Monday, October 8, 2012

Who Likes Crap?: "Powerforce" (1983)

Disclaimer: The following plot summary of this film contains no fallacies on my part. Real humans actually wrote this and got it filmed. Please do not contact me, accusing me of making up any of the following plot points or characters' names. I own this film on video, and can prove everything I am about to describe, no matter how unbelievable, is true and accurate...

One of the first images to greet the viewer of this film are the three letters I-U-D. Before checking the video box under the mistaken impression that this is a documentary on birth control, I-U-D stands for "Independent United Distributors." Princess Rawleen (Mandy, not the singer) is European royalty from the country of Mongrovia. Her right hand man, a General Marushka (James Barnett) has teamed with a terrorist named Mr. Sly. They want to kidnap the princess, and get a hold of her country's chrome ore so they can overcharge makers of nuclear weapons and reactors.

Rawleen stays with two friends in Hong Kong- Richard, who offers her cocaine, and then drops the subject for the rest of the film, and Elana. Rawleen is accompanied by her secretary Eva and security chief Max Leon. Much is made of Rawleen's virginity, and she is kidnapped by a big bunch of ninjas.

Strutting beauhunk Jack Sargeant (Bruce Baron) is called in by his boss, named Trouble, to find the princess. Sargeant must team with a group called Dragonforce in order to save her. Sargeant is told to visit a contact in Hong Kong and get some weaponry for the big fight. His contact's name? Ah Chu. Where is Ah Chu located? At the Good Fu-king Flour Company...please, reread my disclaimer if you find this hard to believe. Accompanied by overly cutesy "funny" music, Sargeant goes, meets Ah Chu (by sneezing, of course), and does not take any weapons. Ah Chu then talks about a "double nothing guy from England" who is coming next week for weapons, thereby providing scant fodder for the James Bond producers to sue over.

Sargeant is sent to the Tiptoe Forest and meets his new coworkers- the Monk, Kamikasu, cute Soo-lin (Frances Fong), and the leader Tau Lung (Bruce Li). In a ceremony that makes a frat hazing look like a Catholic Mass, Sargeant is initiated into Dragonforce.

The princess is being held hostage and threatened with rape. Max the security guy is killed and Sargeant is injured by a poisoned throwing star. Tau Lung, also an acupuncture specialist, gets the poison sucked out of Sargeant's arm. How? He angers a cobra, and the snake does the sucking...please reread my disclaimer. The elite force finds where the princess is hidden, and invade. They are driven back, but are invited by Marushka to attend a party. The princess? She has been shaven bald, stripped down to her family jewels, painted with Chinese characters, and gets some acupuncture needles under the scalp...sounds like my prom night...anyway, she has now fallen under mind control and does Marushka and Sly's bidding.

The party comes and Rawleen is trotted out to prove she is okay. Unfortunately, her mind controlled acting is just as stilted as her regular acting, rendering no difference in her behavior. More ninjas literally fall out of the trees to fight the Dragonforce, but who do you really think wins in the end?

The film is dubbed, and character names were very hard to understand, as was the plot. The film is ninety eight minutes, and I found ninety six minutes that should have been dropped. Naked Rawleen can stay. The action is okay, but the fights quickly bore. The acting is bad, even for dubbed. It is hard to believe people actually invested money in this. When grown adults start talking about saving the kidnapped princess, I kept expecting Disney-like animals to skip out from behind a shrub and break into song. The original music is all wrong, one fight scene is done to high orchestral strings better suited for a Sally Field movie. The pacing is off, and the characters are trapped in then-1982 fashions. The ninjas are funny, wearing neon orange pajamas that would stand out anywhere. As the main hero, a special mention should go to Baron. He does not know how to play a character. He has his lines down, he can kick and punch, but his facial expression is fixed throughout. Bruce Li, now suspecting that he was a film actor because he does look like Bruce Lee, is also terrible. Everyone takes the plot so seriously, I think the screenwriters forgot to tell them this was a semi-comedy. They forgot to tell the audience, too. I took the directors' names from Internet Movie Database. The I-U-D copy I have did not list directors. I am pretty sure half the cast and crew names are pseudonyms, considering the stupidity they regurgitated on an unsuspecting public.

"Powerforce" is simply bad film. I cannot recommend it, and now I want to drive sharp objects into my scalp to leak the memory of this out of my head. Does anyone have any peroxide? (*) out of five stars.