07th Aug2013

Fight Flick Fortnight: ‘Blackbelt’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Don”The Dragon” Wilson, Matthias Hues, Deidre Imershein, Alan Blumenfold | Written by Paul Maslak, Charles Philip Moore | Directed by Charles Philip Moore, Rick Jacobson | Produced by Roger Corman


Beautiful rock star Shanna (Imershein) is seeking protection from a psychotic killer (Hues) with a mother fixation and a penchant for brutality, as well as from her own corrupt, mobster of a business manager. Reluctantly, she hires ex-cop and karate instructor Jack Dillon (Wilson), who finds himself stuck in the middle of a deadly, two-pronged assault from Shanna’s tormentors.

OK, lets get this out of the way first. Whilst he has his detractors (and plenty of haters), I’m a huge fan of Don “The Dragon” Wilson and his movies. InBlackbelt, Wilson plays his typical uber-invincible self,this time out as an ex-cop turned martial arts teacher turned body guard. Whilst Wilson gives his usual one-not performance (basically he’s ‘acting’ as himself), what lets the film down is the rest of the cast; in particular Deidre Imershein’s musical diva – her performance is so bad that her character just comes off as annoying, so annoying in fact, that at times I wished the films villain (Hues), would finally track her down and kill her!

Hues himself is not much better… In one of his earliest roles (Blackbelt was actually filmed a couple of years prior to it’s eventual release in 1992), Hues does nothing more than lumber around and grunt – although in this case it does actually work to make his killer seem somewhat more indestructible, but that’s really no excuse. Despite the weak acting, what interests most aboutBlackbelt is the rather bizarre and intriguing back story to the Hues villain, who was apparently traumatised as a kid after he found his mother in bed with another man and killed the pair of them with a flick knife! Yes I did say another man – he was also having an affair with his own mother! It’s a sick and twisted idea for motivation, but one that helps to raise the film above others of its ilk.

Essentially a martial-arts riff on Kevin Costner’s The BodyguardBlackbelt is one of Don “The Dragon” Wilson’s lesser movies, but that’s not to say there isn’t something to enjoy about the cheesy lines, wooden acting, dull fights and stilted action. Blackbelt definitely falls into the category of a “so bad its good” movie… And you have to appreciate any film that features the line: “The nose-jobs for the girl, the vasectomy’s free.”


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