Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bloodfist VII: Manhunt

Don "The Dragon" Wilson goes on the run in BLOODFIST VII: MANHUNT, a decent direct-to-video thriller from the writers of Wilson's previous BLOODFIST entry. Jim Trudell (Wilson) is framed for the murder of a police officer after he picks up--and is stranded by--a mysterious woman (the dependable Jillian McWhirter) in a biker bar. Brendan Broderick and Rob Kerchner's story doesn't advance much further than that.

As the subtitle implies, BLOODFIST VII is action all the way, staging car and foot chases all over the Los Angeles area. It's unlikely Wilson has ever done more running than he does in this picture, leading police pursuers through Hollywood, Venice Beach, and even the tried-and-true Los Angeles River basin. While running from hard-nosed LAPD captain Doyle (Steven Williams), Trudell discovers that the detectives he killed in self-defense were corrupt and providing protection for a gang of auto thieves.

The screenplay throws a couple of okay twists into the mix, but nothing particularly groundbreaking. Director Jonathan Winfrey (BLACK SCORPION) uses Roger Corman's low budget to his best advantage, shooting on some interesting Venice locations and keeping the pace from flagging (he also cameos as an FBI agent). While Wilson comes across as a nice guy as usual, his fight scenes suffer from routine choreography and fail to rouse much enthusiasm.

BLOODFIST VII is competent enough, I suppose, but when you compare it to the wild excitement of the PM Entertainment smashfests that were released at the same time (Jillian McWhirter appeared in a couple of them too), Corman's New Horizons flicks are little better than timewasters. Jim Wynorski receives a credit for "background extras." I wonder if that means Winfrey lifted stock footage from a Wynorski movie, which is common in Corman productions.

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