Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Naked Fist aka Firecracker (1981)

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Tagline:

She'll blow you away!

Back of VHS:

A young American woman travels to the Orient to find her sister. Don't under-estimate her powers... she's seductive, she's beautiful and she'll make you think you're in heaven... but if you stand in her way, she'll use her best weapon against you... her NAKED FIST.

Movie Review:

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A few days ago I picked up a large haul of tapes on eBay from a dottery old guy that didn't know what he was selling. There was a lot of junk in there (Wild Things 2, Dracula 2000, and some Tom Hanks movies) but among the trash was some actual good trash. PM Entertainment movies, war action movies, bad horror and this little gem. I hadn't heard of it before but the cover sold me straight away. The title alone will get me added to 'not safe for the workplace' lists.

The story is basic. Jillian Kesner travels to the Philippines to find out what has happened to her sister who went missing when writing a report on the local drug cartel (In fact she was at an underground fight shown at the beginning of the movie and taking snaps of the brutality before getting hauled off by some Filipino's). No sooner than Kesner gets off the plane and arrives at her motel then she is attacked by robbers in her room. Luckily she is in her underwear at this point which makes it easy to dispatch the would be villains with some of her level-five black belt Karate training.

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Kesner leaves to look for her sister at a bar. The bar man hasn't seen her in weeks and has been holding a message for her. As he goes to get it a bar fight breaks out to which Kesner feels obbliged to involve herself in. This movie may have come out in 1981 but it's more like 1974 with the Hong Kong style martial arts on display, complete with chop-sockey sound effects. Kesner is a great fighter and is aided in this battle with the beefcake bar man and a random Bruce Lee clone. There is no rhyme or reason to this fight but it's hilarious all the same. The bar man shares the message with Kesner and develops photos she had taken, identifying a local bad guy Chuck Donner (played by Darby Hinton with a great moustache).

Ken Metcalfe, a recurring name in Filipino exploitation movies, both writes and stars in Naked Fist, though his role isn't huge. He plays the part of the drug overlord and underground fight club owner Erik who orders Chuck around and gets angry at failed attempts to get his stolen drugs back. Kesner fakes interest in joining his tournaments in the hope of finding out more about her sister but gets in various troubles along the way, all resulting in fighting. She even beats up a snake.

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There's so much gold in Naked Fist and at 77 minutes run time it never really goes bad. We get a bit of gun play as well but the fights rule supreme here. The highlight of the movie is when Kesner in a long dress and high heels is on the street and gets attacked by thugs (of course). The fight goes on as usual until one thug tears her dress off and she keeps fighting in her lingerie again! Just when you think it couldn't get better, one of the thugs cuts her bra off from the front and in a very Carry On moment, the twins pop out - and yet still she keeps fighting! Naked Fist was seriously made for sixteen year old boys and I thank the director for that. Pay special attention in the background of the 'bra removal' scene in the warehouse to a box with the label "Rack Master". Bahaha!

And would you take a look at that cover. I thought I was in for some kind of Conquest style fantasy movie, what with the vulture perched on a concrete fist and the wall of fire. I get that they are trying to symbolise that Kesner will take you to hell with the pummelling she dishes out but still, they need not have gone to the effort. The title Naked Fist and the gratuitous side-boob artwork suckers you in enough as it is.

I only just realised now that Jillian Kesner was in Inferno aka Operation Cobra playing the blonde bombshell cougar Jasmine. I better go back and tag her in that. She's also been in Raw Force (1982) with Cameron Mitchell, one I will be checking out for sure. Finally, look out for the final payoff scene. Easily one of the best and most abrupt endings in cinema. No walking into the sunset for Kesner here. Highly recommended!

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The Video:

Solid enough for VHS, though night time scenes were pretty garish with dark blue overtones. Also my tape was squeaking as it played; my cat was very interested in the noise. Still what do you expect for a 28 year old tape. Runtime 77 minutes.

Sourced From:

Roadshow PAL VHS for about 50c in a bulk lot off eBay.

The whole movie:

Still don't believe me? Well normally you could watch the trailer but I didn't find one. What I did find was the whole movie for stream and for download! I'm sure the copyright owners (if there actually are any!) won't mind, but if a DVD does come out one day I urge you all to buy a copy. You need Divx Web Player to watch this.

More Screens:

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9 comments:

  1. I forgot to mention that this is directed, produced and co-written by Bloodfist director Cirio H. Santiago!

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  2. Looks like a winner! Will try to find a copy!

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  3. Definitely do that Ty, but for the meantime you can download the version above!

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  4. This looks excellent, especially if it was directed by Cirio H. Santiago. I cant't wait to see the rest of your reviews from the films you got recently.

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  5. Well you certainly got REAL lucky with this one, as it's usually super-expensive to buy, copies on Amazon are like 50 dollars, so it'll probably be a LONG time before you ever get a held of this one, good luck though! Also I too got lucky on Ebay as I managed to get my hands on an ultra-rare action film called Rush: The Assassin for less then 20$, it's one of those films under the Sybil Danning Adventure Video label.

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  6. Yes I think a lot of the early Roadshow clamshell box tapes are rare, I have about ten now. At least there is the streaming video above Matt so download that and check out this beauty.

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  7. You bet I will! It's truly that that Kessner passed away a few years back, Santiago sure does know how to pick female fighters though! Cat Sassoon in Angelfist was pretty damn good as well.

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  8. Gee, I made a search for a FIRECRACKER trailer and ended up on your blog, Simon! LOL.

    Yes, I fully agree FIRECRACKER (aka Naked Fist) is totally awesome! Your review is cool but what you leave out is that it's a remake; This is actually Ciro Santiago's remake of his own movie TNT JACKSON (74), and he must have been in love with the store cos he remade it AGAIN! The film Venom refers to, ANGELFIST (92), is the third version!

    Oh, and about your upload due to there being no DVD: both FIRECRACKER and TNT JACKSON are going to be released from Shout Factory!!! I don't have a date but sometime in 2011 (+ a handful more Filipino films like SAVAGE!). This is not a rumour but from the horse's mouth. Cliff Mac from the company is posting regularly about their upcoming releases over on Dvdmaniacs. I for one am certainly looking forward to these releases!

    I wrote a little about TNT here:

    http://backyard-asia.blogspot.com/2010/09/tnt-jackson-finally-getting-proper-dvd.html

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  9. That's awesome news about the DVD releases! I also had no idea this was a remake! I will have to check out TNT Jackson when the DVD comes out and of course grab the Firecracker DVD. Thanks Jack!

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