Bullet Points: Fatal Blade
You’ve probably all heard of the term “Christmas in July”.
Well in this installment of Bullet Points we will experience the “Miracle of Christmas in July” as I review a Gary Daniels film that doesn’t end up on my What Not To Watch list.
I am not trying to imply it is impossible for Gary Daniels to make an entertaining film or that he is only entertaining if he is a supporting player and never when he is the star of the film. But after I watched two back to back Gary Daniels’ stinkers earlier this year (Forced to Fight and Misfire) his reputation on the site was a little sullied.
Fatal Blade helps take some of the tarnish off Gary Daniels’ reputation on this site.
- In The Beginning: Fatal Blade opens with some dirty drug business between Dimitri and the head of the Los Angeles branch of the Yakuza, Ryujin. Before all transactions are complete, the heaviest hitter on the Los Angeles drug scene, Bronson shows up and violently ceases and desists Dimitri’s business. When news of this gets back to the Yakuza’s big boss in Japan, the big boss sends his top assassin, Domoto, to Los Angeles to help Ryujin with his ongoing Bronson problem. Although you quickly get the feeling Ryujin does not appreciate the help he is getting from his superior.
- Stakeout: Gary Daniels plays a cop with the LAPD named Richard Fox. Fox and his partner Frank Winters have been working on bringing Bronson to justice. One night while on a stakeout of Bronson’s place, our police duo witness Bronson about to engage in a three way with some gussied up hussies. But Fox also notices a figure in the shadows, making his way to Bronson’s place… that figure was Domoto and he was on a mission to kill Bronson. Domoto almost did it too but ironically the very police that were hoping to take Bronson down, end up saving the drug lord’s life. But while Fox and Winters could not bring Bronson in, they do arrest Domoto for the attempted murder of Bronson and his assault on Fox, who had a rooftop altercation with the Japanese assassin following Domoto’s attempt on Bronson’s life.
- Deportation: While Fox and Winters want to throw the book at Domoto, they learn from their boss that Domoto will instead be deported back to Japan. Domoto is not ready to go back to Japan as he did not finish the job he was sent to the United States to do. As luck would have it, a young Japanese woman who was arrested for trying to buy an illegal firearm is also at the precinct and is also about to be deported, her name is Saemi. Domoto ends up taking her hostage and escaping the police station. As you might expect Fox and Winters are the first to go after them. Domoto is able to meet up with Ryujin (I’m not really sure how they knew where to find each other), Winters hits the scene of the Yakuza reunion first and Ryujin crosses the line and kills Winters, much to the displeasure of Domoto. When Fox arrives moments later, all he sees is Ryujin standing over the body of his partner.
- Scorecard: So now we have Fox who wants to get revenge on Domoto. Domoto wants to finish the job he was ordered to do and that’s kill Bronson. In another coincidence, we learn that the reason Saemi wanted to buy a gun was so she could kill the man (Bronson) who got her sister hooked on drugs, ultimately leading to her sister’s death. Then you have Ryujin, who wants Bronson out of the picture since he has interfered with his business once too often. Ryujin is also not wild about his boss sending Domoto over, so he’s more than willing to see Domoto out of the picture. And we already established that Ryujin is a cop killer so Fox is also expendable in Ryujin’s eyes. And this is what we call an action movie powder keg!
- Boob Quota: With all that is going on in the movie, they still felt the need to throw in a subplot with Fox and who I assume is his girlfriend, despite her character being listed as Linda Fox. I say I assume it is his girlfriend and not his wife, because one of the things she nags him about is the fact that he’s yet to meet her parents. I would assume if they were married he would have met her family prior to the marriage, but maybe that’s me just being old fashioned. Anyway, the character of Linda is all but useless and I think she was only in the movie so the film could hit the boob quota during the obligatory action hero gets to make love scene.
Part of me wants to say this was good for a Gary Daniels movie, but in all honesty it was an average direct to video action movie, no matter who starred in it. Although Daniels played his part well.
To me the Japanese actors stole the show in this film. Domoto (Kiyoshi Nakajo) was a great character, he walked the line between good and evil. He was a bad guy looking to take out a badder guy. His respect for the honor and tradition of the Yakuza way are also commendable traits. So while the audience may not approve of what Domoto did for a living, they had to respect him. Then there was the character of Ryujin (Kentaro Shimuzu) an exemplary villain with a huge ego. You get the sense that being in the United States has changed Ryujin and he is more about enjoying the “gangster lifestyle” and has forgotten some of the Yakuza traditions. He feels like he is bigger than the Yakuza.
One of the traditions of my reviews is some bonus Bullet Points and like Domoto in Fatal Blade, I am more than happy to uphold tradition…
- Well Lit Alley: We learn early on that Richard Fox is not just a guy you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, but a well lit one too. Fox introduces some street trash to a dumpster the hard way in a pretty awesome alley fight that showcases what Gary Daniels does best… FIGHT!
- Lucky #7: By my count this is the seventh movie I’ve reviewed on the site that features actor/stunt man James Lew.
- Alternate Title: This movie was also known as Gedo. I have lost count of how many movies I’ve reviewed that have had alternate titles.
- Racially Insensitive Quote: “You just stir fried your ass into a world full of shit!” – Frank Winters
- Nutrition Advice Quote: “Maybe it’s time to give up the super grande burritos.” – Richard Fox to Frank Winters
- Why Would Anyone Ever Say This Quote: “You’re not gonna be able to wipe your ass without me there to see it!” – Richard Fox to Ryujin