REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — April 23, 2012 at 5:16 am

REVIEW: Warrior of Justice (1996)

Story of “Warrior of Justice” (aka The Steel Ring aka Invitation to Die) is cliche, as we once again have a hero in the face of a karate teacher George (Jorgo Ognenovski), who is forced to go after a scarred and former champion Verdugo (Jorge Rivero).

Verdugo has been staging these illegal “fights to the death” at his home. George wouldn’t even know, if the news about one of his students Tony Wilson (Ian Jacklin) did not come along.

Since George and Verdugo have a history (according to the story, George cut Verdugo’s face with a blade, when he tried to kill someone), quest for avenging his student’s death and establishing justice, becomes a matter of first priority for George.

This is of course something his future wife does not appreciate, yet a man has to do what he has to do. And Richard Lynch as “the master” is to help.

“Warrior of Justice” does not have a lot of levels to start with, but the film manages to fail on the most important one – fight scenes. There are barely ten fighters in the whole film, yet Vergugo’s “gladiator arena” is presented like a big entertaining show.

Aside from Ian Jacklin, Nick Hill and Nils Allen Stewart, there are no known fighters in the film, the fight scenes are badly staged, and boring to say the least.

Ian Jacklin, Nicholas Hill and Richard Lynch all worked together in 1994 on another martial arts film with similar story, titled “Death Match”.

Richard Lynch surprises here, not only by appearing as a “martial arts master” but also playing a hero.

Jorge Rivero, a former bodybuilder (whom I remember vividly from his brutal fighting with Matthias Hues in “The Fist Fighter”) is Verdugo – a disgraced former champion (I wonder how he became a champ, the man can barely fight, yet he looks good), mostly looks and acts like a cartoon character.

The film packs more interesting characters, such as Frank Dux (yes that same Frank Dux, who’s story “Bloodsport” was turned into a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Ashley Graham, who turned out to be a plus-size model, yet in the film she looks rather skinny.

I have no idea why Dux was invited to act in the film, where he has a rather brief role, no fights, and to be honest, he’s not much of an actor.

Same can be said about our leading guy – Jorgo Ognenovski. He’s not only a worse actor that some martial arts actors of the 90s, he’s also bad a script writing (yes, he also wrote the script here).

As a result, we have a rather poor entry in the 90s martial arts genre, with some known actors, but the end result is a thumbs down for sure, as the fights are no good, and the lead hero would have to bribe you to actually root for him.



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