ANGELFIST is a terrible movie, but an entertaining one. It’s the kind of movie where the director tries to fake the Philippines for Los Angeles and pretend a rusty old beater without hubcaps is an LAPD black-and-white. The star is not just a terrible actress, but also an oddly grotesque one with masculine features, sofa-pillow lips, and a botched boob job. The plentiful fights and chases can barely be described as choreographed. Yes, ANGELFIST is cheap and crude, but never boring and usually hilarious.
In director Cirio Santiago and executive producer Roger Corman’s remake of their own TNT JACKSON and FIRECRACKER—right down to replicating those film’s topless kung fu fights—exotic cover girl Cat Sassoon stars as Katana Lang, a tough L.A. detective who goes to Manila to investigate the murder of her sister Kristie (Sibel Birzak). Not only was Kristie an undercover FBI agent who snapped photos of an American politician being murdered, she was also a kickboxer competing in a big tournament! Unreasonably (but correctly) assuming that Kristie’s death is connected to the all-female tournament, Kat manages to take her sister’s place, as well as make out with creepy gambler Alcatraz (Michael Shaner), who somehow lures Kat to his threadbare bachelor pad.
Santiago, who shot his films as cheaply as possible, doesn’t even bother to shoot coverage of some scenes, forcing the editors to use optical zooms to cobble together blurry close-ups for a dialogue scene. The chases and fights come at a steady pace, and the violence is occasionally alleviated by hilariously gratuitous nude scenes. Would you believe three different shower scenes, two of them featuring statuesque Melissa Moore slowly washing her breasts without even using soap. Moore plays the kickboxing FBI agent sister’s kickboxing FBI agent partner, of course.
Santiago regular Ken Metcalfe, who wrote TNT JACKSON and FIRECRACKER, but was screwed out of a credit on ANGELFIST, plays a U.S. ambassador, and Philippine-film Henry Strzalkowski and Joseph Zucchero also appear. Stephen Cohn gets music credit, but cues by Concorde/New Horizons honcho Mike Elliot and John Gonzalez are noted in the closing crawl. Sassoon also appeared in two of Don “The Dragon” Wilson’s BLOODFIST movies for Corman. She died of drug-related heart failure on New Year’s Day 2002 at the age of 33.