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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Retro Review: Rage & Honor II: Hostile Takeover (1993)

Rage and Honor II: Hostile Takeover
Cast: Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Patrick Muldoon, Frans Tumbuan
Genre: Action

Plot: An Australian ex-cop and a CIA agent follow a trail of extortion and murder

'As Enjoyable As Rage & Honor 1, But Not Great'

Another direct-to-video action martial arts B-movie fodder, Rage & Honor 2 is the direct sequel to the first film and sees Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton reuniting for another outing as the martial arts cops tackling the villains. & much like with the original Rage & Honor, Norton gets ample screen time impressing in the fight scenes and displaying more of his casual Australian charm as Preston Michaels. Some of Norton's fight scenes were pleasing to watch. He also gets a rare chance to show more of his skills though Muay Thai/kickboxing whilst training in a gym. Just recently, I discovered he was in the dire Z-movie, Gymkata. Cynthia Rothrock as Fairfield opens the film in typical fashion by high-kicking everyone - only to reappear during the second half. It was a similar situation as seen in Martial Law with Rothrock and Jeff Wincott spending the large majority of the film in individual scenes and not together as a duo.

Anyhow, the events of Rage & Honor II take place a few months or so right after Rage & Honor: Kris Fairfield, who was formerly a teacher, is now a CIA agent in training who is dispatched in Jakarta on a mission. From there onwards, she gets reacquainted with Preston who was formerly a cop, but who is still on the run & pursued by cops, who are still on his case for a cop killing incident, which he is falsely accused of when he was in L.A. Whilst in Jakarta, he owns a bar, as well as trains fighters at a nearby gym. Fairfield investigates a drug money laundering scheme that is linked to the wealthy father of Preston's trainee student, Tommy & an Indonesian crime syndicate. Along with all of these, there are some smuggled diamonds, a new nemesis for Preston to contend with in a fellow Australian/Dutchman with bad hair - although it much better suited him than that terrible hairdo of Brian Thompson's, who was in Rage & Honor I.

The turncoat bad guy, Tommy is so irritating and I never liked him from the moment he first showed up by pretending to be a good guy to Preston and when he eventually revealed his true colours, I detested him even more. To me, he was a snobby little rich kid with no class. Tommy never looked like he could cut it as an actual skilled fighter, even with the training he received under Preston, and I wasn't surprised he had his ass handed to him by Preston. Tommy did little in this film to display his martial arts abilities, as instead he just talked his way - surprisingly, I was shocked to learn that Patrick Muldoon, who appeared in daytime soap, Melrose Place was and is an accomplished martial artist. If that is true, then the director of this film should have let him show off more of his skills, because, based on what I saw of his character, he was an annoying martial arts wannabe.

I wouldn't say I like this film more than the previous film, but rather for me I found it as enjoyable and moderately entertaining in places. Rage & Honor II doesn't do a lot that is different from the first Rage & Honor, yet I also feel there wasn't much that I hated about it, either. The supporting cast had their little moments and I didn't care for their characters. The action was on par with the first film and whilst, one could say there should have been more - that, and I wished the Richard Norton vs Ron Vreeken fight had been a tad better, I was rather satisfied with what I saw.

It may be a direct-to-DVD film, but it's nice to see all of the action with no tricks, fast cuts or editing done to them and that they, along with the fights themselves, are presented and shown onscreen, in the manner that they should be. 

Final Verdict:

The plot and storyline are not so identical to the first film, but Rage & Honor II is very much the same film as Rage & Honor I, despite the setting being in Jakarta instead of L.A in terms of its setup. There is not a lot that is different, but that didn't matter much, so long as this film was entertaining, fun and enjoyable to watch, which it certainly was. 

I enjoyed it a great deal; there wasn't a scene that bored me or made me switch off. Rage & Honor II is on par with the first movie - even with a more engaging plot and I like both films equally and in Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton, they are still as watchable. 

So all in all, for an action movie fan myself, this was enjoyable stuff. 


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