With the most generic title since Attack Force, DEATH WARRIOR is a nifty little MMA flick, written by and starring Hector Echavarria. The movie combines elements from CRANK, SAW (even the UK's own KILLER BITCH or Middlesbrough Lensed THE TOURNAMENT)
Hector Echavarria plays Reinero, world champion MMA fighter (and Wayne Newton/Tony Anthony lookalike) who (still at the top of his game) is looking forward to a much-hyped fight between himself and (his secret buddy) Wolf (played by piss poor B A Baracus) Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson. Immediately, we see that beyond the tough talk of the two men...they are in fact good friends, and merely talk shit to sell the fights (wow, already making 'dirty trick' movies about a relatively new sport) Fight promoter Russell, Reinero's wife kira, plus best friend (lantern chinned) Andre (and his sluttish sister, Sophia) look on. Life (it seems) can get no better for the champ and those around him....So far, so humdrum.
Until one night, following a bout of (soft core, body doubled) rumpo with his missus, Reinero and wife are attacked by a mysterious swat team, and forced at gunpoint to listen to the sub-par Pacino impression given by criminal mastermind, Ivan (Nick Mancuso, clearly a long way from UNDER SIEGE, and seemingly coked up to the nines) who then injects Kira with a slow acting poison, and forces Reinero to fight in secretly filmed online death matches with other fighters in the same predicament, in reward for his wife's antidote. Reinero is knocked unconscious (requiring three pistol whips to the head, hard bastard that he is)
Upon waking up, Reinero assures his wife that he'll get to the bottom of this, and attends his first meet up with (surprise, sur-fucking-prise) Wolf, and the two desperate men must fight it out to the death. Some 'Sonny Chiba' x-ray shots later, Wolf is dead and Reinero is even more pissed off...and what's worse, he thinks one of his friends may be working in cahoots with Ivan (with suspects and red herrings aplenty like these, it's a shame that Agatha Christie isn't around to rent this movie out, and enjoy the homage to her craft)
Reinero, gets into several other scrapes with several other fighters, before putting two and two together, and figuring out the bad guy...But not until we've been treat to several dozen 'avid fart' moments of sped up traffic, nighttime Aeriel shots, Silicone enhanced bimbos and the sort of hammy overacting by Nick Mancuso, that would have Billy Drago wincing in his bodyguard encrusted mansion.
Much more of the above ensues before a final online Mano-O-Mano between Reinero and (longtime buddy) Andre is staged. With Reinero's wife locked up in Ivan's palace (under constant threat of rape), and Andre's sister wearing an explosive necklace...both guys must fight to the death, but (with so much at respective stake) who will survive (here's a fucking clue...not Andre!)
And just when you think this movie with all it's elaborate SAW-like torture devices and chained fighting contraptions couldn't afford the bus fare from 'Insane St' to 'Ludicrous-ville'....it ends with MMA champ Reinero squaring off with (63 year old) Ivan, in a sword fight with the online cameras still rolling.
Torn between treating this movie with the resent it (probably) deserves, yet loving the high-fat 'cheese' content, it did keep me thinking throughout the movie. Although Hector Echavarria is the obvious hero of the movie, none of his opponents were genuine bad guys (as they all were blackmailed into this, as he was) so the (sub-par) 'linkin Park' soundtrack throughout the rumbles felt inappropriate (as did the 'Let's-see-what-bone-has-been-broken-here' CGI shots) But maybe I'm thinking too much about it.
Hector Echavarria has that sort of Seagal-like arrogance to his character (i.e, his hair is bit iffy, and in between fights, everyone talks about great he is) But he adds that extra level of douche-ness, bye actually autographing two bimbos chesticles, right in front of his wife (who then gives him a night of red-hot 'in-out'....and also obliges him later on in the movie, despite being at deaths door)
As previously mentioned, highlight of the movie is Nick Mancuso, who certainly earns the $40 they paid him to star in the movie. Not content with the wild eyes, he goes on full-out Pacino mode on several occasions (leading to some cracking dialogue) I'd recommend that he never switch dealers, and keep giving scenery-chewing performances like this one, in many more movies to come.
DEATH WARRIOR has a little more going for it than most MMA movies of recent. It's melding of genres, and a few elaborate scenarios set it apart from routine stuff (for example STREET WARRIOR or CIRCLE OF PAIN) And if Hector Echavarria is wooden, then Nick Mancuso adds the required polish (i.e, general shouting, and 'I-Don't-Give-A-Fuckness') to bring about a shine to proceedings.
The big question is....Do i keep this movie, or stick it on my DVD stall?