REVIEW: Blood Street (1988)

bloodstreet

usa-icon

1988, Star Partners II Ltd./Sunny Pictures/Pacific Summit Productions

Director:
Leo Fong
Producer:
George Chung
Writers:
Leo Fong (story and screenplay)
Matthew Harvey (screenplay)
Gavin Harvey (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Frank Harris
Editing:
Peter Jones

Cast:
Leo Fong (Joe Wong)
Richard Norton (Malcolm Boyd)
Stan Wertlieb (Aldo MacDonald)
Stack Pierce (Solomon)
Chuck Jeffreys (Bones)
Kim Paige (Vanna MacDonald)
Patty Georgeson (Taylor)
Joe Lynum (Keystone)

After his adventure in the 1986 B-movie Low Blow, Leo Fong brings back his private investigator Joe Wong in this sequel that puts our hero in the middle of a drug war.

Joe Wong, a freelancing private investigator, is one of the best in the business. Witnessing a local diner being robbed, he goes ahead and takes the law in his own hands by gunning down the robbers. Most of the police respect Wong due to his reputation. However, one day, a mysterious woman named Vanna arrives to hire Joe for a job and that is to find her missing husband. Joe learns that the missing husband is no ordinary businessman.

The missing husband is Aldo MacDonald, who has been getting involved in the world of drug smuggling. As a matter of fact, he has entered the territory of Malcolm Boyd, a highly respected drug lord and martial arts expert who spends time having parties for the elite and holding cage matches in his own living room. To find MacDonald, Joe and Vanna must infiltrate Boyd. However, things are about to come ahead when a series of double and triple crosses threaten not only the businesses of both rival drug lords, but that of Joe and Vanna as well.

Leo Fong is not only one of the most respected martial artists in the world, but is also a highly respected filmmaker in the B-movie circuit. In 1986, Fong created the character of Joe Wong, a private investigator hired to stop a deadly cult to rescue a kidnapped victim. The film showcased Fong’s trademark fighting skills as well as his knack for filmmaking. Who would have thought Fong would decide to reprise the character in a sequel? Thankfully, you don’t have to see the first film as this is more of a standalone film that just brings back the character with no reference to the 1986 film.

Richard Norton once again showcases his talents as a villain, in this case the elitist drug lord Malcolm Boyd, who when not doing business, spends his time training in kickboxing and holds parties complete with a cage in his living room where fighters do what they do best. For some reason, after seeing this film and the recently reviewed Hawkeye, it is clear that German-born Stan Wertlieb has fun playing scumbags in this case, the so-called “missing husband” who is actually Norton’s rival in the drug business. Today, he is a successful film producer of straight to DVD action films. The film also makes good use of Stack Pierce and Chuck Jeffreys as a father and son duo who serve as Norton’s bodyguards. Jeffreys gets to show a little bit of his martial arts skills but once again shows why he could pass as Eddie Murphy’s brother with his brash smart-alecky humor when needed.

The one annoying factor of the film is former Playmate Kim Paige, who plays Vanna, the woman who hires Joe to find her husband. She comes off as brash and just downright annoying. Perhaps it is how her character is written but she comes off as a brat who thinks she can use her body to get men to do her bidding but for the most part fails. Her attempts to seduce Joe as “payment” for the job is met with total resistance but she also brings a taste of femme fatale to the mix as well in a harrowing twist to the story.

Speaking of the story, the film’s script does have a scene that could be deemed unnecessary and would have made more sense had the actual villain did this specific deed. In one scene, Joe’s daughter is killed by an out of nowhere character named “Indian Roscoe”, who apparently Joe had stopped before (and is not in Low Blow), causing Joe to find him at a bar and get his revenge by pummeling him. This happens halfway through the film perhaps as filler but it would make more sense had perhaps Norton, Pierce, or Jeffreys’ characters had done the murder. To bring this out of left field puts this as unnecessary.

Blood Street is definitely a standalone sequel to the 1986 film Low Blow and for the most part, is what you would expect from the mind of Leo Fong. However, the filler scene truly is deemed unnecessary and Kim Paige’s Vanna is quite an annoyance and doesn’t help the film much. However, it does have some moments and is truly meant for fans of this brand of action film.

WFG RATING: C-

VHS

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s