Don “The Dragon” Wilson seemed to age all at once. From part 1 to 7, he looked sort of 30 the entire time, and now in part 8 he looks every year old enough to have a kid in his teens and appears a little dried-out, like he was on some diet which eliminated water. And that’s the end of our “how was Don Wilson looking in the late 90s?” piece, hope you enjoyed it!
So let’s move on to the movie, Wilson’s last in the “Bloodfist” series. They finally dropped the “WKA World Kickboxing Association champion” from the opening credits, seeing as he vacated the title 5 years earlier; and in this movie he’s Rick Cowan, a single father / maths teacher living in the suburbs. He and his kid both get dates for that weekend, but before they can go on them, some masked assassins break into their house and start spraying bullets everywhere.
Turns out ol’ Don was a CIA agent, and the people coming after him are upset with a job he did in Italy many years ago. So, he goes on the run, getting help from old friends (including his female co-star from part 7) before finally going to Ireland.
Yes, the majority of this movie is set in Ireland, which is one of the odder detours for a film series to take. They really filmed there, too – seeing Wilson run down a street that was not closed off for filming, past charity shops, is pretty funny; and there’s lots of pretty beautiful local footage. As Corman released another film made in Ireland at around the same time (“My Brother’s War”), I’d lay good money on this having been a joint trip, as he never wasted a penny!
There’s a couple of good guy Irish cops, and lots of local flavour too – plus the Major, Wilson’s old boss. If you think it’d be odd for a CIA commander to be a long-retired Irish guy, then you’d be right where I was, and this was the guy’s first ever acting role, at maybe 70 years old, so I’m getting more confused. Talking of odd ages, John Patrick White plays son Chris, and he’s supposed to be 15, although White was 26 at the time of filming. For an extra, completely pointless, layer, a lot of the characters are named after famous filmmakers or actors – the two CIA guys are Powell and Pressburger, most notably. Huh?
So, American CIA agent, tracked by Italian assassins, goes to discover the truth in Ireland. Okay? Wilson inches along as an actor, although he’s decided an almost constant grimace is the way to go, to stop himself looking vacant; but everyone else does a pretty decent B-movie job. There’s some fun fighting, although nowhere near enough, and the final set-piece on board the boat is well-handled. It’s fine, one of those solidly C+ movies that I wish had been either an A or an F.
Rating: thumbs in the middle