Bullet Points: L.A. Wars
The name Vince Murdocco may not ring a bell with most of the movie going public, but for connoisseurs of 1990’s direct to video action flicks, Vince Murdocco is practically a household name.
Vince Murdocco was a key supporting player in movies like Kickboxer 2: The Road Back with Sasha Mitchell, Ring of Fire with Don “The Dragon” Wilson and To Be the Best with Michael Worth. But in 1994, Vince Murdocco would have the opportunity to go from playing the friend of the hero to THE MAN in L.A. Wars.
- The Setup: Vince Murdocco plays Jake Quinn. Quinn is a former cop with the LAPD, he was suspended after he decided to become judge, jury and executioner for a piece of garbage child molester. Since he was forced to leave his cop days behind him, Quinn now makes ends meet as a bouncer… but his employment situation takes a drastic turn one afternoon when he thwarts a kidnapping attempt of Carla Giovanni (Mary Zilba in her one and only acting role). Carla is the daughter of mafia kingpin, Carlo Giovanni (A.J. Stephans). Carlo has been having his share of problems from a new player in town named Raul Guzman (Rodrigo Obregon). Guzman is a drug dealer from Mexico who is looking to take over the drug trade in Los Angeles, a business the Giovanni family has controlled for years. Knowing there could be more attempts to harm his beloved daughter, Carlo offers Jake a job as Carla’s personal bodyguard going forward. This does not sit well with other members of Carlo’s organization, notably Carlo’s right hand man Vinnie Scoletti (Johnny Venocur).
- The Comeback: When Jake’s old boss at the LAPD, Captain Roark (David Jean Thomas) calls Jake in to question him about the kidnapping attempt on Carla Giovanni, Jake spills the beans about Carlo Giovanni’s job offer. Roark does what any smart police captain would do and offers to have Jake reinstated if he’ll agree to work for Carlo Giovanni, but do so as a mole for the LAPD. Jake counter offers that he’ll take on this potentially fatally undercover assignment if he gets to do things his way and Roark reimburses him in all the back pay he missed since he was kicked off the force. With city hall breathing down his neck and a drug war being waged on his streets, Roark has no choice but to comply.
- The Love Triangle: Aside from being Carlo Giovanni’s number two man, Vinnie Scoletti had it in his sociopathic head that he would one day marry Carla Giovanni and eventually become the head of the family. But Carla Giovanni, who never really had any romantic interest in a creep like Vinnie, is obviously smitten with her knight in shining armor, Jake Quinn. And when I say smitten, what I’m really saying is the first night after Vinnie has moved into the guest house at the Giovanni compound, Carla sneaks over and thanks Jake for saving her by making sweet love to him (that sure beats a thank you card). The budding romance between Jake and Carla pisses Vinnie off to no end. The way Vinnie sees it, Jake stole “his girl” and basically flushed all his future plans down the toilet.Then the notoriously unstable Vinnie really goes off the deep end. Vinnie nearly rapes Carla one night which leads to his immediate exit from the Giovanni family. This then produces an unholy alliance between Vinnie Scoletti and Mexican drug dealer Raul Guzman as they look to wage an L.A. war against the Giovanni Family and Jake Quinn!
After watching L.A. Wars I had to seriously question why Vince Murdocco was not the star of more action movies in the 90’s. I’m not trying to say that Murdocco would have changed the perception of action movies here in the United States and around the world, but the man delivered in two of the most essential and critical categories for any action hero.
First, he brought legit fighting skills to the table. Murdocco was at one time the North American Cruiserweight Champion in kickboxing, so his fights all have a great deal of authenticity to them. Second he is a natural good guy, the audience can easily get behind him and they want to get behind him. Even in the supporting roles that I mentioned earlier where he often played the friend of the hero who gets mixed up in something shady, you never hate Murdocco’s characters for it. Instead you realize he’s just like you and me and he can make mistakes. And when an audience can relate to a character you have them right where you want them.
And I have your Bonus Bullet Points right where you want them…
- Favorite Quote: “I love this kung fu shit!”
- Not His First Time: L.A. Wars was Vince’s first chance at carrying an action movie, but he was actually the star of the first movie he ever did, 1990’s Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders. Also known as Flesh Gordon 2, the movie was a sexy spoof on Flash Gordon with several scantily clad women and with Vince Murdocco playing Flesh Gordon. If we were ever going to start a Bulletproof Action After Dark feature, Flesh Gordon 2 would probably be the first movie we’d cover.
- A to Z: Vince Murdocco is rocking some pretty serious Z. Cavaricci pants in L.A. Wars.
- Bodacious Tatas: Strip clubs and action movies are no strangers to one another, but I have to say that the breasts of the stripper in L.A. Wars have to be a contender for the most magnificent man made tits in action movie history.
- Disturbing Quote: “I’m going to cut off your fucking head and shit down your neck!”
- Best Fight: There’s plenty of action in L.A. Wars but my favorite action sequence is the fight between Jake Quinn and Miguel. Miguel is armed with two sais not unlike Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Miguel is credited as Butch Tonisala in L.A. Wars, but I believe he is actually Lelagi “Butch” Togisala, who battled the likes of Michael Worth in Fists of Iron. And speaking of Michael Worth…
- Worth Mentioning: Michael Worth is a good friend of Vince Murdocco and he shared that L.A. Wars was shot on 16mm film in just ten days.