Bullet Points: Superfights
If you asked Thornton Melon to characterize the 1995 movie Superfights, he would probably say “Superfights was…SUPER!” much to the delight of everyone in the room. If you ask me I’m not sure super is a strong enough adjective to describe Superfights…
- Super Buyrates: Superfights is the most popular event on pay-per-view television where favorites like Budokai, Dark Cloud (Chuck Jeffreys of The Substitute 2: School’s Out fame), Angel (Kelly Gallant of TC 2000 fame) and Night Stalker battle it out in the ring. The visionary behind Superfights is promoter/martial artist Robert Sawyer, played expertly by Keith Vitali. Sawyer is the type of slick businessman you’d expect a fight promoter to be, but there’s more to the Superfights head honcho than meets the eye. Sawyer is not content with just being on top of the pay-per-view mountain, he pumps his fighters up with vitamins (in reality they are a combination steroid/mind altering drug) and uses them as the muscle in his quest to expand his business interests into the criminal underworld.
- Super Fan: Jack Cody (Brandon Gaines in his one and only film) may be the biggest Superfights fan of them all. As a young boy, Jack had the opportunity to meet his favorite Superfighter, Mike Rocco. During this encounter, Rocco would bestow upon Jack a pendant. This pendant would immediately become Jack’s most prized possession and get the ball rolling on Jack’s dream to grow up and become a Superfighter himself. Not everyone is supportive of his dreams however, most notably his manager at work and his over protective mother.
- Super Serendipitous: One night after an argument with his mother, Jack takes off in his sweet Jeep and that’s when he comes across Sally Wong, a damsel in distress at an ATM. Before Sally could become the victim of a violent crime, Jack springs into action taking out the three dudes who were about to make Sally their victim. Jack then gives Sally a ride home and the seeds of romance are officially planted. When Jack and Sally get to Sally’s home, she invites Jack inside to meet her grandfather conveniently named Grandfather. Grandfather is not all that impressed with Jack and his haphazard fighting skills and the seeds of a student/teacher relationship are officially planted. Meanwhile while all this is happening the security video of Jack saving Sally is all over the news and Jack Cody becomes a media sensation. All the Jack Cody press does not go unnoticed by Robert Sawyer.
- Super Opportunity: Robert Sawyer knows a good thing when he sees it, and a clean cut, all-american hero like Jack Cody would do big business for Superfights, so an invitation is extended and it is one Jack Cody is not about to turn down. When he arrives at the Superfights offices Jack meets Budokai and Dark Cloud before his meeting with the man behind it all, Robert Sawyer. Sawyer gets a starry eyed Jack Cody to sign a contract without an agent or lawyer present and a new Superfighter is born. Jack is then wined and dined, he gets a new car and a swanky condo to call his own. Sawyer even assigns Angel to be Jack’s personal trainer to prepare him for his first fight. Dreams do come true and Jack’s just did. But will this dream turn into a nightmare?
- Super Criminal: Jack Cody’s career is going amazingly well… he is undefeated. But then one night Sawyer does the unthinkable, he asks Jack to lose his fight. WHAT?!?! The Superfights are predetermined?!?! All of Jack’s opponents have been letting him win?!?!? In addition to this heartbreaking news, Jack finds out the truth about the Superfights vitamins and how they’ve turned his childhood hero Mike Rocco into a roid rage filled monster now known as The Beast. The battle lines are drawn… Jack Cody with help from Grandfather will have to take down the powerful Robert Sawyer and his army of Superfighters. And let me point out Sawyer has no intention of this being a fair fight.
Earlier I said that I did not believe that the word super was strong enough to describe Superfights and I stand by that statement. Superfights has a real wow factor to it. It is one of those movies that you know is not a cinematic masterpiece but at the same time it IS a cinematic masterpiece. It is difficult to explain, but in no way difficult to watch.
A lot of the credit has to go to the two main actors in the film. Brandon Gaines was a great choice as the young man in over his head, because Brandon Gaines himself, with only two TV credits to his name at the time, was likely in over his head. But the real shining star of this one was Keith Vitali as the evil Vince McMahonesque promoter. Prior to watching Superfights, the role I always associated Vitali with most was as Sho Kosugi’s sidekick in Revenge of the Ninja. Superfights forever changed the way I viewed Keith Vitali. In a word, Vitali’s performance was superb.
It is now time to super-size this review with some Bonus Bullet Points…
- The Whole F’n Cameo: It was reported in the Wrestling Observer that Rob Van Dam was actually the producers’ first choice to play the star of the film, but the film’s shooting schedule conflicted with Rob’s All Japan Pro Wrestling commitments at the time. The producers still managed to work RVD into the movie as the camoflauge wearing Superfighter known as Mercenary.
- Time of the Season: Superfights was produced by the Seasonal Film Corporation, the same company that gave us movies like The King of the Kickboxers, Bloodmoon and the No Retreat, No Surrender trilogy.
- Favorite Quote: “Bullshit! I’m a great fighter!” – Jack Cody
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Keith Vitali stab a guy in the top of the skull with a pen, then this is the movie for you.
- Work Place Decor: I applaud anyone who hangs up action movie posters at their place of employment. The fact that they are quality movies like The King of the Kickboxers and Rapid Fire make it all the better. Great job Jack! Personally, I would have went with Iron Eagle.
- Tiger Rag: Superfights was released in Germany as Karate Tiger 9. For more information on Germany’s Karate Tiger series, click here!
- Product Recall: I’m not sure what the brand or model number was of the ceiling fan in the drug dealer’s office, but the blades on that thing must have been razor sharp… how else can you explain all the blood after Sawyer’s Beast lifts the drug dealer’s head into the moving blades? I suggest Googling the model number of your ceiling fans immediately to see if you have this same deadly fan in your home.