The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

FIREPOWER (1994) ** ½

If you were a wrestling fan in the late 80’s/early 90’s, you had to love The Ultimate Warrior. This guy came out of nowhere to become one of the most popular figures in the WWF, but he wound up fizzling out just as fast as he blew up. Whereas many wrestling superstars went on to have flourishing movie careers (Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Rock and Hulk Hogan among them), The Ultimate Warrior (AKA: James Hellwig) never quite attained that level of cinema stardom. In fact, with the exception of a small role in Odd Jobs, The Warrior never made another movie besides Firepower. In that respect, it’s a one of a kind motion picture experience.

In the near future, the city of Los Angeles sticks all of its worst criminals in “Free Zones” where lawlessness reigns (the thinking is that they’ll wind up killing each other). A crazed muscle-bound psycho named “The Swordsman” (The Ultimate Warrior) evades the cops and enters the Free Zone where he becomes the champion of a to-the-death fighting tournament called “Death Match”. Two cops (Chad McQueen and Gary Daniels) defy orders and infiltrate the Free Zone to take The Swordsman down. That naturally means they’ll have to pose as Death Match fighters in order to get close to him.

Chad McQueen is pretty good in this and Daniels (sporting a sweet ponytail) is his usual solid self. They make a great team, but the real reason to watch Firepower is for The Ultimate Warrior. He basically acts like he did in the ring, except he wears Mad Max reject clothes and is missing his trademark face paint. Warrior makes for a credible action star. His fight with Daniels is a highlight, although I had a hard time believing that Chad McQueen could take him one on one.

Overall, Firepower is a not-bad mash-up of Escape from New York, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Kickboxer, but after a while the movie just circles itself, repeating the same damn notes over and over again. Despite that, there’s some good stuff here. I liked some of the futuristic touches (like UPC’s on the prisoners’ wrists) and thought that some of the fights in the electrified ring were pretty cool. I just wish The Ultimate Warrior’s character didn’t disappear for a good chunk of the movie.

And as an aside, I must say I’m not quite sure why the movie was called Firepower. I mean McQueen and Daniels didn’t really use heavy artillery or anything, so I have no idea what’s up with that. Death Ring would’ve been a much more suitable title if you ask me.

AKA: Fire Force.

Tags: action, f, kung fu
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