A madman has seized control of Malaysia’s newest chemical plant! His team of terrorists control thousands of gallons of the deadliest nerve gas ever created! Their demands are simple – millions of dollars or a hostage will be killed once per hour, culminating in the execution of this big haired blonde congresswoman bimbo from Ohio they have kidnapped!
Who can break this stranglehold they have on our freedom and safety? A special forces team is being assembled, but they’re all the way over in freaking Thailand! If only there was someone on the scene with the weapons and tactics training! Someone with lethal kickboxing skills! Someone with a dinky little pony tail!
Enter: Golden Boy! Jerry “Golden Boy” Trimble, the six million time Universal Kickboxing God Of All Existence, knows that he’s the only hope any of us have got! He’s an ex-Secret Service guy drummed out of the business by the higher ups who probably thought he should have cut off his rattail, but now he’s undercover as a lowly clerk to Congresswoman Helen Filmore at the behest of her senator father!
And what started out as a public relations mission where Golden Boy was being sent to get soda and pain reliever for Helen has just turned into the one thing that Golden Boy knows better than anyone else – running around shooting piles of black-clad extras inside a factory!
But who is the lunatic behind such a twisted and quite rote scheme? Gerald Richter! Richter is also an ex-something or other who quit the force to take a job as a crazed money-grubbing villain! Even deadlier for the audience though is the knowledge that Richter is played by Vernon Wells who was also in Kick Of Death! As you’ll no doubt recall, Kick Of Death resulted in an almost 100% mortality rate among viewers! Is even Golden Boy up to this task?
This guy didn’t win 68 trillion straight karate death fights at the Olympics by not being able to handle himself and an automatic weapon! Golden Boy happens to be fighting his own private war (with a stubborn soda machine) when all hell breaks loose elsewhere at the plant. This allows Golden Boy to get in some fighting before being captured and brought to where the hostages are. That’s no sweat off Golden Boy’s pony tail though because he immediately sets about busting everyone loose!
Golden Boy manages to get all the hostages killed but Congresswoman Filmore by the end of the picture, but then again, it’s not like he was hired to protect them, was it? Besides, one guy turned traitor and the others probably didn’t run fast enough or whatever. It wasn’t because Golden Boy wasn’t trying! Even after he somehow managed to escape the plant without Filmore, he goes right back in when he realizes he left her behind! Whoops!
After spending half the movie shooting up the factory, it gets blown up (well, a model of it does) and everything shifts over to the docks where the bad guys attempt to make their getaway on a ship. Golden Boy has no problem stowing away and it isn’t long before he’s going undercover as a hick member of Richter’s crew in an effort to sabotage the ship’s engine room.
And just to spice things up a little, some of the crew try to rape the Congresswoman! Later, she attempts to trick Richter into thinking she likes him in an effort to kill him by taking her top off! Lady, you are definitely getting reelected!
It’s only toward the end of the film that Golden Boy ditches the guns and starts to go to work with the kickboxing, but there isn’t much and what you do get isn’t that impressive looking. That’s not to say that Golden Boy’s skills are in doubt. After all, he made a series of movies including Live By The Fist, Full Contact, and One Man Army. A guy with that many bargain basement action movies under his belt can’t possibly suck!
Still, director Cirio H. Santiago proves that he’s much better at this sort of thing when it involves Richard Norton cruising the wastelands in leather in such post-apocalyptic goodies as Raiders Of The Sun and Equalizer 2000.
Stranglehold is like Jeff Speakman‘s Deadly Outbreak without the humor and the action. Golden Boy is also fairly generic and his poorly dubbed gravelly voice grates on you as soon as you hear it. He isn’t done any favors by a script that just has him running around catwalks and hallways shooting people every few minutes.
The villain is an ugly, puffy guy with cheesy Australian accent (I think) and nasty slicked back hair. He isn’t threatening so much as just creepy in that whole “don’t leave your five year old alone with him” way. Wisely, Cirio only lets this thing run for 73 minutes. And it still feels about a half hour too long. If only it were as short as Golden Boy’s pony tail!
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