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Monday 3 June 2019

Burl reviews Raw Force! (1981)

Hello hello hello, it’s Burl, back again with another review! This time I’ve got a picture that’s banana-monster from the word go: that famous and much-loved mulebender Raw Force! I like to think of it as the early-80s exploitation movie that aliens would make if they’d had early-80s exploitation movies described to them, but had never actually seen one themselves, ha ha!
Of course, having had goodies like Without Warning, Deadly Prey and Action U.S.A. described to them the aliens would hasten to hire Cameron Mitchell for their picture! They’d sprinkle in a few other familiar faces, like Jillian Kesner from Starhops and John Dresden from Final Mission and The Dark, and they’d certainly want Vic Diaz, from Beast of the Yellow Night and a thousand other Filipino extravaganzas, to play a cannibalistic monk who grins and claps to express his delight!
And what sort of plot did these extraterrestrial exploiteers cook up for their epic? Well, it seems there’s an island in the Far East where all the disgraced martial arts masters go to die, and a tribe of monks who exchange the big lumps of jade they mine in exchange for ladies of the evening, whom they barbeque to obtain the power to revive the kung-fu masters as zombies! They barter for these lovely comestibles with a gang led by a big greasy guy with a Hitler moustache and an ice cream suit, who kidnap them back in Manila or wherever and fly them in their float plane to Warriors’ Island!
Into this situation comes a little cruise ship whose passenger roster seems comprised largely of martial artists - ha ha, but it’s also a love boat, naturally! This ship is, of course, bound for Warriors’ Island, and once the Hitler simulacrum, Mr. Speer, gets wind of this, he decides he must kill everybody on the ship before his secret is discovered!
Our heroes aboard the kung-fu ship include a couple of dudes from the Burbank Karate Club; a lady police officer; the ship’s cook; and a mustacheman played by a guy whose last acting job for this had been Plan 9 From Outer Space! Ha ha! There’s also Captain Cameron Mitchell, of course, and the brassy lady who owns the ship and serves as cruise director! Some of the greatest scenes in the picture involve random passengers, like for instance one fellow, celebrating his 30th birthday, who is apparently the result of Jeff Goldblum going through his teleporter and fusing with Richard Benjamin instead of a fly! Ha ha! There’s also Camille Keaton in a bathroom with a fellow trying to unzip her fly, and a most gnarly bartender who atomizes a huge block of ice with his fivehead!
But much of the movie is made up of kung-fu battles! There are in addition lots of naked ladies, some moments of goofy gore, some disco dancing, a number of explosions, and a scene where the monks very thoroughly baste one young lady in preparation for the barbeque! There’s a happy ending though, and then, as in Buckaroo Banzai, a title card announces a sequel that has yet to materialize! All in all, though it certainly isn’t a good movie, it’s a pretty terrific picture! It’s hard to know what sort of a rating to give this one, which is why I’ve always given ratings against my better judgment; but on reflection I suppose I’ll give Raw Force three axe attacks! Ha ha, thanks, alien moviemakers!

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