1981, Films International
Eric Lee (Eric)
Bob Ramos (Curt)
Ralph Castellanos (Bishop)
Louis Bailey (Carter)
Gerald Okamura (Chong)
Sid Campbell (Bishop’s Man)
Nancy Lee (Angela)
Paul Kyriazi (Paul)
Garrick Huey (David)
Joshua Johnson (Josh)
Alan Gin (Foon)
The King of Kata, Eric Lee, stars in his pretty exciting action film from director Paul Kyriazi.
Eric runs a martial arts school in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He also lives with his mother Sue-Lin, brother David, and half-sister Angela. One day, Angela finds herself kidnapped by the notorious bandit Bishop, who is making a major deal with Asian crime boss Foon. To add some extra insurance and protection, Foon sends his best man Chong to help Bishop make sure Angela is kidnapped and that the deal will be done.
When Eric is chosen by her mother to get Angela back, she also resorts to calling her estranged husband Curt, whom Eric still has issues with. However, out of the love he still holds for Eric’s mother, Curt decides to help. However, the duo also enlists the help of David, and two of Eric’s students, John and Paul. Together, the group head towards the mountains, armed with various weapons to get Angela back and stop both Bishop and Foon before it’s too late.
One can only respect filmmaker Paul Kyriazi for his love of martial arts. He definitely has worked with some top martial arts talent such as Ron Marchini, Sid Campbell, and now, Eric Lee. For his second film as writer/director, he wanted to showcase the amazing talents of Lee, a kung fu expert who has won numerous titles, especially in weapon forms and kata.
Here, Lee plays the typical martial arts instructor, who is always teaching his brother/student to concentrate and focus as his brother is skilled in archery, but tends to lack the focus in martial arts. As for Lee himself, he does quite well with two broadswords as his weapon of choice. The on-screen chemistry with Bob Ramos (playing estranged stepfather Curt) is somewhat reminiscent of a bickering couple, but once a dark secret gets out, it brings them together more rather than split them apart even further.
As with most action films, there is always a sympathetic henchman to the villain and in this case, it is Louis Winfield Bailey’s Carter, who feels remorse for Angela and in one scene, proceeds to take her to a cave to tell her his side of things. And naturally, co-lead villain Bishop is not too happy and forces Carter to fight his way out of taking on virtually the rest of his gang.
The action was choreographed by Lee and Sid Campbell, who also plays one of Bishop’s goons in the film. It is actually pretty decent. As the title indicates, lots of martial arts weaponry is used. A true highlight is the climatic fight between Lee and the veteran Gerald Okamura, who fight with broadsword and butterfly knives, then go to unarmed combat, then back to weapon fighting. Garrick Huey’s David is a skilled archer and uses the bow when necessary. Even the director himself gets in on the action as Eric’s student, who is also Angela’s potential boyfriend.
Definitely a martial arts cult classic, Weapons of Death is quite fun and great to see the amazingly talented cast bring their skills on the screen in a good way. Definitely a Saturday afternoon or evening viewing!
WFG RATING: B-