Bullet Points: Forced to Kill
PM Entertainment gave Corey Michael Eubanks the opportunity to become an action star in 1994. Prior to that, Eubanks had been primarily known in Hollywood for his stunt work in movies like Cobra, Midnight Run, One Man Force and Backdraft.
Forced to Kill was a chance for Eubanks to show he could carry a movie and not just be the guy doing the stunt driving or having a bit part here or there…
- The Cast: When you have an inexperienced leading man it is important to surround that leading man with a strong supporting cast. Forced to Kill surrounded Corey Michael Eubanks with some quality character actors and Don Swayze (Death Ring). At the top of the list is Michael Ironside. Ironside plays Sheriff Wilson, a small town sheriff that uses his position to “recruit” fighters for an illegal tournament because there is no way in hell they were going to cast Ironside to be a straight up, white hat wearing good guy. Rance Howard plays a guy named Rance. Rance at first appears to be a guy with a man crush on Eubanks’ character Johnny, but we eventually learn that Rance is in cahoots with Sheriff Wilson and he is the guy, along with his two sons Neil (Mickey Jones who co-starred with Ironside in Total Recall) and Dwayne (Don Swayze), that train the “recruited” fighters for the tournament out on their ranch in the country. Rance’s niece Carrie is also at the ranch to handle all the cooking and cleaning needs and to serve as the nurse when the fighters need patching up. Clint Howard (Digital Man) also has a small role as a drifter that Johnny comes to the aid of after he is being beat up by some thugs in a parking lot.
- The Hero: Corey Michael Eubanks plays Johnny, a repo man by trade. As the movie begins Johnny is in the process of repossessing a Jaguar when the owner of the vehicle catches him and we get a quick introduction to the fighting skills of Johnny. Johnny then has to deliver the Jag to the bank’s home office in Utah. But this road trip would prove to change the course of Johnny’s life forever. Along the way he stops at a greasy spoon for a bite to eat, while waiting for his food he is eyeballed by a guy at a nearby table (this would be the introduction of the Rance character) and that’s about when Johnny notices some toughs in the parking lot harassing a drifter. Johnny goes outside and kicks all their asses, once again Rance is looking on with drool coming out of the sides of his mouth. Rance makes a mysterious phone call after Johnny gets back out on the road… then it happens, Johnny is forced off the road by Rance’s boys, Neil and Dwayne and then Johnny is kidnapped and taken to the ranch… Johnny is going to fight in “the tournament” or die.
- The Tournament: If Forced to Kill taught me anything it is that illegal underground fight to the death style tournaments aren’t just for big city folk, nope the folks out in the sticks like ’em too. This tournament is held in an outdoor rodeo arena, which set it apart from other direct to video 90’s movies and tournaments that were held in abandoned warehouses and secret nightclubs. The tournament has been dominated for years by a fighter sponsored by the warden of a nearby prison, Warden Donaldson (Brian Avery). But Sheriff Wilson and Rance are pretty sure they have the man that can take down the Warden’s fighter so they make a $50,000 wager with Donaldson. One of the reasons Wilson and Rance are so confident that Johnny can win the tournament, is because they took out a little insurance policy by kidnapping Johnny’s girlfriend Heather (Kari Whitman a former Playboy Playmate). If Johnny doesn’t win, Wilson intends on killing Heather very slowly.
So at this point you are probably feeling like I was, you are pretty confident that you know how this movie is going to end with Johnny winning the tournament finals and nature will then take its course, but the tournament wraps up at the end of the second act and there’s a whole lot of movie to go and a whole lot of action left too including a chase on horseback that leads to a speedboat escape, guns are a blazin’ and fists are a flyin’ in what was an action packed third act.
Eubanks as an action star was the x factor when I went into Forced to Kill. As an experienced stuntman he was more than qualified to handle the physical aspects of the role but personality wise he didn’t really make much of an impression on me good or bad. So while his performance didn’t leave me wanting more Eubanks starring roles in the future, I didn’t think his performance hurt Forced to Kill either.
I would never force you to read the Bonus Bullet Points, but I do strongly suggest you do so…
- Makin’ Whoopee: One night Bob and Irma Eubanks were making whoopee and about 9 months later Corey Michael Eubanks popped out. Yes, Corey is the son of legendary game show host Bob Eubanks. Bob Eubanks is most famous for hosting The Newlywed Game.
- Guy Walks Into A Bar: …and the rotund bartender tells him this joke, “I said to my wife, why don’t you ever tell me when you climax? She said, because you’re never there.”
- The Van Damme Effect: Corey Michael Eubanks was not just the star of Forced to Kill, he was also the executive producer and writer. And for whatever reason Eubanks felt it was necessary to write himself a nude scene so he could show off his ass. Was Corey an exhibitionist? Or do we have JCVD to blame? Forced to Kill does give us some female nudity courtesy of cousin Carrie as we get to watch her taking a bath… the unfortunate part is so does her creepy cousin Neil. Oddly enough, the former Playboy Playmate in the movie kept her clothes on.
- Flippin’ Awesome: Forced to Kill features one of the most majestic van flip stunts I’ve ever seen. The van was spiraling like a Tom Brady thrown football.