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Under The Gun (1995)
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by Chris Parry

"One set, a handful of actors, a lot of fighting, some boobs. KA-CHING!"
2 stars

This is a really simple concept for a tough guy martial arts action flick; the hero (Richard Norton) is an ex-martial arts champ who runs a nightclub. He owes money to the mob but won’t get their money back unless he can sell his club, on the very night that the mob is looking to get paid. Kind of like a Marx Brothers comedy without the comedy or the Marx Brothers, this flick turns out to consist of various parties bombing into the club with a view to kicking Norton’s ass, as he in turn fights off all comers. With a little help from his former girlfriend (Kathy Long) who kicks as much ass as Van Damme on a bucketload of speed.

And that’s it – with one set and a handful of actors (they don’t even bother with a lot of extras in the nightclub, you can see that some of the crew are hidden in there wearing their work clothes, just trying to make up the numbers) the film never ventures anywhere else. It’s like an Ultimate Fighting Handicap match – seventeen versus two.

The writing, as you’d expect, is totally awful. The acting, as you’d expect, is totally awful. The woman, as you’d expect, are gorgeous and totally untalented, with the exception of Long who is not gorgeous, but talented as a fighter. Norton, as a sex symbol, makes a great hat-stand. Long is far from movie star beautiful, and in fact usually makes her living as a stunt double, but she kicks enough butt to put her ahead of Cynthia Rothrock in the action stakes.

The bad guys are even more atrocious than the good guys, coming across like a batch of clichés that were thrown to the street for being just too clichéd. A pimp who is thrown out of the club comes back with a bigger and bigger posse every few minutes, determined to get his own back. But as his boys are beaten to a pulp he just yells “fuck you” and runs off, only to return with more karate fodder moments later. Why? Just because he swore he’d get back at the club-owner. This guy must spend ten grand trying to find a combo of henchmen who’ll get this guy for making him lost a few hundred in sales.

Like I said, just silly. The clearly Australian cast does themselves no favors by trying to sound American. Why they’d bother when the lead makes no effort to disguise his accent is beyond me, but best guess is that these guys wouldn’t know acting talent if it crawled out of their left nostril. The importation of American soapie hack Jane Badler as Norton’s wife doesn’t help matters, nor does the remarkably one-note performance by Rachel Lewis as Norton’s waitress/love interest. Characters this wooden should wear asbestos underpants, in case someone tries to light a fire under their ass.

Not one for the ages, but stupid enough to maybe qualify as a dumb fun hour plus. It depends on your tolerance for stupidity in movies.

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originally posted: 01/16/03 12:00:01
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  26-Dec-1995 (R)


  02-Feb-1996 (MA)

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