Blood Warriors (1993)

It is a question all of us Blood Warriors ask ourselves – what makes a better fighter: having a haunted past or thirsting for vengeance?

Having a haunted past allows you to keep a healthy distance from the rest of humanity and thereby reduces your chances of having your precious lifeforce drained by horny broads lusting after your world-weary yet toned bod. A haunted guy also is able to endure pain easier because he knows he deserves it for letting whatever is haunting him to have happened in the first place.

On the flipside though, when you’re jonesing for some nice cold vengeance, it enables you to stay focused on doing violence to the target of your ire since you won’t get distracted by a bunch of sob stories that a haunted guy might get sidetracked by in an effort to redeem himself. The downside to crazed revengers is of course that they’re prone to act crazed and may actually impede their own revenge with their out of control behavior.

Blood Warriors settles the argument once and for all in rather stark fashion. Wes (David Bradley from Cyborg Cop) is an ex-marine who blames himself for his brother’s death because he believes that he accidentally shot and killed him.

He’s so haunted that he ends up in prison for a stretch of time and pushes the lady who loves him away. At least until he screws her later on in the movie when his chubby gets the better of his guilt.

This terrible burden from his past also plays a part in him trying to turn his life around and refusing to join his friend Keith’s criminal empire. Clearly, being haunted causes a guy to be a real party pooper.

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It also apparently causes him to be half-assed fighter, too! The refusal by Wes to join Keith’s drug running operation makes Keith his mortal enemy and Keith spends the last third of the movie trying to kill Wes by shooting Wes in the leg, pouring hot coffee on the wound and finally dumping him in the middle of Jakarta assuming that he’ll die in the streets!

If that isn’t bad enough, Keith starts in on Wes’s old lady who also happens to be Keith’s sister! Keith even kisses her hard on the lips and tells her that she better get used to it! I was starting to wonder if V.C. Andrews wrote the script for this one!

Luckily for all violence-loving and incest-hating action movie fans, Wes turns back up to rescue Karen before Keith can plant some flowers in her attic!

There’s a big boat chase after Wes busts Karen out of Keith’s island stronghold and Blood Warriors picks up some points for originality when Wes starts heaving grenades from his speedboat at Keith’s boat! Keith even gets his ass blown up!

But he’s already faked his death once before for no reason, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when the street urchin who saved Wes earlier tells Wes that Keith has taken over the local orphanage!

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I couldn’t quite decide whether that was a hideously imbecilic development, was unintentional parody or just damn fine storytelling, but if it meant that we’d get the showdown between Wes and Keith (Frank Zagarino from Cy-Warrior and Striker) that the movie has been dangling in front of us ever since we saw the credits, well, let’s start shooting some orphan hostages!

This final showdown that sees Wes and Keith fall off a roof and right into a warehouse with a blast furnace is where we finally get the answer to question of haunted past vs. vengeance.

Keith pretty much has his way with Wes, stabbing him and beating him repeatedly with pipes as well as with a chain wrapped around his fist. This was all happening of course while Wes was still haunted by his brother’s death. In fact, he’s down and out when Keith drops it on him that it was actually Keith who killed his brother and not Wes after all!

This conveniently timed revelation is like flicking a switch inside Wes to Defcon One Million! Wes gets up and proceeds to beat the skidmarks off Keith’s shorts! Then Wes gets out of the warehouse right before it blows up with Keith inside! Now Wes is only haunted by how awesome he is!

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Those of you not inclined to these deep philosophical debates will undoubtedly want to skip Blood Warriors because as conventional action entertainment, it fails badly. It’s incredibly boring for long stretches (another pitfall of poorly handled haunted heroes), the action scenes are likewise fairly tedious (how long do I have to watch Wes clinging to the roof of a car as it cruises around downtown Jakarta?), and the movie is so poorly structured, I started to wonder half way through it if Frank Zagarino was even in it! (He didn’t appear until about the 50 minute mark.)

Another potential issue for normal viewers is that not a lot of what happens makes much sense. Besides Keith pointlessly faking his own death, there’s also a rival crime boss during the first half of the movie who discovers the faked death, kidnaps Karen and then gets killed by Keith. That entire storyline just reeked of padding since the whole point of the movie was Wes, Keith, and their feud over whether Wes would join Keith’s operation and get to bang his sister!

And did Wes have to dress up like Billy Jack’s little brother with his black cowboy hat and jean jacket for much of the movie? And what was up with Keith wanting to kill everyone who didn’t join his business, especially his friends? If Keith killed Wes’ brother for not going along with his plan, why did he think that Wes would be any different? And why waste all that time and effort springing Wes from prison and dragging him all the way from America to Indonesia just so Wes could turn him down? Wouldn’t a phone call have accomplished the same thing?

A dull, irrelevant set up leads to an absurd story that can’t even be saved by the sluggish fighting on display. Purely an academic exercise for action-philosophy students only.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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