REVIEW: Shootfighter 2 (1996)

shootfighter2

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1996, ANA Productions

Director:
Paul Ziller
Producer:
Alan Amiel
Writers:
Greg Mellott
Peter Shaner
Cinematography:
Hanania Baer
Editing:
Omer Tal

Cast:
Bolo Yeung (Shingo)
William Zabka (Ruben)
Michael Bernardo (Nick)
Chase Randolph (Lew Rawlins)
Brett Baxter Clark (Shark)
Kristy Eisenberg (Sheri)
Joe Son (Lance Stuart)
Jorge Gil (Eddy Marquette)
Marc Macauley (Malo)
John Salvitti (Tony)
Bill Shaw (Sgt. Grey)
Joseph Cox (Joe Rawlins)

The legendary Bolo Yeung is forced into the deadly sport he long retired from in this pretty nifty sequel to the 1992 tournament film.

In Miami, a young shootfighter attempts to escape after refusing to kill his latest opponent. However, he is busted and faces the proprietor of the shootfighting ring, Lance. Lance uses his brute strength to kill the young fighter. The victim is the son of San Francisco police chief Lew Rawlings. Intent on revenge, he is given permission to start a sting operation to bust the shootfighting ring and gets the help of prisoner Eddy to find the top fighters in the L.A. area.

Eddy recommends Nick and Ruben, who competed in Mexico in shootfighting. Along with their mentor Shingo, the legendary shootfighter who stopped the Mexico fights a few years back, they are blackmailed in helping Rawlings. Along with a retired shootfighter, Shark, the trio sets out to infiltrate Lance’s ring but they soon will learn that busting the ring will not be enough as for one fighter, it becomes a personal mission to put an end to it permanently.

Directed by Paul Ziller and co-written by one of the screenwriters of Police Story IV: First Strike, this film is practically just about as good as its predecessor. While the level of bloodshed is tame compared to its semi-ultraviolent original, the action is nicely done, but more on that shortly.

The plot is quite interesting as it reunites the legendary Bolo Yeung with fellow original stars William Zabka and Michael Bernardo in a new adventure. Here, they are forced into the sport of shootfighting for a different reason. They must help out a revenge seeking police chief avenge his son by busting the shootfighting ring. While Yeung may get the top billing, he’s not involved much in the film in terms of screen time, yet at the same time, he proves to be the pivotal character whose expertise forces him back into the game. As always Zabka and Bernardo are either kicking serious tail or trying to rib either each other or the new guy of the group, Brett Clark as ex-shootfighter Shark.

The main villain of the film, Lance, is played by Joe Son, a Korean-born martial artist and ex-pro wrestler who will be best known as Dr. Evil’s henchman “Random Task” in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Son plays it off well as a man who is all about both business and winning. When he’s not killing opponents, he tries to make as money as he can despite a slight objection from his company’s board and financial planner. He has two top henchmen, played by usual villain henchman actor Marc Macauley and Donnie Yen stunt team member John Salvitti. For those expecting Salvitti to showcase his skills as he did with best friend with Donnie Yen in the good ol’ days will be severely disappointed. However, all is not lost.

While Alan Amiel (the film’s producer) served as martial arts choreographer, John Salvitti lent his experience out as served as action coordinator along with Bill Shaw. The shootfighting scenes are nicely done, especially when one sees Cesar Carneiro, a capoeirista who appeared in The Quest (1996), on the screen. He showcases his awesome skills and the other fights are nicely done. Even Clark, who doesn’t really have martial arts experience when compared to his co-stars, holds his own against his opponents. Of course, Bernardo and Zabka still strut their stuff, but those who are waiting for the legend Yeung to showcase his stuff will have to wait until the third act of the film but it is well worth the wait.

Shootfighter 2 is not a bad sequel. In fact, it is almost as good as the original, even if we wait for Yeung to unleash his fury. Pretty good fights and a pretty decent plot for a 90’s straight to video action sequel.

WFG RATING: B

This title is currently out of print, but was available on VHS from Columbia TriStar Home Video.

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