Friday, September 9, 2011

Future Grappling: Firepower (1993)

Can you feel it, dude?!?  This 1993 action film is very easily-forgotten by most and not ever seen pretty much everyone else.  This begs the question: why mention it?  It's simple- this movie stars James "The Ultimate Warrior" Hellwig!  If you don't know who he is, here's a brief summary: he was a crazy, steroid-injecting wrestler who shouted all the time about 'spaceships,' 'rocket fuel' and 'the power of the warriors.'  Like many people in his time, he burned brightly and burnt out.  Sure, he was a selfish jerk who held the WWF up for a big pay-day twice and could barely do four moves- that didn't help.  In his heyday, he was a 'hot mess' to watch and watched he was.  The oft-debated 93,000 in the Pontiac Silverdome saw him beat Hulk Hogan for the title...and fail miserably at following it up.  Around the time of his first 'flame-out,' he appeared in this movie.  Oddly, this appears to be the only action film starring him.  Wouldn't you expect more from a guy so flashy, enigmatic and riddled with steroids?  Either way, enjoy this chance to see him fight Gary 'Fist of the North Star' Daniels in a cliche-ridden film.  Let's open up the crates to get out the...
In some opening narration, we learn that the world went to hell in the future.  Oddly, this came AFTER a cure to the AIDS virus was discovered in 2004.  Yeah, I guess we missed that.  This led to the establishment of this...
Essentially, the authorities made a small city into a 'free zone' where no laws were enforced.  This silly concept even makes Daniels laugh.
Our heroes infiltrate a fighting tournament to get to the man behind a fake AIDS vaccine and all of the crime.  By the way, that vaccine sub-plot disappears faster than a carton of cigarettes in any Italian city.
His appearance is built up for a bit before we really see Warrior for the first time in the arena.  By the way, his name is now legally 'Warrior.'  Good luck stealing that identity, criminals!
The whole middle of the film is pretty much void of plot.  It does, however, feature a cameo by Kano among all the random fighting.
The high-point of this action involves Warrior facing off with this random fighter: Toshiro Obata.  You may not know the name, but if you've watched as many '90s action films as I have, you know the face.
Things take a tragic turn when Daniels and Warrior finally face off.  It seems even for a bit, but the bad guys cheat to deny him a weapon.  In the end, he gets the old 'Highlander treatment.'
Despite being paunchy and dull, the partner is now the lead.  He must get revenge for his partner, as well as his wife.  By the way, he reacts to that death by continuing his romance sub-plot with a waitress.  You deserve the beating that you get!
Since he's the hero, the guy does win the day.  He does so by tricking Warrior into stabbing a fuse box.  In a bit of anti-climax, the villain goes down in one shot after that, bringing closure to that whole 'AIDS vaccine' sub-plot.  The End.
Load the space ship with the rocket fuel!  The plot of this movie is incredibly-obvious and it never tries to think 'outside the box.'  Stock villain, stock fighting tournament and stock characters.  Everything in this movie is something that you've seen at least twice and every plot turn is very-choreographed.  For example, one fighter is starting to befriend our heroes.  Gee, I wonder if he's going to die in the next scene.  Yeah, he dies.  As a bonus, the film is really cheaply-made.  They use about four real sets in the movie and the aforementioned fighter who dies doubles as the film's fight choreographer.  That sure is cheap!  There are some fun moments in the movie and it never really drags too much.  Having Warrior in the film helps elevate above what it really would be without him.  It's a film rarity and definitely one to seek out for fans of action or Warrior himself.
Next up, the final film is actually about firepower and guns.  Naturally, this film's title implies that they are trying to steal a solar body.  Stay tuned...

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