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Monday, 4 September 2017

Retro Review: Rage & Honor (1992)

Rage & Honor
Cast: Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Brian Thompson, Terri Treas, Catherine Bach
Genre: Martial Arts Action

Plot: A school teacher fights drugs and corruption with the help of an Australian policeman and her martial arts skills

'Entertaining Lower - Tier Martial Arts Action Fest'

Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton star in this B-movie action martial arts flick alongside Bryan Thompson with a bad mullet, looking like a member of Bon Jovi, as the main bad guy. Australian martial arts actor, Norton plays a bodyguard by the name of Preston 'Gutless Wonder From Down Under' Michaels, who is also a Melbourne cop & is skilled at origami and feels he can no longer be an observer and just stand around and watch the bad guys get away with their deeds. He joins forces with a public school teacher, Miss Fairfield played by Rothrock, who also so happens to be a karate expert and together, they try to thwart a criminal mastermind in Drago (Bryan Thompson). Thompson was very monotone and one-note-ish throughout, playing a typical bad guy who has the same expression on his face throughout, which is a bit of a shame as I do like him in some of his other roles. 

Preston later uncovers police corruption in the force, after seeing some crooked cops involved in drug dealing and tries to bust them for it. When he is framed for the murder of a corrupt cop, Preston turns to Fairfield to help clear his name. 

It was also one of the last Orion pictures movies that got made before they got bought out by Sony. 

Plot and structure-wise, Rage & Honor is incoherent and the motivations of the bad guy characters at most are so half-baked, one who tunes into this movie will be likely to watch it for the fights more so than for any other reason. If there is one issue Rage & Honor has, it's that Richard Norton's character being exposed to cheap jibes about him being Australian. Rage & Honor is also another one of those Western-based martial arts action films that never seem to break out of its direct to DVD and straight to video status. The fight choreography and martial arts action quality are practically the same as in the likes of the China O'Brien, Martial Law movies and so many other U.S and Canada martial arts action films. 

Some may complain and dislike the heavy amount of screen time allocated to Norton's character - I wasn't fussed by this and I thought he has a natural presence and charisma that he exudes in the movie. In contrast to the likes of other B-movie martial arts actors such as Jeff Speakman and Jeff Wincott, Norton's personality, for me, makes him a tad more appealing than those two.

There is a fight scene with some hookers taking on Fairfield and Michaels, there is another fight scene that ends with a Japanese guy helping out Michaels after the pair battle one versus one against each other. The action, like I mentioned is identical to many other of these types of films, but Rothrock and Norton are great in them. 

Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton have worked together before, prior to Rage of Honor 1 & 2; one example being The Millionaire's Club alongside Sammo Hung, and yet again with this movie, they worked well as a duo. Rage of Honor is a low budget martial arts action flick that is watchable and entertaining, thanks to the main leads, who hold this movie together and make it work. I liked this one more than Martial Law 2 with Jeff Wincott & Cynthia Rothrock, as the action and martial arts set pieces were livelier and a tad more varied here.

Final Verdict:

This is one of those low- tier martial arts based films where if you keep your expectations low and not expect too much, that you will enjoy it. Sure enough, it ought to have been better in different areas, but Richard Norton and Cynthia Rothrock are a great team and they work off each other so well. It was also good to see Norton as the good guy hero for a change, in contrast to movies such as Mr Nice Guy, where he was the chief antagonist to Jackie Chan. 

But overall, Rage of Honor was entertaining and extremely watchable for me; some Australians may be taken aback by the jokes and attacks about their homeland, but I'm sure it was and is all harmless and tongue & cheek. It's a solid martial arts B-movie that I will rewatch again. 


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