Fists Of Rage

Fists of Rage sees Ex-WWF wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper star as recently retired cop ‘LT’ in an (apparently) peaceful unnamed urban district of America. The peace is about to be well and truly broken with the return of an old face to the block: Ray. Embittered and street-hardened from a stretch in prison for his part in a shooting that resulted in the (accidental) death of LT’s son, Ray has returned and wants to run the city. For those without street-smarts ‘running the city’ means selling drugs, extorting local business and organising mixed-martial arts events in warehouses. LT is simply not having this, and neither is his (adopted) son Gabriel, an old friend of Ray who has just returned to the hood from a tour of duty with US Special Ops.

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As you can see, Fists of Rage has the production values of an Australian soap. Given that the entire movie was probably shot in series of adjacent warehouses on the same industrial estate you’d think they’d have been able to create a more convincing sense of urban decay. But even if they had, would it matter? Probably not. In fact the unconvincing sets provide an appropriate stage for unbelievable actors playing implausible characters doing improbable things. None more improbable than Ray’s savagely violent attack on two police officers in broad daylight which doesn’t even lead to an arrest because, as we are told, the perpetrators have (false) witnesses.

HMS Jawside

The only thing that disturbs this terrible harmony is John Barry who seems like far too capable an actor to be involved in a film like Fists Of Rage – presumably the reason Barry doesn’t get more work is because he has absolutely no control over the continuous clenching of his jaw, something which quickly becomes a welcome and amusing distraction from the rest of the production.

Even fans of low-budget martial-arts based violence will likely be disappointed by Fists of Rage. The fight scenes, though plentiful, doesn’t ever exceed the level of pantomime farce typical of a WWF wrestling bout. In fact even wrestling fans will probably scoff at the crude and laboured slapstick that characterises the concluding showdown with Ray and his goons.

Fists of Rage

Fists Of Rage is the kind of movie that you would only watch by accident on Bravo if you were drunk and alone on a Saturday night. It’s entertaining in as much as it is hilariously bad in every conceivable way.

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