Bullet Points: American Tiger
The 1984 Summer Olympic Games were good to Mitch Gaylord. Not only did he lead the gold-medal-winning U.S. men’s gymnastic team, he was also the first American gymnast to ever score a perfect 10.0 in the Olympics. Gaylord would capitalize on his Olympic notoriety, first as part of a promotional tour that sold out venues across the country, then by writing a book, making television appearances and finally parlaying all of that into an acting career.
Now when I think of Mitch Gaylord and acting I think of 1986’s American Anthem. I am sure Gaylord was quite comfortable playing a gymnast opposite the future Mrs. Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones, in American Anthem. But I figured Gaylord’s role in American Anthem was a one and done type deal for him where movies were concerned.
Needless to say I was surprised to come across not just another Mitch Gaylord movie, but a Mitch Gaylord action movie titled American Tiger…
- Sex, Lies and Videotape: Mitch Gaylord plays college student Scott Edwards. When Scott isn’t studying for a degree in engineering, he is pulling a rickshaw to pay his bills. One night a hot stripper named Joanna (Victoria Prouty) shows up while Scott is working and asks for a ride to the harbor. When they arrive at the destination Joanna invites Scott to come aboard her yacht. Once inside, Scott realizes he is going to get paid in more than just money as Joanna begins to disrobe. The two consenting adults start to get intimate when Scott hears something behind a door. Scott puts his pants back on and goes to investigate… behind the mirrored door is a man videotaping this erotic encounter. Scott freaks out, goes back over to Joanna and slaps the taste right out of her mouth, then proceeds to beat the crap out of the video voyeur (Gregg Todd Davis). When Scott goes to grab the tape out of the camera, it falls out and gets mixed up with other tapes. Scott grabs what he believes is his sex tape and takes off.
- What Are Friends For?: When Scott gets back to his apartment he regales his roommate and best friend Daniel (Glenn Maska) with the story of what happened. With a story so salacious Daniel can’t help but to pop the video tape in and that is when they realize Scott grabbed the wrong tape. Scott tells Daniel he is going back to the yacht to get his sex tape because he doesn’t want the dude who filmed it to jacking off to his bare ass… Daniel’s response “Why not? Everybody else does!”
- From Bad to Worse: Scott gets more than he ever bargained for when he returns to the yacht. First off, the videographer is dead. Second, the place is torn apart and the video tapes have disappeared. It becomes obvious Scott was not the only one who was looking for something on that yacht. Scott notices that there is some of his blood on the carpet from his first visit to the yacht that saw him step on some broken glass as he was leaving. Scott tries to scrub the blood stain out as he doesn’t need evidence like that at the scene of a murder. Then something unexplainable happens, a fire breaks out on the yacht and Scott barely dives off the boat before it explodes.
- Every Witch Way But Loose: I failed to mention that at the start of the movie we see Scott with his rickshaw picking up an old Asian woman and her cat. As the movie progresses we learn this scene was not just included to establish Scott’s profession. The old Asian lady is actually a witch named Madame Luna (Michi Kobi). Luna is a good witch and one that has been watching over Scott his entire life. She is the one who used her mystical powers to start the fire and destroy any evidence that Scott was ever on the yacht.
- The Devil Himself: Madame Luna had also been keeping an eye on the dead guy… we learn that our amateur porn enthusiast was Jason Mortom, the estranged son of the popular televangelist Reverend Mortom played by the legendary Donald Pleasence. Jason’s darkside is nothing compared to that of his father. Reverend Mortom is none other than THE DEVIL HIMSELF! Pure evil walking the earth, posing as a man of God. Luna and the Reverend have history together and things did not end well… now the two are on opposite ends of the spectrum and it is only a matter of time before these forces collide!
- Good vs. Evil: Now Scott finds himself in the middle of this monumental battle of good and evil. He’s got the cops after him. He’s got Reverend Mortom’s hired killer after him (the same guy the Reverend paid to kill his own son Jason). He’s trying to get to the bottom of this whole mess so he can clear his name. Aside from Madame Luna, Scott’s only other ally in all of this is Joanna, the woman who got him into this predicament to begin with. Throw in the hunt for a mystical artifact that the evil and power hungry Reverend desperately wants to get his hands on and you have a recipe for a once in a lifetime adventure.
American Tiger’s greatest strength is its originality. The action was not as intense or as explosive as I’d like it to have been. It did not feature an action star making performance by Mitch Gaylord. But where else are you going to see an action thriller filled with Chinese mysticism and a good dose of eroticism!?!?
A good dose of Bonus Bullet Points may not be the most original way to end a review but I’m going to do it anyway…
- Prime Cut: Above is an actual screen cap from the version of American Tiger that I streamed from Amazon Prime. How in the world did an obvious VHS dub of a movie make its way to the Amazon Prime streaming service complete with tracking issues?!?!
- Not To Be Confused With: While doing some research for American Tiger, I came across some information about the1996 movie American Tigers. American Tigers features Sam J. Jones, Cynthia Rothrock and Donald Gibb! After seeing that all-star line up, American Tigers has been added to my list of movies I must see before I die.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Donald Pleasence’s face completely covered in some kabuki-ish make up, then this is the movie for you.
- Disturbing Quote: “Well what the fuck was I supposed to do, just go ahead and let that porno freak film my bare ass?”
- Spoiler Alert: Reverend Mortom’s demise is one of the most memorable movie deaths I have ever seen.
- AKA: American Tiger is also known as American risciò and American Rickshaw.