Thursday, 2 October 2014

15 Second Review: Ring of Fire (1991)

Ring of Fire is presented as if it is a martial arts extravaganza. The tagline promises 'brutality on the streets of LA'. However, do not be fooled. The film features surprisingly little fighting given that its cast features several ex-champions (Don "the Dragon" Wilson and Gary Daniels, for instance). In fact, Don "the Dragon" Wilson does barely any fighting in the movie: if there is a 'one man army against evil' in this film as teased by the poster art, Wilson was not it. Maybe they were referring to Kwong, a character who drinks vodka and urinates on a group of arrogant racists. The film mainly revolves around an inter-racial love story, which is regularly interrupted by unrelated shots of people training. It is not always clear what those characters are training for: I would hazard that they are intending to fight, but the training is so bizarre that it is uncertain that it will help them in combat. For instance, one character stands on one leg while having their arms whipped; another sets his hand on fire and punches through some ice blocks; elsewhere the same character smashes nails into a board with his bare fists. Also providing a nonsensical foil to the love story is Brad's girlfriend  - whose function in the story is to appear naked - and a "character" who is introduced simply to hang out Terry and Johnny's washing, and who does not even appear in the closing credits. Both women are introduced, and then vanish from the film by the 30 minute mark. These farcical occurrences interrupt the ongoing love story, even during the "climatic" (toe-curlingly awkward) sex scene between Johnny (Don "the Dragon" Wilson) and his beau Julie (Maria Ford). Aside from being excruciatingly stilted, the love-making is inter-cut with Julie's brother (Brad) fighting Johnny's cousin (Terry), making the whole sequence feel a little incestuous. The final fight sequence allows Don to get  into the ring (not the eponymous flaming circle, mind you), to engage in one of the least convincing, but most anti-climatic fights this side of Kickboxer 2: The Road Back. In sum, Ring of Fire is gibberish of the highest order, which will probably appeal to fans of the equally hilarious No Retreat, No Surrender

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