Raw Force (aka Kung-Fu Cannibals)
Edward D. Murphy
Raw Force takes the knock-out combination of kung-fu, boobs, cannibalism and undead martial arts warriors, somehow manages to get it all completely wrong and becomes one of the most entertaining messes I’ve witnessed in a very long time. Its proof you can take a story that has no connection to logic or reality, non-existent acting and a tone that lurches drunkenly between slapstick comedy and tough guy action but if you throw in a rocket launcher attack and some undead ninjas, all is forgiven.
Cameron Mitchell plays Harry Dodds, the Captain of a rundown cruise ship. Harry, along with his kung-fu first mate, Go Chin (Rey King) and their co-owner, Hazel Buck (Hope Holliday) like to take tour groups near ‘Warrior Island,’ a place where a band of monks supposedly have the power to raise the dead , after eating the flesh of women.
Why wouldn’t you want to go there?
Turns out all the stories are accurate, and in fact, a bunch of scumbags are kidnapping women from brothels and wandering ships and selling them to these monks for an equivalent weight of jade. Unfortunately the next wandering ship happens to be Captain Dodds’ ship and this time it happens to be full of kung-fu swingers. One sunken boat later the survivors find themselves washed-up on the shore of Warrior Island, and face to face with the monks and their army of undead fighters.
‘Raw Force’ is a mish mash or almost every conceivable genre of film, just short of having a musical number. It’s primarily a kung-fu buddy action film for the first half, punctuated with plenty of comedy both intentional and unintentional. About the half-way point it becomes a very juvenile sex comedy that is interrupted by pirates wearing things like silver cut off shirts, bee pants and a red satin umpire’s padding. Then it turns into a running gun battle with occasional zombies. It’s never dull, and if even if you start to wonder if they are ever going to actually get to the damn island, something bizarre or funny is bound to happen in the next moment to help carry you along.
It is a low budget kung-fu movie, so I’m not going to hold it to any high standards for acting. Cameron Mitchell is easily the best actor of the bunch, but I found Rey King to actually be a fun presence on the screen. According to IMDB this is his only film, which is a shame. The fighting is nothing spectacular; it is well performed but shot in an unremarkable way. There isn’t much gore and the zombie makeup mostly consists of the color blue.
Taken in its separate parts, ‘Raw Force’ looks like a colossal failure but it begins to pile on so many ludicrous turns and characters, that eventually it topples over into an delightful train wreck of a film. The current DVD releases of this film look like crap, but I honestly doubt a cleaned up version is ever going to exist and maybe that’s the way it should be. Very highly recommended, find it and watch it as soon as you can.