5 Questions: Raw Target
Before I begin questioning Raw Target starring Dale “Apollo” Cook, let me take a moment to answer two possible questions that may have come to mind when you read this opening line.
First possibility… who in the hell is Dale “Apollo” Cook? A native of the great state of Oklahoma, Cook was a professional kickboxer who competed in several weight classes over the course of his near 20 year career, winning several championships along the way. Like many martial artists in the early 90’s, he was recruited into the world of direct to video action movies, including starring roles in movies like American Kickboxer 2, Double Blast and the subject of this edition of 5 Questions, Raw Target. In total, Cook appeared in only 9 movies, so it is easy to see how he could have slipped under the radar of even the most dedicated fan of the action entertainment genre.
Second, for those of you who were already familiar with Dale “Apollo” Cook… why hasn’t Bulletproof Action covered any of Cook’s movies prior to today’s post? As I stated in the paragraph above, Cook was not in a whole lot of movies and he was simply lost in the shuffle. But thanks to the fine folks over at Amazon Prime, I was able to sit down and watch a Dale “Apollo” Cook flickfrom 1995 and like many of the movies I watch, it had me asking some questions…
1. Have kickboxing related deaths dropped since the 1990’s?
Raw Target featured a moment I’ve seen before in kickboxing related movies, our hero, in this case Johnny Rider (Dale “Apollo” Cook), is defending his kickboxing championship when he accidentally kills his opponent during their match. Johnny Rider then does what every other fighter who accidentally kills his opponent in a kickboxing match does, and he retires from the world of kickboxing. Raw Target adds an extra layer by having the brother of the fighter Rider accidentally killed, be the detective he crosses paths with in the movie. Oh happenstance!
But my multi-part question is, were accidental kickboxing deaths happening as frequently in actual kickboxing events as they were in kickboxing movies? And have kickboxing related deaths dropped, risen or stayed the same since the 1990’s?
2. Does the hitchhiking scene in Raw Target feature some of the worst audio in movie history?
We here at Bulletproof Action spend an inordinate amount of time heaping praise and dishing out criticism on the men and women who are in front of the camera, but seldom do we turn our focus to those people behind the scenes making the movie magic happen… or not happen as was the case in the scene in question.
There are 12 people credited for working in the sound department for Raw Target. None of those 12 people realized that the scene where Johnny Rider is hitchhiking was barely audible? Did they just not care? Was there no way to fix the problem or reshoot the scene?
Bonus question, why was the guy who picked up a hitchhiking Johnny so insistent? Johnny was having a classic action movie flashback while he was standing on the road waiting for somebody to give him a lift into the city so he didn’t even notice when the dude in the jeep stopped. But ol’ Jeepy McGhee wasn’t leaving that spot until Johnny hopped in. How creepy is that? It is obvious Jeepy never watched Wild Thing, if he did he’d never even consider picking up a hitchhiker.
3. Who thought Nick Hill could pull off the Rod Taylor role?
Yes, now I’m looking at you Nick Nicholson, casting director for Raw Target. I am familiar with some of Nick Hill’s other work in movies like Fists of Iron and Bloodsport II. He did an admirable job in both of those films as a sidekick to Michael Worth and Daniel Bernhardt respectively, but what about those supporting role performances made you believe he could pull off the character of Rod Taylor, the main bad guy in Raw Target? The villain in an action movie is so crucial and you cast a second banana!?!
I’m all for giving people chances and I realize I am “Monday Morning Casting” right now, but Nick Hill as Rod Taylor was a horrible decision.
4. Does Raw Target feature the longest sex scene in kickboxing movie history?
It isn’t like I pulled out my stopwatch (that’s not a euphemism) while watching the scene where Johnny Rider and Susan Wells, the female DEA agent who convinces Johnny to infiltrate Rod Taylor’s criminal operation, knock boots. But the scene did seem to go on for quite a while. I realize Cook’s character has a perfect porn star name but did he really need to hit porn star level’s of endurance in an action movie?
5. In what way was Dale “Apollo” Cook ever going to be the “new Van Damme”?
While I’m sure it is every reviewers dream to be quoted on the cover of a home video release, I would like to think if I ever had that honor, that it would be a quote that expressed my true feelings about a movie, not a quote where I was just pandering to the makers of the movie so they would use my quote.
I would like to know who said “Dale Apollo Cook is the new Van Damme…” and what his or her criteria was for making such a bold statement. Was it because both men studied the martial arts? So did at least 20 other actors/martial artists in this time period, what made Dale Cook stand out from that pack? And while most would say Cook was the superior martial artists when compared to Van Damme, there’s no way he matched Van Damme’s charisma or showmanship in the movie world.
There’s a reason Dale “Apollo” Cook was in 9 movies and his movie career ended four years after it began, and JCVD is still going strong today! So if the person who was quoted truly believed Cook was the new Van Damme, they were dead wrong. If they lied just to get their quote on the cover of the international release of Raw Target, I hope they can sleep at night.