Sunday, June 28, 2015

Heatseeker (1995)

After last week's review of One Man's Justice, I've been wanting to stay in the 90's as I think we have a lot of untapped potential for some previously missed B-movie classics. So we're heading over to the ACTION section again, scanning the glorious VHS box art and we find this.....


"Meet the ultimate warrior in cyber-technology". I am actually quite nervous about meeting this man. Just look at the box cover. The dude has robot parts and appears quite menacing. Just the fact that I am unsure if this cyborg is good or evil has me intrigued enough to see what sort of damage he can cause. I am hoping for a robotic fist through some poorly spackled drywall. So we'll rent this one and hopefully our Queasarito box hasn't gotten cold.


Heatseeker was released in 1995 by our beautiful B-movie friends at Trimark, the company behind such awesome pieces of work as Warlock, Leprechaun, The Dentists and Pinocchio's Revenge. Some of those films may find their way into this reviewers database, who knows. The director of Heatseeker is Albert Pyun, the man behind Cyborg, Kickboxer 2 and the Nemesis quadrology. The man knows his way around a kickboxing movie and a cyborg movie, so naturally one would think he knows his way around a kickboxing cyborg movie. Right?

The film stars Keith H. Cooke as "Chance O'Brien", the world champion kickboxer. Cooke is a real like martial arts master and has been seen in Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation so I believe he has been typecast his whole movie career. Chance's manager is "Jo", played by Tina Cote. This actress has a filmography that includes Nemesis 2 and she was "Woman in Bar #1" in Barb Wire, so she is obviously just collecting a paycheck with her turn in this film. She has a haircut that you might find in a 90's lesbian karaoke bar. She also shows boob, just so the film can reach multiple demographics. The film also contains Thom Mathews as "Bradford". Mathews is best known as the adult Tommy in Friday the 13th Part VI and as "Brick Bardo" in the movie Bloodmatch. His suits in this film is the stuff of legends with the pinstripes and the size XXXL. Norbert Weisser is "Tsui Tung". Now, normally a man with that name would be of Asian descent, but he's not. Weisser is a master thespian from other films like his role as "Zeppelin Pilot" in The Rocketter and "German Diplomat" in Chaplin, so his appearance in this film gives it tons of credence. Finally, this film would not be complete without mentioning the presence of b-movie specialist and 90's icon Gary Daniels as "Xao", the non-Chinese cyborg kickboxer. I call him a 90's icon but he's still making direct-to-video films like a mofo, and I'm sure he'll end up here again.

The plot: The year is 2019. Evil marketing director for the Sianon Corporation, Tsui Tung (Weisser), meets with the heads of the company. He wants to exhibit Sianon's dominance on the cyber-technology market by organizing a fight tournament showcasing fighters backed by corporations who are also in the cyber-technology market. He wants to legitimize the tournament by involving world champion fighter, Chance O'Brien. Chance and his manager/fiancee Jo have no interest in the fight. So, of course, while Chance and Jo are about to get it on in their hotel room, Chance is cock-blocked by Tung and his men, who burst into the room and kidnap Jo. This forces Chance to head to New Manila for the fight. Once in New Manila, Chance just starts walking the streets for no reason other than for an opportunity for Tung to send guys dressed in 90's style silk shirts and slacks to attack him, knock him out, break his knuckles and leave him laying for the local kids to strip him of his clothes and valuables. This gives us a scene where Chance runs absolutely buck naked through the streets of the Phillipines, trying to get to his boat on time in order to get to the secret island where the tournament is being held. Meanwhile, Tung has implanted a chip in Jo's neck which controls her. Tung wants Jo to train Xao, who is still not Chinese. Tung also wants Jo to LOVE Xao because even cyborgs need love, I guess. Chance befriends Bradford, who is representing his own company. Turns out that the evil Tung has kidnapped a lot of people to get fighters to participate in his tournament. The end game is that Tung wants Chance to face his Xao in the finals.

We get plenty of scenes of cyborgs fighting, which ultimately end with a cyborg head getting crushed, or a cyborg leg getting broken. The fight scenes are well done for this type of film. The plot was simple enough to follow with the tournament, the evil backer of a tough cyborg fighter, the kidnapping to force the human fighter into the tournament, then the fight scenes. The performance of Weisser as the evil Tung was commendable as he took it over the top, which as noted before, is always appreciated. The dialogue here was pretty dull, but there were a few gems from the voice-over announcer for the fight scenes such as "He has a record of sixty wins, no losses and has sent four men to their deaths." and "Liu has pulled a gun! I don't know what this means!".

If you need my recommendation to watch a film about kickboxing cyborgs, then you're not watching movies properly. IT'S ALL ABOUT KICKBOXING CYBORGS! The baseline rating for a movie of this type is ***. Heatseeker doesn't trailblaze or anything. It's not the template for kickboxing cyborg movies, but it does provide a fun ninety minutes that doesn't get bogged down with dull moments. ***

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