Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weapons of Death

The Action Mutant…
has weapons of death, though they may not be licensed.

Weapons of Death

review by Joe Burrows

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this article that I ran across while reading up for this review. It basically sounds like writer/director Paul Kyriazi had some sort of out of body experience when conceiving Weapons of Death, taking something from all kinds of different film influences (referencing everyone from Douglas Fairbanks to John Ford!). All of this from what many would view as a cheap, grade Z, action extravaganza. After reading this article, I actually have to commend the guy on putting so much into the film. Sure, it’s no classic (by mainstream terms) but who’s to say we’d do any better? Read it and I’m sure it will inspire you or someone else, to be sure. Kyriazi has lots of other writings on the same site, including his experience with working with everyone’s favorite That's Action narrator, Robert Culp.

The Plot, as it was:
The director and frequent co-star Eric Lee are a part of a posse that is out to rescue the daughter of a Chinatown martial arts master. A group of bikers kidnapped her, as the leader Bishop (Ralph Catellanos) is doing it for revenge for a past wrong done by the master. Unluckily for everyone, the California hills are rife with ninjas, bikers and female Oriental assassins. You know…like in real life.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
If you were to tell me that Paul Kyriazi could somehow match the lunacy of his 1976 effort Death Machines, I’d be listening. Now, if you told me that Paul Kyriazi somehow not only equaled but surpassed the lunacy of that effort, I’d call you a chickenshit liar! Then, after watching Weapons of Death, I’d have to apologize to you for the whole “chickenshit liar” thing. This shouldn’t seem possible though, especially considering the previous film had zombie Kung Fu fighters and people being run over in phone booths by bulldozers! But, this is what happens when you toss out even the pretense of a plot and just let the fights fly. Kyriazi just hangs out the thinnest of plots and goes forth with plotting large scale fight scenes. Of course, the scope of the filming isn’t big enough and the result is everything looking crowded and chaotic. There are several hilarious moments that come out of left field, such as Kyriazi’s character chucking his emptied gun at a female villain’s face in frustration or Carter’s (Louis Bailey) lone take of saying “Dayum!” being reused about six times in one scene instead of just having him perform the scene in one take! Add in some forced racism, stilted line deliveries (“Next time, I’m gonna use two swords!”) and plentiful, mediocre fighting and you have a cult classic that stands right at the mantle with Death Machines for sheer absurdity. DAYUM!

Body Count/Violence: 126! Most of the dead are the nameless ninjas and bikers that are taken out with bloodless sword slashes and stabs. There’s a fair share of shooting, fighting, spear impaling (by a black guy, no less!), etc. The best kill is when Lee kicks two swords in mid air straight into a baddie’s chest!

Sexuality/Nudity: A topless dancer is seen briefly at the film's open.

Language/Dialogue: Occasional to mild at best.

How bad was it?:
The lone review I read pitched it as it should be: campy, amateurish fun! Viewer feedback seems to echo those statements.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Films International and Independent Artists produced and distributed this film for release in April of 1982. No budget or box-office numbers were available.

Film: ½*/*****
Entertainment value: ****1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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