REVIEW: Extreme Force (2001)

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2001, Creative Light Entertainment/Buena Vida Productions

Director:
Michel Qissi
Producers:
Hector Echavarria
Pablo Garcia
Michel Qissi
Writers:
Michel Qissi
Jonathan Davenport
Cinematography:
Kenny Beaumont
Editing:
Tim Gregoire

Cast:
Hector Echavarria (Marcos DeSantos)
Michel Qissi (Kong Li)
Youseelf Qissi (Cole)
Nikki Lemke (Bianca)
Myriam Mesdagh (Sharka)
Louis Iacoviello (President Khun)
Adam Leadbeater (General Vat Kallac)
Chad A. Martin (Governor Hank Hawkins)

World martial arts champion Hector Echavarria and Michel Qissi team-up for this action throwback that brings reminiscence to the late 80s-early 90’s martial arts B-flicks.

Marcos DeSantos is a daring thief whose crew include Cole and Bianca. However, he has grown tired of the life and just wants to be with his girlfriend. When he informs Cole that he is planning to leave the business, Cole promises if Marcos will pull off one last heist, he will accept his resignation. Half-American half-Mongolian President Khun has arrived to Orlando with his ring representing the Seal of Mongolia. Marcos, Cole, and Bianca team up to accomplish the mission. However, a bitter Cole shoots down Marcos and leaves with Bianca and the Seal.

Marcos is saved by President Khun’s assistant Sharka and bodyguard Kong Li and spends the next month being nursed back to health. Upon recovery, Marcos decides to help the Mongolian government retrieve the Seal. However, not having completely recovered, Marcos undergoes superior training from the very quiet but powerful Kong Li. When Cole and Bianca learn that Marcos is still alive, they hatch a plan to ensure that Marcos will not exact revenge on them. However, Marcos now has a trustworthy ally in Kong Li, who must make sure that the reputation of Mongolia is still intact and the only way it can be done is to bring back the Seal.

At a time where the B-movie martial arts film genre was slowly waning in favor of more big budgeted affairs, even if temporary, Hector Echavarria was just coming off his success as an actor in Argentina. The martial arts champion, fresh off being inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame, made this film along with Los Bravos, or The Falkland Man, as his first feature length American martial arts movies. While he stars and produced this film, the real genius behind the film is none other Michel Qissi, who co-stars, co-wrote, and directed the film.

As with most of these martial arts films, the acting is going to be pretty horrendous and that it is. Everyone knows the real reason to see these types of films. However, in his case, Qissi himself has very limited speech power in the film and it is because he now plays a good guy version of perhaps the most iconic role in his career.

Qissi’s Kong Li is that of Tong Po from the first two installments of the original Kickboxer saga. It looks as if he is even sporting the mask he wore in the second film to play Kong Li. However, unlike the unstoppable brutal killer Tong Po, Kong Li starts out the tough guy and for the most part, still brings that to the table. However, in a very interesting scene, he shows a likable side when he bonds with our hero Marcos.

Qissi’s real-life brother Youssef plays the traitorous Cole, who after the pivotal scene where he betrays Marcos, is mad at both Marcos and himself. However, he lets the temptation of money get to him as it is clear he and Nikki Lemke’s Bianca, only there to be the eye candy member of the team, only care about the money where for Marcos, it is more than money at stake.

In charge of the fight scenes is stuntman Phi-Long Nguyen, who also appears as “Sniper”. Nguyen utilizes Hector Echavarria’s skills quite well in the fight scenes. As mentioned, Echavarria may not be the greatest actor, but can he kick some major butt with the right style. Echavarria in the film practically emulates Jean-Claude Van Damme and yet still makes it his own while Qissi brings that Tong Po-style of action to his fights. It is as if Nguyen answers this burning question: What if Kurt Sloane and Tong Po were not to fight each other but in fact, become allies? This film’s fights answer that question. Also give Youssef Qissi credit too. While he is primarily a boxer, the younger Qissi can throw quite a punch and does some low kicks, but he’s more of a Western boxing stylist and it shows when he fights.

Extreme Force is a bad-acting yet decent fight flick that brings back the American B-movie martial arts flick of yore. A story about betrayal and redemption whose only assets are the fight scenes. The big fans may want to take a look at this one.

WFG RATING: C+

DVD

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