Here’s one of those grade B action films that showed up in the video store back in the day when movies were turning up in large numbers that you had never heard of. Some of them had cool box art and then others like this had actors with name value.
For this low budget effort we get “Angel Eyes” himself Lee Van Cleef in one of his final roles as the head of a family that when crossed doesn’t bother with police procedure. He has three sons, one of whom is left for dead in a shady deal involving a jade statue and half a million dollars. “It’s a family matter now.” he tells his oldest son and Vietnam veteran David Carradine.
It seems the local Yakuza led by Mako believes that the Van Cleef clan has both items in their possession and he will stop at nothing to get back his merchandise. He’s even employed cult film star Michael Berryman to help retrieve the items through torture and shaky acting.
There are plenty of he-man scenes for our two macho leading men. “How’d you like to be spitting teeth for a couple of weeks?” Lee Van tells one extra as he hammers his fists into a barroom victim. Carradine gets the major fight scenes as he isn’t nearly as old as Van Cleef by this time and goes into his Kung Fu moves from his television days when needed. There’s also plenty of gun play and car wrecks along the way for the juvenile action fans.
Despite this being a lowwwww budget effort from director Fred Olen Ray it makes for an enjoyable late night viewing. It’s probably one of Ray’s best films. I know that may not be a great endorsement but after all, here’s a guy who has given us Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Evil Toons among so many other lower than low budget films. Lee Van Cleef was of course near the end here but it’s fun to see him acting tough while hanging out in a bar having a beer.
Carradine had so many straight to video titles over the years. I can’t say I have seen them all but this is whole lot better than many of the films he signed on for from the mid eighties till his unfortunate demise. As for the villainous Mako, always been a fan. From the moment I saw him in The Sand Pebbles, I have always enjoyed seeing him turn up both in film and television.
For the cult fans, you not only get Berryman in the cast but are treated to Laurene Landon turning up with Roger Corman favorite Dick Miller along for the fun.
If you yearn for the simple days of coming home with a bagful of VHS tapes that had cool titles then here is some harmless fun that you may want to check out for the name value it comes with.