POWERFORCE


Year: 1982
AKA: Dragon Force
Starring: Bruce Baron, Bruce Li, Mandy Moore, James Barnett, Frances Fong
Directed by: Michael Mak



Bruce Baron stars as Jack Sargeant, super spy for the CIA and all-around ladies man. When the Princess of Monrovia is kidnapped from her bathtub by a group of ninjas (happens everyday), Sargeant is brought onto the case and heads to Hong Kong. Once there, he hooks up with the Dragon Force, led by Tau Lung (Bruce Li). Following an initiation combat, Sergeant is inducted into the Dragon Force and the entire group heads off to take on the Princess' kidnapper Gen. Marushka, who conveniently lives on Marushka Island. Using an ancient Chinese acupuncture technique, Marushka plans to exert mind control over the Princess, allowing him controls her international affairs pertaining to Monrovia. Will the Dragon Force be able to save the Princess from Marushka's evil clutch?

No doubt about it, from start to finish, POWERFORCE is an absolute blast. The fight scenes are fantastic, featuring everything from poisoned ninja stars to literally exploding ninjas. And while the ninjas may not be the most covert ever to grace the screen in their orange get ups, they certainly deliver the goods in the last half hour, showing up at every treacherous turn. Despite being an odd team of East and West, Baron and Li make a formidable team and both actors get a chance to display their martial arts prowess. Li is pretty somber through out and manages to escape Bruce Lee's shadow by not doing any "clone" nonsense. Surprisingly, while the film delivers tons of action, there are also some great moments of intentional humor. Reminiscent of the British James Bond spoofs of the mid-70s like NO. 1 OF THE SECRET SERVICE, the film definitely has its tongue planted firmly in cheek. How else would one take a scene where a guy sneezes, only to have his contact named "Ah Choo" show up and says, "That's me!" For the sleazy types (Keith), there is also some amazingly gratuitous nudity from the Princess. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is shown during her acupuncture transformation. Well, there goes that PG rating! To make matters even more surreal, her head is shaved bald immediately before the process. A bald headed, hypnotized and naked Princess being painted in Chinese characters...I'm sure there is a website for that fetish somewhere.

While not a shining example of Bruceploitation (the casting of Li is the only reason it is reviewed here), you can't go wrong with this one if you are looking for an action packed good time. It is too bad the film never caught on because this film really helps Li escape the Bruce Lee "clone" stereotype and could have propelled him into international stardom.

Reviewed by William.



Bruce Baron
That's Bruce Baron in front of poster for HIS movie. A big thanks to Bruce for sending this to us.
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