Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 10th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1994
Director: Dan Neira
Writers: Robert Crabtree, Dan Neira
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Roddy Piper, Meg Foster
DVD released: December 29th, 1998
Approximate running time: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 full frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Simitar
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: OOP
Indestructible warriors programmed to kill. This is no game.
After receiving a tip from an under cover agent Jill, Detectives John Keller (Roddy Piper) and Jiro ‘J.J.’ Jinkline (Sonny Chiba) learn the whereabouts of a man named Delaney. Jill is killed while under cover at the party Delaney is attending and when John and his partner Jiro go inside to help Jill all hell breaks loose. John will do anything to find Jill’s killer. He reluctantly goes on vacation were he meets reporter who is knows a thing or two about what John is looking for. Will John find Jill’s killer before the army of indestructible warriors knocks him off?
Roddy Piper initially achieved famed as a professional wrestler. In the late 1980’s he would make the transition into films with his most famous film to date being John Carpenter’s They Live. The action sequences are what this film is all about and the dialog in between holds together thin plot. The action is violent for the most part as far amount of blood is present through out and sadistic during Jill’s death scene in which she is raped before the killer carves her face up. Roddy Piper gets the most screen time in this film and he does have some cool moments most of them involving shooting guns. He isn’t as agile Sonny Chiba who spends most of his time kicking ass with his hands or with a samurai sword. Surprisingly there is an attempt at a back story for the character of Jiro as we are shown flashbacks to the death of his wife.
Outside of this back story the rest of the characters are one dimensional. The bad guys are nothing special they are you typical heavies and I found the indestructible warriors which oddly enough could pass as Fabio clones laughable. The dialog is this film may make some cringe as it ranks up there with some of the worst ever spoken in a direct to video action extravaganza. Immortal Combat isn’t the type of film that will ever win any awards for its acting or intricate plot; still it is a highly entertaining action film that teams up two charismatic stars Roddy Piper and Sonny Chiba.
Immortal Combat is presented in a full frame aspect ratio. The colors and flesh tones look good, still nothing exceptional. There is some minor artifacting and the image suffers at times from compression. While the image is far from perfect it is one of the better looking direct to video transfers that I have seen to date.
The only audio option is the films original English language which is presented in a Dolby Digital Stereo. There is some minor hiss and distortion present during playback. Overall the dialog and action more then gets the job done.
The only extra included on what is essentially a bare bones DVD release is film facts.
Fans of Roddy Piper and Sonny Chiba will enjoy Immortal Combat as both actors enjoy plenty of screen time and kick a lot of ass.