Blu-ray Review: Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980)

April 2, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Adolph Caesar (surprisingly not the bi-product of  Cobra experiments to resurrect Serpentor, but rather an Oscar nominated actor) discusses an upcoming (and surely complete and utter bullshit) karate championship event set to take place at Madison Square Garden. The prize awarded from said (definitely made-up) contest of legendary legends? Why, the title of Bruce Lee’s successor (a full seven years after his death no less… and as is the way here, not even remotely a real fuckin’ thing), naturally. And we’re off to the races with Fist of Fear, Touch of Death

As you surely guessed, after some high-kickin’ hoo-ha at The Garden, the film then switches to a flashback to earlier in the day as legendary exploitation actor Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (credited here as “Hammer, the Ladies Man”), whom most of you lot would recognize from his role in the Rodriguez/Tarantino fang-bang flick From Dusk ’til Dawn, has just banged some rando broad five times (and she’s primed for a sixth go)… but it’s “no time for love Dr. Jones” as Hammer has to haul ass to The Garden for the aforementioned ass-beat-a-thon… okay, he lays down a quickie, then hitches a ride with Caesar to the main event.

Speaking of Caesar; the man spins a web of some dynamite bullshit (there’s that word again cats n’ creeps) like claiming ’twas he that discovered Lee!

Cue some old-as-fuck black and white footage of Bruce Lee from lord knows where that features the man waxin’ nostalgic about his samurai heritage (Japan, China… the audience won’t know the difference; thanks in part to the gallon of Mad Dog 2020 they doubtless ingested before parking their soiled asses in 42nd Street theaters to watch this sparkling gem back in 1980). There’s also a midget involved… which is a sentence I’ve typed more times than I can count in my revoltin’ reviewing career…

Also included are: Kato fantasies involving big-titty joggers (featuring Bill Louie, who appears to be a great martial artists as well as an ace cosplayer… or it’s some sort of sexual thing… as Green Hornet’s right hand man) eyes being torn from their sockets, an interview (and carrot-based martial-arts demo… as if there is any other kind) with martial arts legend Ron “The Black Dragon” Van Clief, and a martial arts master cum promoter that is a dead ringer for Exidor from Mork and Mindy (who also features in a screamingly hilarious conversation with Lee via stock footage).

Holy shit Fist of Fear, Touch of Death, you have really outdone yourself!

This flick is kinda/sorta a documentary at it’s heart… and it also contains some exciting martial arts footage but everything is topped off with a (very) thick slathering of absolute fabricated nonsense that makes the picture and absolute howl to view!

Adding to the fun contained in this 4K restored 40th anniversary collector’s set of Fist of Fear, Touch of Death from The Film Detective is a featurette containing brand new interviews with actors Williamson and Ron Van Clief, producer Terry Levene, director Matthew Mallinson, and scriptwriter Ron Harvey as they illuminate went into the making of this lunacy, as well as the film’s original theatrical trailer (in both English and Spanish).

Director Matthew Mallinson feverishly crams any and all material at his disposal into this thing, and the end result is a masterpiece of found art, unbelievable hyperbole, and punk rock aesthetics (read: D.I.Y. ’til you die) that creates an ass-kickin’ brew impossible to resist for lovers of cult (and unhinged) cinema!




To pre-order a copy of Fist of Fear, Touch of Death head here!

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