After two outings as Jake Raye, kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson is back in this third installment…as a prisoner.
In prison, Jimmy Boland attempts to protect a friend from a local bruiser gang when he sees his friend being assaulted. Using martial arts, he ultimately kills the leader of the gang and when the warden gets wind of what has happened, he decides to send Jimmy to the worst prison block. The reason is because the warden knows that Blue will seek revenge against Jimmy. Luther was Blue’s drug supplier and now that the supply is gone, Blue does indeed plot his revenge.
Upon his entry in his new “home”, Jimmy meets Wheelhead, the leader of a band of white supremacists. When he invites Jimmy to join the gang, Jimmy, who is Asian-American, refuses and Wheelhead, feeling offended, also wants to get rid of Jimmy. Meanwhile, Jimmy has eventually bonded with his new cellmate, Stark, who is set to be released soon. However, Blue and Wheelhead have decided to put aside their differences to take out the common enemy and that common enemy is Jimmy.
With his starring role in Bloodfist and Bloodfist II, where he played the hero Jake Raye in two different tournaments, kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson returns in this third installment that takes a different route. To start, Wilson plays a brand new character in Jimmy Boland. In addition, the film is set in a prison and it was released at a time when the infamous tale of Rodney King occurred. Perhaps the reason why this film was made was to bring the effects of racism in the midst, but in addition, make for a decent action film.
Kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson once again shines as this time, he is in the middle of a race war that puts him as the common enemy between two stereotypical gangs. One is the African-American drug dealers led by Blue, played by the late Gregory McKinney. The other is a gang of white supremacists led by Wheelhead, played by Rick Dean. Like its predecessors, the film also features real-life martial arts champions in roles as pretty much thugs sent to kill Wilson’s character. They include Australian kickboxing champion Stan “The Man” Longinidis and former kickboxing champion Ian Jacklin as members of Wheelhead’s gang and Peter “Sugarfoot” Cunningham, who is sadly wasted when compared to his performances in both No Retreat No Surrender and Above the Law, as a member of the drug dealing gang.
The original Shaft, Richard Roundtree, brings a more grounded effort in the role of Jimmy’s cellmate Stark, who serves as a mentor to Jimmy. Stark believes in equality rather than separation and it is after one of Wilson’s confrontations that his voice is heard as perhaps the catalyst that brings a sense of unity amongst some of the prisoners. And naturally, this angers the two villains of the film. There is an additional side character in Diddler, played by John Cardone. While his crime isn’t completely revealed, the appearance of someone during visitor’s day gives the viewer quite a guess and it is when he helps Wilson’s Jimmy that brings a sense of redemption for this character.
Paul Maslak, Eric Lee, and Don “The Dragon” Wilson choreographed the film’s fight sequences and while there are fisticuffs in the film, it is sporadic compared to a more dramatic element that is meant to serve its purpose in terms of the effects of racial prejudice. The fights though are not too bad for the most part. The Longinidis-Wilson brawl in the prison yard is a short and sweet fight that makes good use of both the martial artists’ skills. While McKinney and Dean are not exactly martial artists, they do quite well when it comes to being masterminds and manipulators. Richard Paul’s warden is also quite a manipulator as he intends to make life hell for everyone to keep his authority in line but even that tends to have some possible consequences.
Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight is a pretty good installment of the film series, all in part to its message about racism while at the same time, making the most of its fighting cast.
WFG RATING: B
A Concorde (New Horizons) production. Director: Oley Sassone. Producer: Roger Corman. Writers: Alison Burnett and Charles Mattera. Cinematography: Rick Bota. Editing: Eric L. Beason.
Cast: Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Richard Roundtree, Rick Dean, Gregory McKinney, Richard Paul, Charles Boswell, Brad Blaisdell, Stan Longinidis, Peter Cunningham, Laura Stockman.