Friday, August 16, 2019

Robocop Kickboxer

Robocop Kickboxer (aka Rings Untouchable aka Robo-Kickboxer – Power of Justice)
Wing-Chan Leung

The terror of Godfrey Ho is back again with another movie stitched together from 85% cheaply purchased crime drama (let’s call this Movie A) and 15%  original footage (Movie B). Like many of his films, this one barely holds together, has some of the most atrocious dubbing ever recorded, nakedly tries to appeal to whatever is popular at the time, and manages to be quite fun… if you throw away any expectations of quality and just revel in the absurdity and chaos of it all.

Movie A ) This appears to be a chopped up version of the film, Puga (1980), a Filipino prison escape film about a man who wrongfully goes to prison for murdering someone who raped his sister. It really offers nothing outside of some comical moments involving the characters from Movie B watching the action and a surprisingly grim and abrupt conclusion. Godfrey Ho films don’t end, they just stop.

Movie B) If you are expecting some Robocop Kickboxing, you are going to probably be disappointed. There is plenty of kickboxing, but no Robocops to be found. There is a robot in a silver motorcycle helmet and shiny suit, but as far as I can tell he’s not a cop. What he is though is a drug-induced hallucination, that our hero(?) Jake sees when he takes a performance-enhancing drug. I’m not sure what the inherent advantages of seeing a goofy robot in the place of your human opponent when kickboxing are but it seems to work for Jake.

This is the worst ad for Tang.
Jake doesn’t like seeing phantom robots and says he won’t take the drug anymore. He immediately gets fired as a kickboxer and takes up a life of crime delivering cocaine. His first cocaine delivery goes tits-up immediately and Jake ends up in prison with his kind of nemesis/kind of pal Axel. Jake and Axel watch the events of Movie A from a distance, then they escape the prison and never deal with that part of the movie again.

If you are familiar with anything else that has come out of Godfrey Ho’s production company, IFD:  Robo Vampire (1988), Challenge of the Ninja (1986), and Thunder of Gigantic Serpent (1988) for example, then very little of Robocop Kickboxer should surprise you, but there is some actual fun here. Aside from the silliness of the robot kickboxing scenes, there is some truly sparkling dialogue, most of it coming from the foul-mouthed fight promoter, Sonny.

"Behold my combo motorcycle safety/sauna suit!"
It wouldn’t be a Godfrey Ho film without plenty of unauthorized and questionable music choices, the most noticeable being a loop of the opening bars of Sof Cell’s ‘Tainted Love.’ There is some choice 1980s synth music peppered in here and there during the film that briefly gives things a lovely 1980s action movie feel.

If you already like the films of IFD and Godfrey Ho you’ll feel right at home with Robocop Kickboxer. For the uninitiated, you could try your luck with this one. There are certainly worse choices to start your adventure (psst…. Vampire Raiders (1988)). If you do watch just don’t blame me if you feel like you went ten rounds with a shiny silver…eh, I guess, robot.

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