Saturday, March 22, 2014

Instant Action: Rage and Honor (1992)

I have some honor, but I used to be filled to the brim with rage!

Written By: Terence H. Winkless
Directed By: Terence H. Winkless

I've heard a lot about Cynthia Rothrock through the years. I recall her being a staple in various trailers I would catch on the 1980s direct to video horror VHS tapes I rented back in the day. She was tiny, but she was always kicking someones ass. For me, this was sort of a revelation because I had grown up with the image of women not being able to hold their own against men. Miss Rothrock was something different, in the trailers at least. I was never able to get around to seeing any of her movies due to availability. When I finally saw one of her films pop up on Crackle I decided it was time to give the tiny but mighty mouse a try.

After all the hype and expectations, Rage and Honor was a major letdown. The film is billed as a vehicle for Cynthia Rothrock, but it's more of a vehicle for the oafish Richard Norton. He's a total drag, nowhere near as dynamic or interesting as Miss Rothrock. While he's busy supplying terrible dialogue with little to no charm, Miss Rothrock is forced to skulk in the background. So much of the focus is put on Mr. Norton that when it finally comes time for the end game, Miss Rothrock is barely a factor. It was kind of sad watching Miss Rothrock be tossed to the side in favor of such an inept action actor as Mr. Norton.

When the film did focus on Miss Rothrock it was at its best. She is tiny, but she packs quite the punch and she has a very effervescent personality. The camera is drawn to her, and she makes the most of those moments with the camera. I was able to buy her as an ass kicker because of how dynamic she seemed. Basically, watching Miss Rothrock was like watching the energizer bunny, only even cuter.

Sadly, Rage and Honor doesn't stick with Miss Rothrock and spends most of its run time trying to make sense of a nonsense plot. At a certain point the story is straining so much to make sense that it wraps all the way around into making even less sense. As stated earlier, it doesn't help that the true focus of the film is the cardboard cutout named Richard Norton. He has no charisma, and his movements in the fight scenes struck me as especially clunky and not visually pleasing. His character, and his acting, is a major detriment to the film, but he is where Terence H. Winkless thinks the film is at its strongest.

I'll be searching out more from Cynthia Rothrock moving forward, but Rage and Honor was a major letdown. The toothless action, ogre like hero, and lack of time spent with Miss Rothrock are all large issues within the film. Were the action better and Miss Rothrock the actual lead of Rage and Honor I could see myself giving the film a pass. As it stands Rage and Honor is a feeble attempt at an action film that squanders all the good it contains. It's hard to have a bad movie when Brian Thompson is the villain sporting a killer mullet. Yet, Rage and Honor is such a movie, and that's not excusable.



Bill Thompson

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