With a title like "Raw Force," this movie could have been about anything--a gritty cop drama, a kickboxing revenge story, a rapey half-mans-half-monkeys melodrama, or perhaps a women in prison film. The possibilities are kinda endless, making the title all the more alluring since this film came into my home sans-cover as part of the 20-movie "Grindhouse Experience" DVD collection. Imagine my delight to discover that "Raw Force" is a US/Philippines co-production of "Counter Destroyer"-level madness. Now, if I'd seen the poster shown here, I might be a bit disappointed. I mean, yeah, all that stuff is in it, but... still. That poster sets the bar kinda fucking high, don't you think?
I know there's a lot of debate over the value of the label "So Bad It's Good" but--dear friends--this movie earns that distinction. Generally speaking, movies made with the intention of being low-budget action- or horror-comedies fall flat, but this is just so ineptly-yet-lovingly crafted that I just couldn't hate it. Its humorous moments were so surreal in nature as to border on art, and the increasingly insane plot clipped along at a pleasantly brisk pace.
On tonight's very special episode of "The A Team..."
I imagine the suspense is killing you by now, isn't it? You're dying to know exactly what "Raw Force" is about, aren't you? Sit down, take a deep breath, and I'll clue you in.
"Raw Force" is characterized by its use of subtle historical allusions
"Raw Force" is about a Hitler-moustached jade smuggler (accompanied by his be-mulleted pot-smoking sidekick, who we know is a hippie because he says "maaaan" a lot) who is kidnapping and human-trafficking Filipina prostitutes to an island inhabited by cannibal monks who have the power to raise the corpses of the dead kung-fu outcasts who are buried there. When a low-budget cruise-ship full of Eighties Stereotypes (captained by Cameron "Never Say No To A Paycheck" Mitchell) sets its course for this island, the smugglers stage a whimsically-attired pirate raid on the ship to halt their progress. There are survivors of this vicious-yet-ludicrous attack that include the SWAT team member named Cookie (no, really) and four karate masters who find themselves stranded on the monks' island where a final showdown (or several, really) takes place.
It's eighty minutes of unadulterated insanity, seasoned with giant killer piranhas, a murderous Mafia wife, naked chicks galore, a Nazi pirate in heart-print boxer shorts, and more poorly-dubbed maniacal laughter than you could possibly hope for. By the time the zombie ninjas showed up, I was wearing a quite-possibly-alarming grin. Even the inexplicable birthday-party-cum-orgy (for a character who otherwise has no role in the film) comedy montage made me beam at its brazen stupidry. An entire cake gets dropped on a woman, prompting her to run up to one of the protagonists' rooms to shower and--aber naturlisch--get it on! A chubby balding man breaks ice with his head! Another man inexplicably talks about how nude modeling is the Devil's work, and this never comes up in the film again! HELP--IT'S ALL TOO AWESOME!!!!
Is it a coincidence that Rey King's only screen credit is "Raw Force?" I sense this still was captured right before or after some Inappropriate Touching.
Karate Guy: "What did he want?"
Cameron Mitchell Captain Guy: "I'm not sure, but it wasn't my body!"
"I'm having a CRAPGASM!"
To say every line is uttered with a straight face would be to imply that this was an intentional acting choice, and I certainly don't want to suggest this. I suspect every line was uttered with a straight face because it was being spoken by someone who'd never been in front of a camera before and was paralyzed by fear, or perhaps in the grips of a powerful drug.
Yes, "Raw Force," I will be here for your continuation. I'm waiting. It's been over twenty-five years--the world needs you now more than ever.
Bask in the glow of "Raw Force" on Flickr.