Kick Fighter (1989)

Kick Fighter VHS CoverSometimes when I’m studying these kick fighting movies, I get the distinct impression that no one involved in the movie has any idea what to do in between fight scenes. In Kick Fighter for instance, we are subjected to a birthday party for Kick Fighter’s sister.

There’s a cake and Kick Fighter (KF) and his friend have purchased a dress as expensive as it is ugly with the winnings from KF’s first fight. His sister gets all huffy about how much it cost and that she doesn’t like KF (Richard Norton of Deathfight and Equalizer 2000 legend) gambling to get the money. Putting aside the fact that KF should’ve saved a little kick fighting from his match for his ingrate sister, what exactly is the point of that scene? No one watching a movie called Kick Fighter is wanting to see some queer-assed birthday party for a guy’s cry baby sister!

And what was the point of KF’s friend? KF didn’t really need him to help with his fighting career. KF manages to acquire a sleazy Australian fight manager that lines up all his crooked fights for him. He also doesn’t need this friend to train him because his manager lines KF up with a kung fu master who lives in a candle infested cave.

And in one of those strange twists of fate that only exist in films taking place in the kung-fu infested far east, the kung fu master turns out to be the supposedly blind beggar that KF ripped off earlier in the movie to help pay for his sister’s heart medicine! Okay, so maybe these guys did know how to fill time between fight sequences after all! How can you argue with the old kung-fu-master-as-beggar and sister-needing-open-heart-surgery gags?

Kick Fighter 1

Some of you out there that aren’t as well-versed in these sorts of films may also wonder why KF needed to periodically hang out at a strip club. In these types of movies, the strip club is where a lot of investigating goes on. This usually happens whenever the hero is being framed for killing a hooker or when his old lady has been kidnapped and sold into slavery or something like that.

In KF’s case, it’s primarily used as an excuse for getting into a bar fight. In short, it’s a training tool. He also likes to just hang out, drink beer, and drop the F bomb on his sleazy Australian manager, but that’s a sort of training, too. Training for real life!

There isn’t a story per se in Kick Fighter, but there are what you might call story elements. That is, there’s events that occur that seemed designed to tell a story, but don’t actually do so. Take the beginning of the film which tells the secret origin of KF. KF was just a little crapface running the streets of Bangkok, stealing and beating up guys who run crooked dice games before getting sent to prison for five years.

Apparently this young KF was also played by Richard Norton which practically merits a viewing of the film all by itself since he’s decked out in ill-fitting clothes and an even more ill-fitting hair cut. Thankfully, once he’s released from prison, he’s a pumped up super street fighter who favors the tasteful Norton mullet all his fans worship.

Kick Fighter 2

When KF’s parents aren’t failing to properly supervise KF, they’re running an import/export business and getting themselves blown up by some crooks. None of this has anything to with anything else in the movie other than feebly explain why KF has to live with his sister and not have enough money to buy her medicine.

There will not be any vengeance dished out for KF’s parents and if they same dude who had them killed is also the guy who gets arrested at the end of the movie for trying to blackmail KF into losing the big fight, it’s purely coincidental and KF and his sister don’t know anything about it. And I can’t really blame them since I wasn’t paying enough attention to know for sure either.

So what’s the deal with KF becoming a professional kick fighter? Sister needs an operation. He needs money, beer and whores. That’s pretty much it. It’s all very glamorous and romantic when you think about it. In fact, both of these motivations come into dramatic conflict during the movie’s funniest scene not involving KF getting bitten.

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One night, sis is waiting up for KF wondering where her meal ticket, I mean brother, is and incredibly the movie goes to split screen and shows KF rolling around on a bed with a whore! Can you imagine how mad his sister would have been if she and KF were actually dating! Oh, and not to state the obvious or anything but the story of KF falling in love with this whore pretty much goes nowhere.

While we love the quirky lifestyles our kickfighting heroes inevitably lead, what matters in the end is the kickfighting! The movie is pretty slack on this during the first half of things, but once KF decides to start fighting, we get a nice violent dose of it.

There’s three really good fights. One against an ugly fat guy in a cage where the fat guy uses a type of fighting that involves standing on KF! KF also battles it out with a ugly guy in a mask (well, why else would he be wearing a mask?) inside a club. The victory sets up his title fight against a rat faced champ in Manila. Say what you want about Rat Face, but when KF literally took the kid gloves off to fight with only taped fists, Rat Face was more than willing to do it that way, too!

Taped fists? Kick Fighter might have had a bit of a bumpy journey leading up to this final brawl, but when you finish your film by having Richard Norton fighting real-life undefeated kickboxing champ Benny “The Jet” Urquidez with taped fists, nothing else matters! All the crud I sat through to get to that point disappeared! I was transported to that dingy gym in Manila! I could smell KF’s mullet sweat! And when KF’s gloves came off and he was pushing past the disbelieving referee to get at Rat Face, despite my euphoria, I cried a little because I knew I could only experience this scene for the first time once! But then I hit rewind and felt better!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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