Bullet Points: Shootfighter 2
I am going to throw a question out there for everybody… Back in the 1990’s, how was it determined which direct to video movies would get a sequel? Nowadays I imagine streaming statistics and social media help the powers that be make those kinds of decisions. But back when the Internet was not as powerful and prevalent as it is today and the term “social media” didn’t exist, were these decisions based entirely on rental data? Were people sending in feedback in more primitive ways like e-mails or even hand written letters to voice their love or disdain for a movie? Or was it all based on the people financing the movies and their opinion on what was sequel worthy or not?
One direct to video movie that got the sequel treatment was Shootfighter: Fight to the Death. And that sequel, Shootfighter 2 , is the subject of this edition of Bullet Points…
- The Gang’s Almost All Here: Our three heroes from Shootfighter: Fight to the Death are back for the sequel with Bolo Yeung reprising his role as shootfighting legend Shingo and William Zabka and Michael Bernardo return as Ruben and Nick, Shingo’s students and friends. There is one key cast member from the original missing from the sequel, Ruben’s love interest (who also happened to be Nick’s sister) Cheryl Walker. Cheryl, who was played by Maryam d’Abo of The Living Daylights fame, is not even mentioned in the movie. It is like she never existed. It is probably for the best because I’m not sure Nick would be cool with Ruben banging Sherri the bartender behind his sister’s back.
- The Premise: Chase Randolph plays detective Lew Rawlins (not to be confused with legendary singer Lou Rawls). His son Joe is killed when he gets involved in a shootfighting ring based out of Miami. Wanting to get to the bottom of the murder of his son, Rawlins springs Eddy Marquette from prison to help him get on the inside of the shoot fighting ring. Eddy has some connections in the underworld and also knows some quality shoot fighters. As I was watching I couldn’t help but think that Eddy looked really familiar to me, that’s because the actor who plays him, Jorge Gil, also played the Scarface wannabe in the amazing Eye of the Tiger. Eddy points Rawlins in the direction of Shingo, Ruben and Nick. Rawlins convinces the trio to help him using their illegal activities in Mexico from the first film as leverage. Yes folks… once again they are forced to fight!
- The Villain: Real life criminal Joe Son plays Lance Stuart, the man in control of the Miami shootfighting scene and the estranged brother of Shingo. Promoters often have a sleazy reputations is but Stuart made even the sleaziest promoter look like a Boy Scout in comparison. Lance Stuart is also as deadly as he is shady. You don’t do things his way and you end up dead. Shootfighter Fun Fact… Son actually had a small role in Shootfighter: Fight to the Death as one of the fighters in the opening scene. He must have impressed somebody or maybe he threatened the producers at gun point to bring him back for the sequel much like his character Lance Stuart does to Ruben when he doesn’t want to square off against his new buddy Shark.
- Enter the Shark: Shark is a local fighter out of Miami who joins up with Shingo, Nick and Ruben as they infiltrate Stuart’s shootfighting ring. Shark is played by Brett Baxter Clark, who you may remember from such films as Midnight Man with Lorenzo Lamas or Delta Force Commando with Fred Williamson. Or you may remember him as the guy who stuck his wiener in a hot dog bun in the 80’s comedy Bachelor Party, a movie that also starred a pre-American Ninja Michael Dudikoff. I thought the Shark character was a good addition giving the sequel another element that was not in the original.
Like most sequels, Shootfighter 2 doesn’t quite live up to the original movie and it is certainly not as violent. Shootfighter: Fight to the Death featured a man ripping another man’s heart out and it is pretty difficult to top that, so I don’t blame them from toning the violence done in the follow up. But if you were a fan of the original, you owe it to yourself to check out the sequel. I have to say I enjoyed spending another 95 minutes with Shingo, Nick and Ruben.
And if you’d like to spend a little more time reading this review, here are some bonus Shootfighter 2 Bullet Points…
- Hot Shotting: Lance Stuart lets his emotions and ego get the better of him when he sets up a fight between him and his brother Shingo. That’s a great match up but instead of announcing the match for an upcoming event to allow the interest and hype to build (not to mention more time to bet on it), he gives it away that night. That’s not best for business.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a man use a musical instrument as a weapon in a shootfight, then this is the movie for you.
- Magnificent Footsteps: Following in the footsteps of her former AWA rival Mimi Lesseos, Madusa Miceli has a small role in this movie, competing against another female fighter in what was described by the ring announcer as a novelty event for our amusement. This was actually Miceli’s second film, she was also in the 1994 movie Death Match that starred such action luminaries as Matthias Hues, Martin Kove, Steven Vincent Leigh, Richard Lynch and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.