Trailer compilations are an odd sort of sub-genre. For most viewers, they exist in a trashy sort of TV world. Many of us grew up with clip shows, which promise great things but give the viewer very little insight. Worse still are the late night TV shows that poke fun at a beloved genre of movies.
Fists of Fury, however, is a better example of the form. It is essentially one extended clip show filled with trailers from martial arts movies, it’s all held together by our host, Cynthia Rothrock. The former action movie star is a fairly fun presenter and each section of the show has its own skit. These are all painfully unfunny, yet somehow still entertaining.
Fists of Fury breaks down into sections. These include Femme Fatales. Mostly 70’s and 80’s trailers, including the likes of Deadly China Doll, Above the Law and Sister Street Fighter. There’s even some Cynthia Rothrock movies in there, which are presented without irony.
Predictably, Bruce Lee gets his own section and the trailers are filled with a bus-load of Enter The Dragon Knock Offs. In addition to the likes of Taiwan’s own Bruce Li, we also get some great appearances from genuine fans of Lee’s work. It does feel like the movie makers of the 70’s only ever saw the master pull off one move, but never mind. The trailers are worth it for the nostalgia alone.
Next up is an entire section on martial arts weapons, the sillier and more impossible the better. There’s enough here to make a British censor from the 80’s break out in moral panic. With modern eyes, the whole thing looks gloriously silly. Guns get their own section; mostly connected to trailers for crime movies. There’s some martial arts fun here, but it’s pretty weak.
The last two sections sort of merge into one. One Man Army and Bizarre Brawlers. Both are staples of the genre and predictably the trailers pull out the more interesting and energetic action sequences. Five Fingers of Death, The One-Armed Executioner, Chinese Hercules, all those strange classics from the back of the video store are here.
Rothrock pulls together what could be a boring list of fun martial arts movies and creates something you can watch, especially at the start of an epic martial arts movie session.
FISTS OF FURY / CERT: N/A / DIRECTOR: CHARLES BAND / STARRING: CYNTHIA ROTHROCK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW