Written by: George Pacheco on February 13th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1981
Director: Robert Clause
Writer: Robert Clause
Cast: Joe Lewis, Bong Soo Han, Sonny Barnes
DVD Release Date: February 11th 2014
Approximate Running Time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Force: Five is a fun, harmless martial arts romp from the early eighties, which could have also passed muster in the seventies, as well, due to its kitschy fashions, chop-socky action and funkalicious score courtesy of composer William Goldstein.
Director Robert Clause (of Enter the Dragon fame) doesn’t go for the hardcore exploitation route here with his film, instead combining average levels of violence and mild sexuality to evoke an experience just a few notches above an episode of Magnum P.I. or The A Team. Indeed, this T.V. movie feel follows Force: Five all the way through it’s running time, but never really in a bad way, but in a manner indicative of the carefree vibe of the times.
Kentucky Fried Movie star and Hapkido master Bong Soo Han stars as Rev. Rhee, a mysterious cult leader and martial arts expert who has amassed a loyal legion of followers and disciples on his remote island, away from all governmental influence. Naturally, it’s up to five renegade action heroes to join forces and take down his compound at all costs, and therein lies a pretty predictable plot device which simply services to get a bunch of multi-ethnic musclemen (and one sexy woman) to kick ass much ass as humanly possible.
Force: Five is a bit too long at 96 minutes and does struggle to maintain its adrenaline level past the halfway point, but the film IS a fun bit of eighties action which makes the best out of the limited abilities of its collective cast to combine acting chops with physicality. Pam Huntington as Laurie in particular struggles to convince as a martial artist, as she rarely manages to kick above knee length, while her co-stars Joe Lewis and Richard Norton fare significantly better in the ass-kicking department.
Still, there are worse ways to spend a rainy weekday afternoon!
Scorpion Releasing presents Force: Five in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. There are virtually no instances of damage or sound deterioration in any way, with the film damn good for its age, to be perfectly frank. There are no extras other than trailers, yet Force: Five still wins marks for its strong audio/visual presentation.