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Rage (1994) HD online

Rage (1994) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Action
Original Title: Rage
Director: Anthony Maharaj
Writers: Tom Huckabee
Released: 1994
Duration: 1h 33min
Video type: Movie
Jack Dameron, the adopted son of a great Asian trading family, lives the perfect life and his star is quickly rising in the family business until he's framed for his wife's murder. He must find the real killer before the cops get him.
Credited cast:
Richard Norton Richard Norton - Jack Dameron
Karen Moncrieff Karen Moncrieff - Sarah Dameron
Chuck Jeffreys Chuck Jeffreys - I-Ron
Ron Vreeken Ron Vreeken - Manson
Tetchie Agbayani Tetchie Agbayani - Noi
Franco Guerrero Franco Guerrero - Chiang
Joe Mari Avellana Joe Mari Avellana - Papa Fung
Adriana Agcaoili Adriana Agcaoili - Mai
Henry Strzalkowski Henry Strzalkowski - Wiley (as Henry Strjakowski)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cris Aguilar Cris Aguilar - Fighter (as Kris Aguilar)
Barbara Beldock Barbara Beldock - Jack's Mother
Bob Couttie Bob Couttie - Bearded man in audience
Mars Duque Mars Duque - Maid 2
Iloy Espinosa Iloy Espinosa - Waiter
Ned Hourani Ned Hourani

Reviews: [3]

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    Martial Arts star Richard Norton excels in this drama of brothers engaged in a lethel battle for control of their father's company. Norton is favored by his adoptive "father" but his "brother" immerses him in a fight for both his life and corporate control. Along the way, Norton's character's flaws also get him into trouble with his wife, played by Karen Moncrief. In a centerpiece fight, Norton battles Chuck Jeffreys in a scene that demonstrates why the lead actor is regarded as one of the best in action movies. "Deathfight" is a compelling movie with a great star!
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    Richard Norton, possibly the best gwailo actor to have worked in Hong Kong, never got the one really good solo vehicle that he deserved. When he wasn't supporting other stars, he found himself in these cheap action romps that were rarely filmed in America. DEATH FIGHT is an example of a karate flick that's just not as good as it's supposed to be: despite the presence of a good fighting cast and a surprisingly hardworking plot, the limited talents and/or budget of the filmmakers stifle the product until it's almost overlookable. The fast-forward button will be your best friend if you give this one a purchase.

    The story: A successful businessman raised in Thailand (Norton) sees his life fall apart when he's falsely accused of murdering his mistress (Tetchie Agbayani). When released on bail, he seeks to find the true murderer and discover the link to his jealous stepbrother (Franco Guerrero).

    Most viewers don't watch cheap martial arts movies to see good story lines or acting, but in the case of DEATH FIGHT, the drama and the writing are the strongest factors. The character nuances here won't spellbind regular Hollywood fans, but the complexity of some of the character relationships is remarkably sophisticated by direct-to-video standards. Norton gives a minor case study of the imperfect hero who has to deal with the consequences of his infidelity, but other performers outdo him dramatically. Joe Mari Avellana, easily the best actor of the Filipino b-movie scene, does well for his limited number of scenes as Norton's adoptive father. Soap opera star Karen Moncrieff, in the role of Norton's betrayed wife and lawyer, plays the part believably. Franco Guerrero presents more of a hammy villain than a three-dimensional character, but he's still fun to watch.

    With that said, I think the movie is, for the most part, pretty boring. The diligent viewer may disagree with me, but I found myself disengaged by the poor production values. Frequent dark lighting, jerky camera-work, and questionable sound quality - not to mention a generally muddy video quality - hindered my desire to watch and listen with rapt attention. The best-told story in the world would have difficulty penetrating the coat of crud that is the unfortunate production trademark of too many cheap Southeast Asian productions, and this one struggles from the very start. That leaves us with only the fight scenes to root for, but here too enthusiasm is limited. There are nine full-length matches here, and most are disappointments. At worst, their pace is slow and their choreography is uninspired, resulting in way too many sluggish and one-sided brawls. Luckily, Norton supplies us with two exceptions: his decent karate fight with Ron Vreeken and his above-average duel against Chuck Jeffreys, the former of which delivers an abridged encyclopedia of holds and reversals while the latter highlights some cool weapon-handling.

    I really think that the director tried hard to make a good action-drama, but was limited by the norms of low budget filmmaking. On a good day, this one could qualify for three stars, but when viewed objectively, it just doesn't make the grade. For die-hard Richard Norton fans only.
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    While in Bangkok on business, young Jack Dameron's (Norton) parents are brutally gunned down. He is then raised by Papa Fung (Avellana) along with his Fung's son, now Dameron's "step brother", Chiang (Guerrero). All the while, Dameron immersed himself in the ways of martial arts.

    Now, in the present day, Dameron is poised to take control of the lucrative family business, Bangkok Mercantile. He has a successful wife (Moncrieff) who is a lawyer, and things are looking up. But Chiang is an evil, corrupt man who, rather than climb the corporate ladder like his step brother, felt more at home staging illegal underground Deathfights. While the audience for these matches enthusiastically holds their cash in their hands, punchfighting isn't enough for Chiang. He wants the corporate control as well. So he frames Jack for murder. Jack spends some time in prison, befriending Wiley (Strzalkowski). Once out of jail, Jack is on a search for the truth - but it's going to involve putting his lifetime of martial arts training to use.

    Here we have another Maharaj/Norton vehicle, and judging from the VHS box art, they were trying to make Richard Norton a more noticeable name for video store patrons perusing the shelves. While he certainly deserves it, he somehow never reached the level of the Seagals and Van Dammes in America. For Norton's character, Dameron, shirtlessness is a way of life. His shirt, gratuitously or not, is either off or coming off, and there's even some pre-Transporter shirtfighting. Rather than Guerrero's character Chiang being the real nemesis to Dameron, it is in fact Chuck Jeffreys as I-Ron. Sure, his voice sounds dubbed and his hairstyle is ridiculous, but the fight between Norton and Jeffreys is by far the high point of the film.

    Deathfight needed a bit more energy, and actually it could have used some more punchfighting. Interestingly enough, Chiang calls it "Shoot Boxing". This as opposed to Shootfighting. I know, it all gets very confusing. That's why everyone should call it punchfighting. That would make all our lives easier. But there are other action bits as well, such as the classic barfights and fruit-cart style car chases. There's a shootout at the end with a unique shot of a baddie falling out a building, seen from a unique point of view. That was noteworthy.

    The movie is filled with "just bubbling under the radar" names such as Cris Aguilar from Savage Justice (1988), Raw Target (1995), some Bloodfist movies and Blood Ring (1991), Strzalkowski, also from Savage Justice and Raw Target, appeared in the other Norton vehicle Raiders Of The Sun (1992), and Ron Vreeken as Manson, who appears some kind of cut-rate Matthias Hues, was in Norton's Under the Gun (1995), as well as Hurricane Smith (1992). Avellana and Guerrero are well known to B-movie fans, having been in countless productions, Filipino and otherwise.

    Deathfight is so-so in most departments, but the presence of Richard Norton raises the watchability level considerably, and the fights, especially the Norton/Jeffreys brawl, raise it further.