The Killing Machine
aka Shôrinji Kenpô
Director Norifumi Suzuki Writer Takeshi Matsumoto
First tonight is another film from the king of Japanese martial arts movies, Sonny Chiba. But rather than one of the myriad of Street Fighter clones like much of his Seventies output, The Killing Machine is a period film with a message: a rather cloying message of self-empowerment which gets a little much really quickly. Just stifle your gag reflex and let the skull-cracking begin.
The film opens in the closing days of World War 2.
Based on a real life Shaolin master who attempted to rebuild Japanese pride through Chinese martial arts, The Killing Machine is essentially a one-character study, thought the film touches on the two women in Sho’s life: Kiku, a young soiled innocent Soh tries to rescue from a life in the gutter, and Miho (played by Sue Sister Street Fighter Shihomi) who, along with her reluctant brother, is one of his dojo’s first pupils.
It’s always interesting to see World War 2 and the Occupation period from a Japanese point of view. But that point of view is hammered home with
USA/Philippines 1982 colour
aka Kung Fu Cannibals,
Director/Writer Edward D. Murphy
Cast Cameron Mitchell (Captain Harry Dodds), Geoffrey Binney (Mike O'Malley), Hope Holiday (Hazel Buck), Jillian “Kessner”/Kesner (Cookie Winchell), John Dresden (John Taylor), Jennifer Holmes (Ann Davis), Rey King (Go Chin), Carla Reynolds (Eilleen Fox), Carl Anthony (Lloyd Davis), John Locke (Gary Schwartz), Mark Tanous (Cooper), Ralph Lombardi (Thomas Speer), Chanda Romero (Mayloo), Vic Diaz (monk), Mike Cohen
When your writer AND director is the old boy who played the Captain in Mad Doctor of Blood Island, you may take this as an SOS call.
But fear not – Raw Force is out of its mind. In a good way, of course, but is also foaming at the mouth and howling at the moon. Imagine a film shot by Americans in the
Executive Producer Larry Woolner used to be a mover and shaker at Dimension Pictures, who handled a few Filipino features for the Seventies drive-in circuit; Raw Force was his last hurrah, and has that weird tension between old-fashioned entertainment and what he believes the kids want to see. As such, there’s old has-beens hobbling next to young never-wills. It’s Porky’s with Sidney Greenstreet and David Carradine, and none of it meshes. But with a mess this entertaining, thank god for senile dementia.
Aging name actor Cameron Mitchell stars as the skipper of a rusty tub bound for the South China Sea and Hope Holliday is Hazel Buck, the boat’s
Onto the ship comes Speer, a nasty German with a Hitler mustache looking for white women to steal, and his karate-kicking cronies. The ship goes up in flames, and the remaining cast and crew are adrift in a life boat before washing up on Warrior’s
And that’s the set up for one of the strangest kung fu horror sex comedies you will ever witness. Keen-eyed Schlock viewers will recognize the chubby features of the ubiquitous Vic Diaz as one of the head monks, alongside Mike Cohen who Weng Weng fans will recognize as Dr Kohler in For Your Height Only. All I can say right now is slip the brain into neutral and enjoy, and if you ever needed proof that the Philippines exists in a parallel universe in which our laws of taste, logic and sanity are turned on their heads, it’s this: the 1982 Raw Force.