Movie Kumite: Savage vs. Wild Thing
Who will win this war between primitive protagonists? Sit back and relax in your comfy ringside seat at the Bulletproof Arena to find out…
I thought Robert Knepper did a great job as the titular character in Wild Thing. But unfortunately for this battle, I can’t get the vision of Knepper as the evil Aldrich from Hard Target 2 out of my mind. As great as Knepper was as Wild Thing, there’s no denying that Knepper is at his best when he is playing the villain.
Meanwhile, I felt that Savage was quite possibly Olivier Gruner’s best work EVER. Gruner’s character transformed as the movie went along, giving his character the kind of depth that you don’t usually expect from a direct to video action movie hero.
Plus, if you look at it in terms of what Knepper and Gruner’s respective characters do in each of the films, Wild Thing takes down a New York City crime boss, Savage saves the entire planet as we know it.
SAVAGE – 1 WILD THING – 0
Savage does have an interesting group of villains, the main baddie is a powerful CEO/mad scientist Reese Burroughs. Burroughs is assisted by a sexy computer hacker (more on her later) and some goons with the head goon being a dude with skunk like hair named Edgar Wallace (played by Sam McMurray from Christmas Vacation fame). Against a movie other than Wild Thing, the villains of Savage may have had a fighting chance, but Wild Thing had an ace up their sleeve… Robert Davi.
Davi plays a ruthless drug dealing crime boss known as Chopper. Chopper was once just a part of a motorcycle club, now he is running the whole damn show and doing it with an iron fist. Davi’s look and credentials make him as legit of a movie bad guy as you can find. Throw in the fact that the movie also features a dirty cop played by Maury Chaykin and there is no way any movie was going to beat Wild Thing in the villain department. Chaykin had the innate ability to play some of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever seen on film, Wild Thing was no exception.
SAVAGE – 1 WILD THING – 1
Savage prominently featured the public domain classic “Amazing Grace”. Call me a heathen if you will, but I’m not big on my action movies featuring Christian hymns that were originally published in the late 1700’s especially with the frequency that Savage called upon the song.
On the other hand, Wild Thing features the exact song a movie titled Wild Thing should, “Wild Thing” by The Troggs. “Wild Thing” is a rockin’ anthem that hit #2 on the UK charts back in 1966 and was rated #261 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. “Amazing Grace” did not make Rolling Stone’s list.
SAVAGE – 1 WILD THING – 2
Both Savage and Wild Thing can boast that they are unique movie watching experiences.
Wild Thing takes the classic Tarzan story and drops it in the urban jungle known as New York City. But Savage goes way outside the box combining virtual reality and ancient cave drawings in what could only have been a story that was developed with the help of some mind altering substances.
Since there is nothing in the Movie Kumite rulebook about performance enhancers, we have to give this round to Savage.
SAVAGE – 2 WILD THING – 2
Kathleen Quinlan did a wonderful job as the damsel in distress in Wild Thing. Her character Jane also deflowers Wild Thing because Jane is a closer.
Savage features two strong female characters (neither of them get Savage in bed), one on each side of the fence. Nicky Carter (Jennifer Grant), the female cop/recreational hockey player that aids Savage in his quest to take down Burroughs and Marie Belot (Kristin Minter) the sexy computer hacker who works for the evil Burroughs.
Simple math tells you that two is greater than one and this one should go to Savage. If you are not convinced that is enough reasoning, then you should know that we are introduced to Belot as she is having a roll in the hay with some random dude and we get to see her in the altogether. That is one way to make a strong first impression. Skin to win for Savage!
SAVAGE – 3 WILD THING – 2
This back and forth battle will now be decided by two of the most respected movie related web sites on the Internet…
IMDb has Wild Thing at a 5.2 rating, a whole point higher than Savage’s 4.2 rating.
Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t even have an audience approval rating for Savage, thus Savage automatically forfeits that point to Wild Thing. For those curious, Wild Thing has a 56% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
There can only be one king of the jungle and in this edition of the Movie Kumite that king is Wild Thing!
FINAL SCORE: SAVAGE – 3 WILD THING – 4