AKA: Strike Of The Panther
Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Edward John Stazak, John Stanton, Zale Daniel, Rowena Wallace, Jim Richards, and Paris Jefferson
"Jason Blade...Every Woman's Dream...Every Criminal's Nightmare!"
Jason Blade is back! As is the rest of the cast, crew, music and backdrop to the opening credits, as this and Day Of The Panther (1988) were shot back to back. In true “45% New Footage” style, Fists Of Blood opens with a recap of the events from the previous film, with some
handy narration by Anderson (Stanton). However, it seems to me that if you watch
this one first, you would still be confused by this unnecessary and
time-killing, money-saving exercise.
Continuing exactly where its
predecessor left off, Jason (Stazak) and Gemma (Jefferson) have gotten serious in their
relationship - so serious in fact that they are now working together on
an anti-crime task force in their hometown of Perth. Despite some
rockiness in their relationship, Gemma is still dancing up a storm and
Jason is still foiling the bad guys with his martial arts skill. When the nefarious Baxter (Richards) escapes from Fremantle
prison, he kidnaps Gemma and hides her away in an abandoned
“steam factory”, the type of abandoned warehouse action movie fans know
well. Jason must fight through an army of ninjas in multi-colored hockey
masks to get to the final room to save the girl, just like in a video
game. However, two new elements are introduced into this mix - while
only touched upon in the first film, the idea of the psychic
relationship between Anderson and Jason is fleshed out more. From his
hospital bed, Anderson is able to telepathically communicate with Jason
and warn him of dangers Jason can’t necessarily see, but Anderson can.
We thought this was a fascinating and original concept that brought the
level of the movie up. Additionally, there is the character of Sgt. Lucy
Andrews (Wallace), who is working on dismantling the time bomb
Baxter set. Oh yeah - if Jason doesn’t save the Gemma on time, a bomb
will blow them all to smithereens. Can Jason Blade tangle with
Baxter once more?
This time around, director Brian Trenchard-Smith
delivers a bit more offbeat humor. The brothel scene is wacky, and the
aforementioned “Jason Ninjas” add to that. Wouldn’t you be scared if you
were all alone in a steam factory with a time bomb about to blow, and a
ninja with a multi-colored hockey mask starts moonwalking with a
baseball bat? Jason Blade faces his toughest challenge yet as he
tirelessly faces off with these and many other punks until the final
confrontation with Baxter.
Jason gets to do yet more training in
his gym, Baxter takes a lot more punishment, and elements of the
hostage drama are introduced in this installment. The idea of a bunch of
special ops officers going into a booby-trapped warehouse while a
mastermind picks them off one by one was later used in Jackie Chan’s New Police Story (2004). But like a lot of things in life, Jason Blade did it first.
are a lot of funny sounds in the
movie, and I don’t know who won the Oscar for best sound editing that
year, but it should have gone to the sound effects department of Fists
of Blood. The original title of the movie was Strike of the Panther,
which makes a lot of sense, but it was changed (there is a
video-superimposed title) to Fists of Blood by Celebrity Video in the
U.S. In other nonsensical box art news, it appears the British DVD tried
to market the film as some kind of slasher horror, but that’s just
The directly continued storyline means the two films
make a great double feature, which is perhaps what was intended. This
would be the last we would ever see of Jason Blade, and, just as
mysteriously as he arrived in all our lives, he now departs.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett