REVIEW: Blood Ring (1991)

bloodring

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Kickboxing champion Dale “Apollo” Cook unleashes his skills in this action thriller from the makers of Triple Impact and American Kickboxer 2.

Max Rivers is a martial arts expert who is involved in a con game where he makes people bet on him only to purposely throw the fights. When he’s not “fighting”, he spends his days drinking his days away. It is because his one-time girlfriend Susan has not only left him but married his best friend, Philip Dalton. Despite the change, Max still holds his loyalty to Philip, who has left his job to fight in an underground match for South American mob boss Don Carulio.

When Philip loses his match against his opponent, Carulio knows that he has lost a ton of money and Philip decides to head off. Caught by Carulio, the mob boss, who is a martial artist himself, decides to settle things fairly by making Philip fight only to kill him. When Max and Susan investigate, Susan is kidnapped and after learning of Max’s skills, decide to use Susan as the bait for Max to become his new prize fighter. However, when Max discovers the truth, he and Susan plot to escape and it is then when Max soon realizes that the only one who can stop the deadly Carulio and his men is him.

This Filipino-made B-movie martial arts film boasts the talents for five-time world kickboxing champion Dale “Apollo” Cook, who has gone off to become somewhat of an underrated figure in 90’s martial arts films before retiring to run his martial arts school in his native Oklahoma. In this film, Max is an alcoholic fighter who makes money by purposely throwing fights yet he really is quite a top notch fighter. When he is given the change to showcase his skills, his kicking skills are quite impressive as well as his skills in Muay Thai. The fights here compared to some of his other work for Davian International are in fact, some of his best.

Andrea Lamatsch, a German-born actress, seems to find herself worried about Philip then pining old feelings for Max as grieving widow Susan while an impressive Don Nakaya Neilsen may not have the best acting chops, but makes up for it in his fight skills as lead villain Carulio. Steve Tartalia, a veteran of Hong Kong action films during this period, makes the most of his limited screen time as the doomed Philip, having fights against Kris Aguilar and then Neilsen. James Gaines, a veteran of Filipino action films, really brings overacting to a whole new level as Carulio’s right hand man Stevens. Perhaps, it’s the fact that Stevens is a coke addict, snorting every chance he appears on screen but his reactions to things happening tend to go on a bit of overload.

The action is the film as mentioned showcase some of Cook’s best on-screen fights for this brand of B-movie and Neilsen may be a big man, but he has some pretty good fight skills as well. The titular ring sets up the finale for both Cook and Neilsen, in which barbed wire is placed around all the ropes and brings definite shock value to the mix.

Blood Ring is actually a decent B-movie that makes good use of its fighting stars and the finale set in a barbed wire-wrapped ring all makes for its shock value.

WFG RATING: B

A Davian International production. Director: Teddy Page (as Irvin Johnson). Producer: David Hunt. Writer: Ron Davies. Cinematography:  Arnold Alvaro.

Cast: Dale “Apollo” Cook, Andrea Lambatsch, Don Nakaya Neilsen, Steve Tartalia, James Gaines, Nick Nicholson, Kris Aguilar, Ned Hourani.

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