entertained. Again, if you're looking for some type of high art then this here certainly isn't going to be your cup of tea but genre fans should eat it up. Kosugi was never an actor and his lack-of-acting skills actually makes for some pretty funny moments and especially in the more dramatic moments. The actor simply can't display any sort of dramatic moments and this at least gives some campy humor to the film. What Kosugi can do is kick major a@# and this is apparent during the various action scenes throughout the picture. The best one and the highlight happens on a hotel balcony as Kosugi's girlfriend is dangling from the side about to meet her death and her boyfriend is in the room fighting. The climax to this fight is pure martial arts material and classic. The supporting characters are all pretty much cardboard and none of them are interesting enough to really make the material better. The film also runs on a tad bit too long, which is another reason the film doesn't work better. With that said, there's enough silly action and camp to make it worth viewing for fans of the genre.
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The VHS Days are Back!
gavin694225 February 2016
A Japanese cop, Shiro (Sho Kosugi), and his partner Ray are after a bunch of drug dealers. But they are betrayed by an insider and Ray is killed. Shiro follows the murderer, a sadistic drug lord, up to Singapore.

This is director Gordon Hessler's follow-up to "Pray for Death" (1985), also starring Sho Kosugi. The general consensus seems to be that the best Hessler-Kosugi team-up was "Pray for Death", but I respectfully disagree. I feel they stepped it up a notch or two for "Rage of Honor", and I really appreciate the James Bond-as-a-ninja theme.

Some people may take issue with Hessler's direction. Cool A** Cinema notes, "Unfortunately, the action sequences suffer the same fate as most American martial arts pictures of the day. There's very few master shots and far too many close ups." That point is well taken, but for those looking for an action film rather than a martial arts film, this may not be easily noticeable. No one should be expecting Bruce Lee.

The Arrow Video blu-ray is not packed with extras, but is far from bare bones and does include a brand new interview with star Sho Kosugi on "Rage of Honor" and the later stages of his film career. We also have an interview with Stelvio Cipriani, the film's composer. The first pressing includes a collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film and an extract from Kosugi's upcoming book. And, of course, you are getting the film in high definition, looking far crisper and cleaner than we ever got in the glory days of VHS -- you can actually see the individual drops of splashing water.
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Delivers some good action.
Hey_Sweden25 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Martial artist Sho Kosugi stars in this fairly routine but also fairly entertaining action film, playing Shiro Tanaka, a narcotics detective whose associate Ray (Richard Wiley) is murdered by a creepy drug lord named Havlock (Lewis Van Bergen). It's only natural that he should want revenge. You see, Shiro believes in very traditional ideas of honor. It's also a given that he'll ignore the warnings of his superior and go on a corpse littered rampage of destruction. "Rage of Honor" may be average in terms of the action/revenge genre, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its moments. Sho has an intense presence, and even if he's rather stiff in his acting, he's anything but when it comes to the game of kicking ass. He designed the weapons himself, and is undeniably very skilled in any and all fight scenes. As you'll see from watching the movie, he's particularly fond of his throwing stars. The movie is a little rough for a while, but its globe trotting nature - moving from Singapore to Buenos Aires - gives it appreciable exotic atmosphere, and we are treated to a little bit of the sights and sounds of the city. Things definitely pick up when Sho gets to the jungle, in search of his good friend Dick (Chip Lucia) and girlfriend Jennifer (gorgeous blonde Robin Evans). The supporting cast is okay but mostly nondescript, although the oft smiling Van Bergen is an amusing villain, and in the tradition of the action movie will need to be "killed" more than once. The direction by Gordon Hessler ("The Oblong Box") basically gets the job done, while that stunning South American jungle scenery is a tremendous asset. Potential viewers can note that there's enough gunfire, explosions, and violence (albeit rather bloodless violence) to keep things from ever getting really boring. As was said, this isn't the kind of thing one would likely watch often, or even more than once, but it's certainly tolerable enough for its 92 minute running time. Six out of 10.
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better than Pray for Death, Shô Kosugi's previous film
disdressed1214 April 2011
this Shô Kosugi movie is better than his previous movie,Pray for Death.at least i think it is.the acting is better,there's more of a story,and the fight sequences are much better.this one is also faster paced.and there's a bit of intrigue,which Pray for Death didn't have.it doesn't have any slow moments.of course it still has the usual two dimensional characters,and it's still not his best movie,but it's definitely watchable.i would watch it again.it's still a revenge flick at it's core though,as most of Shô Kosugi's movies are.but it should keep you entertained for just over ninety minutes,especially if you're a Shô Kosugi fan.for me,Rage of Honor is a 6/10
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Fans really want to see Sho in action, and there is some great stuff here.
tarbosh220001 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Shiro Tanaka (Sho) is a Phoenix, Arizona cop working for the "Drug Investigation Bureau". Both he and his partner Ray (Wiley) are sick of department red tape, and even though they always get results, the top brass is always coming down on them for their "reckless" ways. While working an angle, Ray goes solo to the compound of the sadistic drug lord Havelock (Van Bergen), where he is then tortured and killed. Shiro vows revenge and uses every weapon at his disposal to stop his arch-nemesis, and eventually this leads them both into the jungles of Argentina where the final battle commences. Will the resourceful Shiro win the day? Starting from the opening "party boat" scene, you know you're in for a heavy dose of 80's awesomeness. (frustratingly, the one song used in the film, a Wang Chung/Mister Mister-like jaunt, is not listed in the credits or anywhere online that we could find). Both here and throughout the whole film, Sho's thick accent is in full force. Some of the most hilarious moments in the movie come during the dialogue scenes, where the other actors have to simply pretend his accent isn't unintelligible. So, to keep Sho's dialogue to a minimum, he pauses instead of speaks in many cases. The result is amusing. But the other actors aren't blameless here either - while Sho's name in the movie is "Shiro", it sounds like most people are calling him "Churro". While this would be insulting to Mexicans and Japanese alike, I think we can put this down to lack of understanding of Japanese naming traditions. While this is part and parcel of the whole Sho experience, fans really want to see Sho in action, and they are treated to some great stuff here.

