Angel Fist (1993)
From Director Cirio H. Santiago the man who made sooooo many action movies on the super cheap in Manila for producer Roger Corman.
Cirio H. Santiago is more famous for TNT Jackson and Firecracker which are even more similar than they should be with later made and even dumber Angel Fist.
The plot is.. I think.. it’s not easy to pay attention to… is a competitive martials arts figure is killed when she witnesses a UN delegate being murdered by ninjas. Her sister is played Cat Sassoon who is a detective and also a martial artists. Cat goes to the Philippines trying to infiltrate the underground world to find her sisters murders which leads her into a martial arts tournament and a rebel terrorist organisation… you know like most murder mysteries do.
Here we show the very obviously dumb and sexis male just added in to spice things up. Does our tough as nails femme fatale hook up with him somehow… spoiler.. yes she does and fucked if I know why.
What makes this movie different from movies like Firecracker is not much (there are scenes that are direct remake scenes) but the odder choices of cast. I was attracted to this ball of cheese because the involvement of Melissa Moore. Melissa was basically a comedic scream queen from classic like Sorority House Massacre 2, Invisible Maniac, Vampire Cop and most know as the nympho cop from Samurai Cop. She is a super tall blonde bombshell that looks much less fake then many of her scream queen peers. She always seemed legitimately cute and funny. She is now a figure for the kentucky derby due to her love of horses… which is odd yet suiting for her beauty, She is not in the movie much but when she is she is actually pretty good. For someone who did not do action films her scenes were pretty good and she gave it her all. NOW this maybe just because everyone else looks clumsy and dumb but regardless I give Melissa cred for stepping out of her element. I mean she does fight a guy with a buzzsaw at one point.
Look he legit went after her with a buzzsaw… Melissa you are badass.
This movie does boast itself as if it’s a Cynthia Rothrock level action flick and film it is filmed honestly like one it sure is not one. Especially when you watch the main actress Cat Sassoon. It says on the cover of this movie that she was World Karate Champion… aaaaand I’m thinking that is a lie. Cat Sassoon was the daughter of world famous hair mogel Vidal Sassoon. She was married off at age 15 to an Italian film producers son while already severals into model around the world. I have looked or her martial arts credits online and as of yet have found nothing but that could be because it is just shadowed in her starlet life and tabloid fame. She would later appear in Blackbelt 1 and 2 and not too many years later pass away of a drug overdose at 33 years old. Cat was 22 when Angel Fist was being made and she looks much older. You spend most of the movie looking at her plastic surgery and odd makeup choices. At some points with the poor film quality it makes her make up job look like she is in accidental black face, NOW may I say I am not her to shame her but her style is so distracting as it makes you not notice how sloppy her martial arts are, it even distracts you from the multiple nude group shower scenes and her top less fight scene (that again is very much like in Firecracker).
Oh look Ariana Grande joined the deadly martial arts tournament.. no thats Cat Sassoon. That doesn’t seem like regulation gear, but what do I know?
It feels like Cat Sassoon could have been something… like her presence on screen was aaaalmost there but then something went horribly wrong. When looking up her life that ended tragically and lived on the edge it sort of makes sense of many burned out flashes in the pans or tabloid celebrities that attempted and failed to become real actors. After the lowbrow cocaine fueled B movie scenes of the late 80s / early 90s not everyone cashed in their chips and got to settle down like Melissa Moore did. Melissa co starred with legendary porn star Savannah in the horror comedy Invisible Maniac and if you look her up you will find another young whirlwind life that ended very sadly from the pressure and illusions that being a star can bring.
The violence , the set pieces,the ridiculous dialogue and plot are all there but play second to the marketing of these ladies and mainly the confusing lead. It’s a very low brow action movie that is worth seeing for the spectacle of it. Again its super similar to several 70s exploitation movies but in 1993 they made an action movie that ended up as an exploitation movie solely by mistake.