Tuesday, 6 May 2014



I used to like Cynthia Rothrock. But that was in her earlier Hong Kong movies like City Cops where they didn't really care if the stunt people got hurt, and if there was a scene in which someone got kicked through a window then they just kicked them through a window. American martial arts movies were tame and insipid by comparison and they simply didn't match up for the wanton craziness and bone-snapping violence. China O'Brien kind of got away with it as a dumb but proficient B-movie (at least Robert Clouse had experience of the Hong Kong scene, having made Enter The Dragon) but too many had no chance.

Martial Law is a mostly bland and uninteresting martial arts C-movie in which Cynthia Rothrock and the charmless Chad McQueen pair up as cops on the trail of something or other, up against crime lord David Carradine who despite being a multi-millionaire arms dealer and stolen car trader operates out of the office space above a karate school. But his operations have ensnared McQueen's idiot brother....

Most of this is incredibly dull and colourless, the fight scenes are drably staged aren't anywhere nearly as thud-crunch-wallop as they need to be, and the leads are cardboard. Back in 1991, this was cut by over a minute (most likely the nunchakus sequence) in order to get a video 18 when it really doesn't warrant it. Even with that scene, it's spectacularly ordinary. And in less than a week most of the detail has already seeped out of the memory as if it was an unremarkable dream in which not much happened.


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