Kung fu movie extraordinaire Sho Kosugi takes a break from playing ninjas to star as a DEA agent in director Gordon (Scream and Scream Again) Hessler’s Rage of Honor. In the opening scene, Sho busts up a party on a drug dealer’s yacht which leads a lot of dead dudes in cheap jumpsuits and a lot of cokehead bimbos under arrest. The head coke-dealing honcho gets peeved so he tortures and kills Sho’s partner, which gets Sho so mad that he quits the DEA and goes out on a one man quest for revenge. The villains then go after Sho’s girlfriend and even though he saves her bacon from getting tossed out of a window, she still dumps his ass because he’d rather avenge his best friend’s death than take her out to a fancy restaurant.
Anyway Sho kills a bunch more people until he learns that his girlfriend and his OTHER partner have been kidnapped and taken to the Argentinean jungle. That means old Sho has got to parachute into the jungle in black pajamas and kick the living tar out of the drug dealing scum of the universe before finally confronting the main villain and impaling him on a katana and sticking him to an outhouse door.
It’s not up to snuff with Revenge of the Ninja but hey, what possibly could be right?
Hessler handles the action sequences alright I suppose. They’re nothing spectacular or anything, although I did quite enjoy the scene where Sho jumps from one balcony onto another to drop kick some dude. He does keep things moving at a breezy pace to help disguise the fact that the budget on this thing was about $78. The montage where Sho sneaks into the bad guy’s lair and snaps the necks of various henchmen while an extremely gay flamenco dancer struts his stuff for a bunch of partygoers was particularly hilarious. Hessler also got a little artsy-fartsy on us during the swordfight-in-the-dark sequence when all you could see was the sparks coming off the swords when the blades hit each other, but I’m willing to give him a mulligan on it because it looked pretty cool to me.
I’m not going to lie to you and say Rage of Honor is a classic or anything, but if you are a Sho Kosugi fan, you kinda owe it to yourself to check it out. I cannot give him enough props. This man kills drug dealers, dock workers, Aztec Indians, and ninjas using nunchuks, crossbows, band saws, those little Wolverine claws that are in the shape of garden hoes, and lots and lots of throwing stars. Seriously, this movie sets some kind of record for scenes where bad guys get throwing stars plunged into their necks. Sho also throws people through plate glass windows, tosses a guy into a vat of acid, breaks necks galore, socks a LOT of dudes in the nuts, shoots villains in mid-air while he’s in the midst of a somersault, and in the best scene of the movie, shoves a gun up some guy’s ass.
Sho’s been in plenty of action flicks before but somehow his English has actually gotten WORSE over the years. He murders the English language more in this movie than he does drug dealers. Have fun trying to decipher what the heck he’s saying, especially in the film’s more emotional scenes. (“Ray wa-as ow-ah bud-dee!”) That’s okay though because Sho Kosugi is still the only man I know who can take a cannibal trap to the chest and not have it faze him too much. I only wish the movie surrounding Sho was worthy of the man’s talent.
Hessler also directed Sho in Pray for Death and The Master television series.