While the film lacks one of Sho's trademark opening-credits displays of his moves, we do see throughout the movie his wide array of weaponry. Some of which he is credited with creating himself. While the bad guys have some noteworthy hardware, such as long , Wolverine-like metal claws that remind you of Terror Claws Skeletor, in almost every action scene, Sho seems to have a tackle box filled with throwing stars, nunchuks, swords, grappling hooks and many other items. One of the coolest is a digital throwing star which blows up on contact. It doesn't get any more awesome than that.

But, if truth must be told, there is some filler in this one. This is director Gordon Hessler's immediate follow-up to Pray for Death (1985), which is a much more consistent film. Yes, Havelock is the classic "hiss-able" bad guy, but Limehouse Willie beats him in both the name and pure evilness departments. Once the action moves to Argentina, it gets dangerously close to a standard Exploding Hut jungle slog, and Sho can do better. We liked him in the scenes with his tuxedo and white scarf, looking suave. Despite what may surround him, one fact is undeniable: Sho is cool.

Interestingly, while Sho is, here, for all intents and purposes, a ninja, the whole "ninja" aspect is not played up at all. No one says the word "ninja" and no emphasis is put there. Perhaps by 1987 the filmmakers felt the whole Ninja Boom was on the wane and they would try out Sho as a cop...who's basically a ninja.

So go back to a time when men smoked in hotel lobbies (and the prerequisite abandoned warehouses), and Sho ruled the video store shelves. While we believe the best Sho movie we've seen to date is Pray for Death, the Cannon-like fun of Rage of Honor shouldn't be forgotten among those who can't get enough of the thrills of Sho.

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"You have to remember that Shiro is Japanese"
hwg1957-102-2657049 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
'Rage of Honor' has a plot one has seen hundreds of times with stock characters and dialogue that goes from the clichéd to the absurd. It does have some attractive South American scenery though and a good music score from the prolific Stelvio Cipriani. It also has Sho Kosugi who may not be able to act but who can do martial arts satisfactorily. The last half hour is mainly action and it is quite exciting though someone must start teaching evil henchmen how to shoot straight. Lewis Van Bergen as the main villain Havlock and Robin Evans as the love interest Jennifer Lane are uninteresting.

