Bullet Points: Spitfire
Shocked! That was my reaction after watching the 1995 action film Spitfire. Let me be a little more specific and provide some backstory. I was pleasantly shocked how enjoyable of a movie Spitfire is which is surprising because the only reason I watched the movie was because it happens to share the name of one of the go to cleaning products for the CEO of the cleaning crew at Chris the Brain’s day job. When I found out that it stars former world class gymnast and SI cover girl Kristie Phillips as an action hero it didn’t raise my expectations. When I found out that it was directed by Albert Pyun (Bloodmatch) from a story of his and that he also co-wrote, my expectations really dropped. I couldn’t be happier that I watched Spitfire and feel honored to guide you on a journey to a movie that is easily the Nadia Comăneci performance in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal of female gymnast action hero movies.
- It’s hard out here for a spy. Or more accurately, there is a hard spy out here. Richard Charles (Lance Henriksen) is a suave James Bondesque international spy who has made his way to the hotel room of one of his many former lovers, Amanda Case. Richard has recovered Ukrainian launch codes for nuclear weapons that Carla Davis (Sarah Doulgas), another former lover and fellow spy, wants for nefarious reasons. Carla busts into the room with her goons that happen to include Brion James and Robert Patrick in two very small roles (more on these two later.) A fight breaks out and Amanda is mortally wounded but before Richard escapes she is able to tell him that the pair had a daughter that Amanda named after him.
- Finally, the oppressive reign of male dominated gymnastics action hybrid movies is over and the time of the world thinking that Kurt Thomas and Mitchell Gaylord are the only people capable of combining two excellent forms of entertainment is up even though both are tremendous gymnasts and stars of a couple of incredible action movies that feature gymnastics, Gymkata and American Anthem respectively. #runonsentenceforthewin. Charlie Case (Kristie Phillips) is not only said daughter of super spy Richard Case, she is also a world class gymnast trying to become a World Champion who happens to also be an expert in karate. Having no prior knowledge of Kristie Phillips, I have no idea if her ridiculous accent from the American South is genuine or her attempt to act, but it is annoying, however Phillips is fit and attractive and it is easily overlooked. Charlie and her team are in Rome for a meet when Richard gets a chance to finally talk to his daughter. Since she was never aware of her father, Charlie finds the whole exchange very strange, but Richard is able to slip her the launch codes in order to keep them away from Carla. Sports reporter Rex Beechum, played incredibly by Zone Troopers star Tim Thomerson, catches the exchange and thinks it is linked to steroids and a the makings of a perfect story begins following Charlie.
- Wrong Gong Song Hong Kong. Charlie and her team make their way to Kuala Lumpur for the next gymnastics meet. Charlie gets a message to meet Alain, another one of Richard’s children from another mother. Alain is in the spy game like his old man and is trying to help keep Charlie and the codes safe at the cost of his own life. Rex finds out the truth, but has grown fond of Charlie and also wants to help. When word gets to Charlie that Carla has Richard kidnapped in Hong Kong, Charlie and Rex head to the Pearl of the Orient to rescue Richard. In Hong Kong they are aided by Chan another half-brother of Charlie (it looks like there are consequences to sleeping around for Richard unlike his famous British contemporary.) Charlie and Rex are able to rescue Richard and Charlie is able to backflip out of the way of a point blank gunshot. She is then able to make the World Championships in Athens and win gold, thanks to a little help from Richard!
- G Rated Movie. G is for gymnastics, definitely not General Audiences. Spitfire is not a perfect movie. The premise is unique, but the execution is a tad strange. While not the sole audience of gymnastics, I assume that young girls make up a major portion of the fanbase. Therefore, when you have a movie starring a famous young female gymnast, you would think that it would be a family friendly action movie in the vein of The Secret of the Ice Cave or Iron Eagle. However, the movie is filled to the brim with R-rated action. In fact, for the first five minutes of the movie, Charlie Case’s mother Amanda is topless both while in bed with Charles and during the ensuing fight with Carla and her goons. Amanda was played by Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for September 1977, Debra Jo Fondren so being topless was probably old hat for her. Speaking of old hat, 18 years is a long time for a woman to age between topless shots, but kudos to Ms. Fondren on her acting skills. The action and adult themes added to my shock and enjoyment of the film, and I am definitely not complaining because Spitfire is an underrated gem, I just find the juxtaposition odd.
Spitfire shocked me with the quality of the action, acting, comedy, spoof elements, soundtrack and locations. I suggest that if you are looking for a fun enjoyable action movie to take a look at Spitfire. I also suggest that if you need a powerful cleaner and degreaser then take a look at Spitfire. I finally suggest that if you are looking for more to read then take a look at the Bonus Bullet Points for Spitfire.
- I promised you more information on James and Patrick, and since I am a man of my word, I am giving you this little tidbit. Spitfire was filmed back-to-back with Hong Kong ‘97 which has Brion James, Robert Patrick and Tim Thomerson in starring roles. I also can’t let you forget the one and only Terri Coon was also in both pictures. During the back-to-back filming, Pyun was prepping for Heatseeker which also has Tim Thomerson, making him three for three with Albert Pyun.
- I told you that Albert Pyun not only directed, but also co-wrote, which is why we are treated to well-crafted writing like when Richard exclaims, “I feel like I am a retard and fumbling all over myself” or when Carla tells Richard that he “is such a heel, Richard” and then smacks him in the face with a shoe. Genius!
- Don’t forget to stick around for the post credit scene that hints at possible sequels that never came.