Jake Raye is back and finds himself in his most dangerous fight yet!
After avenging his brother’s death in Manila, Jake Raye has become a kickboxing champion. However, in his latest title defense, he accidentally kills his opponent Mickey Sheehan. Jake has decided to retire from fighting. A year has passed when he gets a call from friend Vinnie Petrello, who was his former trainer. Vinnie has gotten himself in trouble with Su, a notorious gangster, in Manila. Asking for Jake’s help, Jake reluctantly goes back to Manila.
There, he meets the mysterious Mariella, who serves an ally but also the treacherous Dieter, who works for Su. Jake finds himself kidnapped and taken on board a boat. There, he reunites with friends Bobby and Sal as well as meeting boxer John, taekwondo champion Tobo, and martial artist Manny. The group learns that Su has arranged for the fighters to compete against Su’s personal army of warriors in a tournament. Much to Jake’s dismay, he soon learns his one-time best friend has set him up and has allies himself with Su. Will Jake be able to overcome the odds and stop Su, Vinnie, and his army of warriors?
In what would be the only related installment of the eight-film martial arts series, kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson returns as Jake Raye, the hero from Bloodfist. Here, he finds himself in another deadly tournament. However, unlike the original film, he goes up against steroid-driven warriors from Su, who is played by Joe Mari Avellana, who played Jake’s mentor Kwong in the original film. Avellana does play quite a devious mastermind with Filipina actress Rina Reyes as Mariella, who seems to serve as both an ally and well, someone forced into a situation that causes her to be on the other side. ON the other hand, Robert Marius is truly evil in the role of Dieter and we mean an evil henchman who tends to sometimes go over the top when the scene calls for it.
Much like the original film, the supporting cast is made up of real-life fighters who transition to the big screen. The most recognizable face aside from Wilson would be Timothy Baker, who played Kurt McKinney’s father in No Retreat, No Surrender. Here, he plays Jake’s old pal Sal Taylor, a Shotokan karate champion and former club bouncer. Baker still has it quite well as does kickboxing champions Richard Hill as military man Bobby and James Warring as boxer John. Another kickboxing champion, Maurice Smith, as the traitorous Vinnie, would go on to have a future as a UFC fighter. The film also features two local talents in Manny Samson, who would go on to be a stunt coordinator in Filipino action films as well as taekwondo champion Monsour del Rosario, who went on to become of the Philippines’ top names in action films.
With the ensemble cast of fighters, it is clear that the fights have to be amped up a bit and do so to good effect. Wilson gets a chance to show more fighting in this one from open to end. Like Avellana, look out for martial artist and actor Ned Hourani play a different character who once again suffers a fate in the opening film. And despite some action scenes before the film’s tournament sequences, it is the tournament scenes themselves and climatic aftermath that serve as the best fights in the film as it allows the cast to showcase their skills in the screen.
Bloodfist II is just as good, if not slightly above the original film that makes good use of its fighting cast with a very intricate story involving kidnapping and betrayal. One of the best installments of the film series.
WFG RATING: B
A Concorde (New Horizons) production. Director: Andy Blumenthal. Producers: Roger Corman and Cirio H. Santiago. Writer: Catherine Cyran, based on characters created by Robert King. Cinematography: Bruce Dorfman. Editing: Karen Joseph.
Cast: Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Joe Mari Avellana, Rina Reyes, Maurice Smith, Robert Marius, Richard Hill, Timothy Baker, Steve Rogers, Monsour del Rosario, Manny Samson, Chris Aguilar, Ned Hourani.