I’d call the end of this film an insult, but that would imply that the filmmakers understood human emotion well enough to insult people. With the honourable exception of a fine OTT turn from Loren Avedon, everything in this film is stupid or confusing – although even his use is weird because he’s a top-level martial artist and doesn’t fight at all. It’s like having Fred Astaire in your movie and not bothering to have him dance.
Jalal Merhi and Cynthia Rothrock are back in New York, and it seems at some point in the last decade Jalal had an acting lesson because he has several emotions in this movie. Well done, sir! Anyway, they nearly arrest a guy dressed like a ninja, and thanks to this save the contents of a warehouse, which leads to them getting invited to a charity event, for some reason held in the same place that most of part 1 was set – the gym with the huge tiger painted on the wall. If only New York had any other nice places!
Anyway, like 20 people are at this fundraiser, so it’s obviously a huge failure. They still have the big event of the evening, though, which is Avedon (the amazingly named “Stryker Goodenough”), who looks strangely familiar to our two cops, unveiling three old martial arts outfits which belonged to some masters from 500 years ago (or 2000, depending on which bit of dialogue you listen to). A few chants and some lightning later, and we’ve got three ancient and evil martial arts masters running around! I’m really not sure why this was the centrepiece of the evening, in case you were wondering.
Everyone who was there dies, with the exception of Jalal. Yes, sorry Cynthia – since you and Jalal never really shared any screen time in the previous two, and had negative chemistry, perhaps it was for the best. Anyway, the Three Furies (I don’t know what they’re really called, but that’ll do; it’s either that or “imagine the three baddies from Superman 2 were Chinese”) go on a bit of a tear through New York – when Stryker finds them to control them, he uses them to take over the Chinese mafia territory. The main mafia boss has an English accent, which I found a bit weird, but “a bit weird” is a low level for this movie so I let it slide.
Jalal needs to train in the even ancienter and secreter art of the Black Tiger to defeat the Furies, so luckily there’s Master Jin (Carter Wong, “Big Trouble In Little China”), the same guy who trained Stryker, knocking about to help. Problem is, the Black Tiger style looks absolutely ridiculous, lots of “jazz hands”, but…ah, who cares. As Jalal and Jin are driving to the training venue, he asks where it is and Jin says “I don’t know where it is, but I know how to get there”. Now, when they arrive it’s a large house with a training barn off to the side, and Jin clearly owns it. Why not just tell him where it is? YOU SUCK, MOVIE
So Jalal trains, in a series of montages that martial arts movie fans will have seen a hundred times before, and despite Jin not knowing where it is, Stryker does and sends some goons out to kill them all. When he dispatches the killers, he’s wearing a towel and the Furies are eating fried chicken. At some unspecified point in the future, one of the killers comes back to say they failed; Stryker still wearing a towel, Furies still eating fried chicken, same room. How fast were they?
There are a very few fun things in this movie, though. One is Russell Peters, the standup and occasional actor, as a cop. Aside from a tiny part in a Canadian indie movie 6 years before, this is his first role, and he’s great. Well, at least compared to everyone else – he and Avedon act rings round the rest of the cast. Then there’s a scene where Jalal goes to a bar to brood, but because he’s a Muslim and teetotal, he buys the old man sat across from him booze and watches him drink it. Quite clever, I thought.
As I only watched this series of movies to see Avedon in part 3, I now just wish he’d been the star of all of them. They’d have been lighter, funnier, the action would have been better and the rest of the cast might have felt like upping their game a little. But Merhi paid for them, and that means Merhi got to star in them.
Oh, and the ending is…it was all a dream. WHAT? He wakes up at the fundraiser, just in time to stop Avedon, who he remembers is the guy he was trying to arrest the other day, and that’s that. Cynthia is still alive, the crowd boos, and we can all go home. What a horrible mess.
Rating: thumbs down