Not a film to watch twice.
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The MGM 3-pack has a somewhat widescreen version
udar552 March 2012
Sho Kosugi re-teamed with PRAY FOR DEATH (1985) director Gordon Hessler for this international action flick. Shiro (Kosugi) is a Drug Investigation Bureau (D.I.B.?) agent who seeks revenge after his partner is murdered by drug-lord Havelock (Lewis Van Bergen). He quits the force and flies to Buenos Aires to get his revenge. Oh, I'm sorry, he rages his honor. Shiro is apparently not the smartest cookie as he brings his girlfriend along and she is quickly kidnapped, resulting in a huge chase through the jungles of Argentina. This was Kosugi trying to expand his screen image a bit, resulting in a character that is sort of like James Bond with some ninja tendencies. He doesn't have Bond's instincts though. For example, the "good guys" send a chopper to pick him up and 6 deadly ninjas pop out to kill him. Shiro dispatches of them, yet still follows the instructions of the "good guys" to "take the disc to the abandoned factory" (how he knew which factory is beyond me). The action is very well staged by Hessler, who gives the production a really big budget look. The last half hour is pretty much fighting and shootouts non-stop. The MGM DVD I have have (part of a ninja 3-pack with American NINJA and REVENGE OF THE NINJA) is frustrating in that it starts the film widescreen for the credits and then jumps to 1.85 for the movie. But at least it is better than the full frame single edition release MGM previously put out.
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Expect a couple of neat surprises in this one.
emm23 November 1998
Please do not confuse this title with RAGE AND HONOR starring Cynthia Rothrock. This martial arts / action film is still not pumped up to the limit, but it did deliver some occasional surprises. Our Asian action man, Tanaka, can fist-fight and use a gun simultaneously. Not only that, he also carries a wide arsenal of weapons including ninja stars and bombs, all of which makes this worth an evening rental. Even more, he does about a couple of cool action stunts that rival (but not as good as) Jackie Chan once in a while. It's a fairly solid 80s actioner because of these features. Let me warn you, though. This movie is kind of lame and it won't hold your interest after one viewing. Solid choreography carries RAGE OF HONOR above the average mark.
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Highly entertaining!
HaemovoreRex13 May 2006
The always enjoyable to watch Sho Kosugi stars in this highly entertaining martial arts actioner as Shiro Tanaka, a drug enforcement officer (and ostensibly a ninja to boot!) who swears an oath of revenge after his partner is brutally murdered by a highly organised narcotics gang who are headed by a particularly sadistic (and scruffy looking!) fellow played by Lewis Van Bergen.

Plot wise the film doesn't get anymore advanced than this and it has to be said that the direction is rather muddled to say the very least but frankly who cares – people watch this kind of movie for the action content and in this regards this movie certainly delivers it by the bucket load! Fights break out roughly every few minutes with our man Sho delivering some typically cool moves and utilising some mean looking weapons against his various foes.

Throw into the mix some ninja and hey presto you have a great hour and a half's entertainment! Solid stuff from the incomparable Kosugi yet again who despite clearly struggling with his English throughout, nonetheless carries his usual puissant screen presence.

Highly recommended for action junkies!
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Agent ninja avenger is very 80s
SkullScreamerReturns30 October 2020
This movie is very 80s. It has agents, ninjas, military, evil druglords, jungle tribes... it reminded me of every action movie from James Bond to Rambo to American Ninja.

It also has bad acting, uninteresting characters and somehow boring flow of story. I can't give a really good rating because I felt a bit bored most of the time. But when the action starts, then it gets good. The action scenes may not be the best possible quality but they have certain coolness, with nice stunts, crazy ninja weapons, and enough explosions. I also liked hard rock/synthwave kind of music which seals the very 80s feel.

So, this is not a movie you watch for the story, but if you have a soft spot for 80s' action movies it has a decent dose of that ridiculousness you probably yearn for.
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bronsonskull7220 July 2003
Sho Kosugi stars as Tanaka a ninja who when on vacation fights of a group of mercenaries who killed his friend in this terrible chop socky effort which showcases a hero that is just too invincible to be any fun, also Gordon Hessler misdirects the action and the movie never recovers.
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