Kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson goes a fourth round in one of B-movie martial arts’ top film series of the nineties.
Danny Holt is a repo man who is good at his job. A skilled fighter as well, he will use his skills against anyone who attempts to prevent him from doing his job. He is also a loving father to young Molly. One day on the job, Danny finds himself doing a repo on a car that belongs to Weiss, an arms dealer, after facing off against Weiss’ man Scarface. Danny finds a box of chocolates in the car and takes them out.
Unbeknownst to Danny, the chocolates contains pieces of a nuclear warhead that Weiss plans to sell. When Weiss learns of the repo, he sends his men on a full-fledged assault at the repo garage, killing all of Danny’s friends. Weiss also sends in Lisa, one of his top associates, to disguise as a babysitter to kidnap Molly. Danny soon learns the truth, but finds himself not only facing Weiss and his goons, but the FBI, who consider Danny a suspect. To clear his name, Danny must rely on both Molly’s real babysitter Shannon and his martial arts skills.
After Bloodfist and Bloodfist II, both of which can be deemed tournament films, the third installment began more of an action-adventure scheme that would be the heart of the rest of the series. While Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight can be pretty much deemed as the worst of the series, this fourth installment is a major improvement.
As with the third installment, kickboxing champion turned actor Don “The Dragon” Wilson plays a new character. In this case, he is repo man Danny Holt, who finds himself in the wrong place and the wrong time. What makes the film interesting is the very twisty plot. As it starts with Danny doing his job and getting the wrong car, it goes from a man rescuing his kidnapped daughter to a man having to do both rescue his daughter and clear his name as he is wanted by both sides of the law. He is a true underdog here, yet it helps that he knows martial arts.
While the supporting cast consists of veteran actors such as James Tolkan (best known for his role as the Principal in the Back to the Future films) and Amanda Wyss (best known for her role in the original Nightmare on Elm Street), as with the other Bloodfist films, kickboxing champions help make up the supporting cast as well. In this installment, there’s former K.I.C.K. Super Middleweight Kickboxing Champion Dennis Keiffer (who later got rave as the bullwhip wielding henchman of Christopher Walken in The Rundown (2003)), former kickboxing champ/boxer Dino Homsey, and Gary Daniels, who made a name for himself in the 1990’s as one of the top B-movie action stars.
The fight choreography here is perhaps the best of the entire series. With the success of Ring of Fire, veteran Art Camacho handled the fight sequences here and with his role as one of PM Entertainment’s top fight directors, Camacho brings his style to this film and his experience with Wilson and Daniels showcases why the two on-screen battles between the two are clearly the best of the film. Not to mention that the other fights, even with future Angel Fist star Catya Sassoon, were well handled.
As a result, as its own movie, Bloodfist IV: Die Trying is actually a really good Don Wilson film. It is a shame that they called it “Bloodfist IV,” but that shouldn’t stop anyone from seeing it and judging for yourself.
WFG RATING: B
A Concorde (New Horizons) production. Director: Paul Ziller. Producer: Mike Elliott. Writer: Paul Ziller; story by Rob Kerchner. Cinematography: Christian Sebaldt. Editing: David Beatty.
Cast: Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Catya Sassoon, Amanda Wyss, Kale Browne, James Tolkan, Gary Daniels, Liz Torres, Dan Martin, Dino Homsey, Gene LeBell, Herman Poppe, Stephen James Carver, John LaMotta, Alexander Folk, Heather Lauren Olson.