BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Zombies! Kung-Fu!! Stippers!!! Cannibals!!!! Monks? Raw Force, a raunchy slice of cinematic sleaze aimed at 12-year-old-boys, has it all. This poorly acted tale of high seas adventure to the burial place of great warriors is so amazingly oblivious to all of its flaws that it retains its cool and its fun. No doubt about it, Raw Force is the headlining act of a Bad Movie Night party through and through.
Much of Raw Force is insane and socially problematic, but the film in all its b-movie shoddiness remains a giddy romp through genre fields of gruesome gore and open sores. Heads are cut off. Guts are eaten. Women are thrown in bamboo cages. Black-hooded monks laugh maniacally. And all the heroes are shirtless.
The only thing the b-grade movie is missing is Chuck Norris, who, if reports are to be believed, saw the movie at its premiere with the director before the two of them went out and got shitfaced at a local neighborhood bar. The director never asked Norris what he thought of the film; Raw Force is that good.
The cult classic stars Cameron Mitchell, Geoffrey Binney, Hope Holiday, Jillian Kesner, John Dresden, and Jennifer Holmes as Ann Davis, the Filipino-American film is complete gonzo in its unfolding and that might be due to the inexperience of those involved behind the camera. Written and directed by Edward D. Murphy, Raw Force brings out the horror tucked deep within the Martial Arts explosion of the early 1980s.
Raw Force, in a quick 85-minutes, goes for the jugular in its drive-in audiences and never once flinches. Oh, it’s cheapo depot material, true, but the film – including the outlandish cover art – makes no apologies for the material. It even brags about the possibility of there being more with a “to be continued” tag after giving us a wink and a smile from our hero. There never was a sequel...but there’s still time.
The movie is about a karate club’s voyage to Warrior Island, where all badass warriors are laid to rest. Of course, thanks to the monks and their feeding of female flesh, the dead warriors are now back among the living. The film might spend too long aboard a cruise ship as the script turns its attention toward a T&A version of c-grade "Love Boat" antics, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. There’s a brawl on board the boat, which ends with two men fighting on top of a nude female who is tied to the bed. I don’t think these scenes get scripted; I suspect they just happen.
And there’s a lot of that throughout this cheese-centered tale of karate and cannibalism that the shock and schlock connoisseurs of shock over at Vinegar Syndrome have seen fit to bring to us on blu-ray. Raw Force is exactly what it claims to be.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 86 mins
Director: Edward D. Murphy
Writer: Edward D. Murphy
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Geoffrey Binney, Hope Holiday
Genre: Horror | Action
Tagline: Invaders of the Jade Tombs!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Wanna have dinner tonight, babycakes?"
Theatrical Distributor: American Panorama
Release Date: July, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 7, 2014
Synopsis: When the Burbank Kung Fu Club travels to this mysterious island, they quickly find themselves facing the bloodthirsty vengeance of flesh ripping, kung fu fighting zombies, gun-toting white slave traders and a band of strange monks, who may be the only key to explaining the madness. Edward Murphy's RAW FORCE is a virtual smorgasbord of over the top sleaze –mixing zombies, cannibals, outrageous action, gore, copious amounts of nudity and starring exploitation greats, Cameron Mitchell and Vic Diaz.
Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - October 7, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
The new transfer from Vinegar Syndrome is presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. While the film is low budget to the extreme, the material shot in the Philippines is blistering with detail. Shadows burst with layers and defined edges, too. The locations are as seedy as they sound and the dirt on the island and its leafy greens can, in fact, be seen and felt. That’s how expressive the new transfer is when it comes to detail. While there are noticeable limitations in some of the make-up and other effects, the 1080p transfer punctuates the good parts of the b-movie, too. So many pretty, pretty people for the bees to assault. The sound is presented in an adequate DTS-HD track.
There’s a 15-minute interview with director Murphy and cinematographer Frank E. Johnson that serves as the official making-of look back at the filming of this b-movie. The two men discuss how the strange film came to be. Essentially, Murphy just wanted to direct a movie. An audio interview with Jim Wynorski, the film’s editor, describes what had to be done to get the 106-minute version of the film whittled down to 86-minutes. A theatrical trailer and DVD copy of the movie is included.
- Destination: Warriors' Island (15 min)
- Audio Interview (5 min)
- Theatrical Trailer