If you’ve ever wondered why all those Italian slasher movies feature models getting stalked instead of some other occupation, Blackbelt provides the answer. Don “The Dragon” Wilson‘s movie features a singer being stalked by a crazed fan. Since she is a singer there are scenes of her singing and filming a music video. Spoiler alert! Crazed fan’s total derangement is not caused by repeated exposure to singer belting out one of her rancid pop tunes!
It all demonstrates the premise that models are best for being hunted down by maniacs is a sound one. While low budget action movies that have all the story telling acumen of a primitive cave painting generally relegate the male stars to roles as either ex-special forces supermen or burn out cops, women fare even worse, usually confined to playing either a sexy model, a sexy singer, or a sexy actress.
From a filmmaker’s perspective who is trying to knock one of these movies out in two or three weeks, the model part is by far the most sensible choice since the hapless actress only has to stand around looking attractive, while the other two roles necessitate that they either sing or act! We all know that if they could actually sing or act, they wouldn’t be in a movie like Blackbelt in the first place!
Thankfully though, Blackbelt is a nasty little slice of crud you can’t help but enjoy since it’s so consistently over the top. One of its initial selling points is that it features the appearance of no less then nine martial arts champions! You can be forgiven if you think that The Dragon is somehow transported to a planet where all the great karate champions have been assembled for one universe shattering tournament to the death!
The reality though was that I didn’t have the faintest idea who any of these guys were or even when and where they showed up in the movie! I’m assuming they were part of the army of karate thugs The Dragon periodically kicked holes through in his job as bodyguard to the up and coming rock superstar Shanna. That I didn’t know who these kickboxing studs were is no knock on them. Hell, the only reason I know The Dragon is because he kept making Bloodfist movies until I had no choice but to notice him!
The Dragon is an ex-cop who now runs one of those combination karate schools/private investigation firms you see in just about every strip mall. He’s a decent guy who will sometimes beat up pimps for moms who are distressed that their wayward daughters have decided to start turning tricks. He’ll even do it for free since as he says, there’s no charge for him taking out the garbage! The Dragon has a couple of good lines like that in the movie including after he pounds a pimp in the nose and kicks him the balls when he says that the broken nose is for the girl, but the vasectomy was free! You know even the pimp would be laughing if wasn’t rolling around in agony!
What’s a wisecracking ex-cop with a mean streak though without a worthy adversary? Enter the John Sweet, the craziest mix of Norman Bates and Fabio ever! When we first meet John, he’s brought a hooker to his hotel room, excuses himself, goes to another room, kills about ten guys in there with his bare hands, come back to his hooker, puts some music on his Walkman, and then kills her! But the hooker isn’t just his normal business related killing like the group of guys were! He ties her up, chops off her finger and leaves a queen of spades playing card with her corpse!
Queen of spades? If you were in Nam, you know what that means! The Deathhead’s card! We left it on bodies as a way to let the Viet Cong know we were totally freaking nuts! John Sweet? Ten years in the special forces! Disappeared! Became a mercenary in Angola! Killed a prostitute! Saw his own mom getting raped! Killed the rapist with his own knife! And the guy is about six foot five, 250 pounds of long blonde hair! He’s like Thor meets Taxi Driver!
Matthias Hues (I Come In Peace) plays Sweet and he is definitely the sweetest thing in the movie! The story of him killing the mom’s rapist turns out to be the G rated version of what really happened! Sweet is the sort of guy who when he watches Shanna sing, he sees his mom singing instead. This is somewhat jarring to the viewer since the super sexy Shanna is replaced with this fat chick whenever we see Sweet’s mom! And by jarring, I mean it will jar you straight into laughing fits!
Norman Bates-style stalkers on steroids aside, Shanna has even more problems in her life! She has an abusive boyfriend managing her and a crooked record promoter demanding that she renew her contract with him! When she refuses, he sends an entire squad of hitman after her which puts The Dragon and Sweet in the odd position of both working to protect her so that Shanna will be okay during the ritual wedding and murder that Sweet plans on holding with her at The Dragon’s dojo during the last moments of the film!
Packed with sleaze, violence, and The Dragon in full on bad ass mode (he repeatedly punches the promoter in the face even after the guy is half dead), Blackbelt is precisely the kind of low rent thrills you want from a Roger Corman produced film! Sweet’s a hulking maniac who’s a credible opponent for The Dragon and you’re glad that The Dragon is macho enough that he never goes to the trouble of hiding Shanna anywhere but at his house or her house! The Dragon even has time to sex Shanna up between attacks! Take that crazed fan, crappy boyfriend, and scumbag promoter!
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