When you begin a new project, you decide which ideas to run with and which to cast off—if you’re a smart, savvy filmmaker such as Edward D. Murphy, the director of Raw Force, you just throw all those concepts into a pot and start cooking. No matter how much actual movie is in your movie, it can handle it.
Also known as the more forthcoming Kung Fu Cannibals, Raw Force stars a bunch of nobodies and a slightly more prolific nobody, Cameron Mitchell, in a cinematic epic combining several classic genres such as the idiots-abroad comedy, the white guy kung fu action epic and the tropical horror film.
I should emphasize that this is white guy kung fu, not actual kung fu. Actual kung fu is a brilliant mix of speed and strength, displayed in classics like Drunken Master II and The Magnificent Butcher; it is a beautiful thing. White guy kung fu, though, is primarily defined by core characteristics such as sweatiness, clumsiness and mullets and/or paunches. It can be seen in classics such as Best of the Best and every episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
Raw Force follows a group of kung fu students as they pile onto a cruise boat for the Burbank Kung Fu Club’s big vacation trip. Sexy antics abound: Women go topless and men of wildly varying attractiveness go shirtless and kick things to show off. That last bit is what seamlessly transitions the film into action territory, as a gang of sex traffickers led by a Hitler lookalike hijack the boat, giving the shirtless men some live targets to practice on.
Eventually, this nonsense leads them to a mystical island, where violent, deadly monks and undead warriors from World War II reign. You might be able to tell from this description that this movie isn’t too kind towards women or people of Asian descent. It’s gross and offensive, but it’s unfortunately par for the course with a movie like this.
The film doesn’t give you too much time to focus on any of its aspects, good or bad, as it blows through scene after scene at a relentless pace. With the exception of a truly bizarre party scene, the movie runs at full steam ahead until it hits the credits. There’s literally less than a minute of resolution between the kicks stopping and the film ending.
If you like your movies fast, dumb and absolutely baffling, you owe it to yourself to watch Raw Force. It’s available on a few niche streaming services, or you can grab it on Blu-ray, because we live in a world full of beautiful individuals who decided that a zombie-shooting, high-kicking, greasy masterpiece like this should be seen in the highest definition possible.