Rage (1995)

Rage DVD CoverExceeding expectations. That’s where success lies in life. I know this is true because it applies to sports and a concept that you can successfully apply to sports is one in which I have blind faith.

As an example, every week before a big football game, I have to hear the coach of my favorite team talk about how awesome the next opponent is. The guys they’re going up against are a combination Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Teddy Roosevelt, Dracula, and Zeus. Never mind this team finished 0-11 last year and is called North Dingleberry A&T Tech.

Then you have to listen to Coach cry about his team. Every guy on scholarship is hurt, the only guys left are a couple of gimpy sixth-year benchwarmers who can barely hold the clipboard during practice and some freshmen that are so young and green that the women’s basketball team has heavier beards than them! We probably ought to just forfeit, says Coach, to save our state the humiliation that will surely occur on Saturday. Then they play the game and we blow out the crappy nothing team just like we knew we would all along!

Rage is a lot like Coach and his poor mouthing. Shucks, I’m just another dingy, low budget action movie with a guy who kicks people in the face, Rage whimpers to the audience. Another Gary Daniels/Joseph Merhi team up just like Riot, but not as awesome because we don’t have Sugar Ray Leonard this time! Shoot, in Riot, we had an entire city going bananas! Rage only has one guy going ballistic. There’s no way Rage can even get a whiff of Riot’s jockstrap, let alone hold that stinky bastard!

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Oh, Rage, you crafty devil! It manages to not only be as good as Riot, but to surpass it on every level, right down to the increase in screen time of Kenneth Tigar as the idiotic TV reporter!

Just how does it manage to kick it up a notch over a movie that had Sugar Ray falling several stories to his death? When Gary hijacks a fuel tanker truck, I knew instantly that it could only end with Gary diving out before the tanker crashed into something, causing an explosion the likes of which hasn’t been seen since that asteroid killed off the dinosaurs!

And it did! But only after about 20 minutes of total highway carnage that had Gary destroying countless cop cars, engage in a battle of the big rigs (that also saw a welcome cameo from some CB talk!), and ultimately playing chicken with a school bus driven by the evil sheriff that got Gary into this mess in the first place!

Even when we finally get to the expected crash up, Rage shows it’s here to devastate the competition! Lots of sissy films would’ve had the hero dive out of the cab of the tanker truck, rolling safely down an embankment. Rage has Gary tie the steering into position, lock the gas pedal in place and then climb out on top of the cab! Just as the vehicles collide head on, Gary jumps over all of it, flying and rolling through the inferno-like explosion before somehow landing unscathed on the highway ahead of the horrific wreck!

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So just how did Gary get himself into this particular mess since he’s the nicest second grade teacher ever? On his way back from dropping his daughter off at a slumber party, he gets carjacked by a guy attempting to elude local law enforcement who are trying to take him to a secret lab where experiments are being done to turn people into perfect killing machines! Naturally, when the cops get a gander at Gary’s buff bod, they kidnap him and give him a dose at the lab. The drug apparently works a little too well since Gary proceeds to destroy the place and kill scores of people before his escape!

The media picks up on the government version of the story that says Gary has gone nuts and killed a federal agent. Gary is the subject of an intensive manhunt and no place is safe! From Gary’s destructive powers that is!

A series of stunt and fight-laden scenes follow, all with that special Rage touch. For instance, when Gary has to break into a house for some grub and to use the phone, he ends up fighting a couple of kinky, leather-clad freaks! Can’t the guy catch a break?

Some action at the top of a skyscraper follows with Gary periodically falling here and there before jumping onto the helicopter that keeps shooting at him. Gary somehow manages to survive falling off the helicopter and dropping about five miles by landing in a greenhouse! A trip to his sensai’s boat and a final shattered-glass intensive shootout at the local mall wrap things up nicely.

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Rage’s emphasis on lots of crazy action is just as much a survival instinct as it is for entertainment purposes since the movie turns into a giant roundhouse kick in the head whenever it’s time for the characters to spew out the dialogue that gives us the plot. The scenes at the TV station and with the governor are as bad as anything you will ever seen on your TV outside of public access. Between the horrible dialogue and the incompetent way it’s delivered, you’ll be wishing for an actor with the experience of a Sugar Ray Leonard!

Most of the story didn’t make any sense since the effect the rage drug had on Gary wasn’t very clear. It made him cramp up now and again, but wasn’t it just as likely that all the beat downs he gave people was because he was an expert kickboxer and not due to the drug’s effects? The movie never said he was, but he had a freaking sensai!

And how does the governor of a state have the authority to call off a manhunt? Especially if the manhunt is being conducted by some shadowy federal government/defense contractor consortium? And if you’re doing secret testing at a super secret lab, should you really be abducting second grade teachers in broad daylight right on a city street?

But you know what? I expected all that from Rage! Bad acting and garbage plots are the bread and butter of these types of movies that star guys who are really good at kicking stuff. What I didn’t expect was that Gary Daniels would be swinging through malls, busting up video stores full of posters for other movies from Rage‘s production company, and beating up 20 guys while in a strait jacket! I did expect him to slide under a table and come up kicking a guy in the nuts, but I still loved it when it happened! And it all ends with a hilariously heavy-handed monologue by the obnoxious reporter!

Rage is another great Gary Daniels super stunt spectacular that’s predictably sucky in the expected spots, but top-notch (in a low budget way) in the areas that movies like this need to excel at.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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