Kill and Kill Again

release year: 1981
genre: martial arts
viewing setting: home Bluray 5/30/20 and home DVD, 12/25/12 and 5/26/07 and 1/3/07 and 7/24/04

synopsis: An eccentric billionaire has set up a remote island compound and is plotting to rule the world; the only hope of stopping him rests with acrobatic martial artist Steve Chase and his team of karate experts.

impressions: This is a perfect example of a low-budget martial-arts film that's half-fun, half-stupid. For one thing, every single combatant in the movie apparently knows karate - even the lowliest evil henchman or most random bar patron. For another thing, every time Steve Chase hits or kicks someone, he exclaims "Eee-yah!" and this just gets funnier and funnier as the movie progresses. For a third thing, a couple members of his team aren't even martial artists, just brawlers or strong guys. For a fourth thing, the billionaire-tyrant Marduk is wearing the worst fake beard ever seen in a movie. The basic concept of the private army of martial-arts goons was done better in Enter the Dragon. Near the end, there's a series of contests where each good guy has to fight some bad guy, and it's pretty corny. Still, this movie holds a special place in the hearts of my brothers and me; when it came on HBO in the early 1980s, we watched it over and over again, then ran around the house attacking things while shouting "Eee-yah!" Those were good times.

things to watch for: the fight in the bar, or the fight by the truck

something this movie has that no other movie has: a big, ripped, grey-haired #1 evil henchman called the Optimus

acting: James Ryan is Steve Chase, who channels Bruce Lee, and does as much leaping and spinning as he does punching and kicking. Michael Mayer (who first saw fame in the early 1950s as the baby Little Ricky in I Love Lucy) is the head bad guy Marduk, who plays it serious but radiates little menace. Stan Schmidt is the Fly, who slides across floors without moving his feet and spider-climbs down 20-story walls. Norman Robinson is Gypsy Billy, a retired fighter who lives in a junkyard. Bill Flynn is Hotdog, who has no martial arts skills but likes to gamble and eat cigar ash soaked in alcohol. Ken Gampu is Gorilla, a big strong guy which incredibly perfect white teeth. Anneline Kriel is Kandy Kane, who lies about everything but can still display some fighting skill. Marloe Scott Wilson is Minerva, red-haired punk-chick henchwoman to Marduk. Eddie Dorie is the Optimus, a tower of karate muscle who never speaks.

final word: Cheesy but fun to watch.

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