Blastfighter (1984)

Around a minute into Blastfighter, ex-cop and con Jake “Tiger” Sharp (Michael Sopkiw, 2019: After the Fall of New York) is given the weapon that this movie is named for, a SPAS-12 shotgun that can shoot everything from darts and rockets to tear gas and grenades. He’s promised that every law enforcement officer will have this gun in a few years, but it’s his now. At this point, I was, as they say, all the fuck in.

Tiger was in jail because after his wife was murdered, he shot his wife’s killer at point blank range right in front of his lawyer. Yeah, it turns out that the suspect was the gay lover of the corrupt and sleazy lawyer — because Italian movies — and when he tries to kill that lawyer after his release, he still can’t bring himself to do it. Because deep down, he’s a good guy — because Italian movies. So he decides to go to the mountains to live in peace, burying the Blastfighter.

At this point, Tommie Baby’s “Evening Star” plays. The song was written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees and you will hear it in its entirety several times throughout the movie. Please read this paragraph as a dire warning.

Tiger enjoys the wild game that runs past his cabin and adopts a baby fawn, but when local rednecks capture it alive and keep it in pain so a Chinese herbalist can benefit, he tracks down the deer and puts it out of its misery. At this point, the film goes from a revenge film to a remake of Rambo: First Blood.

A girl named Connie randomly moves in with Tiger and ends up being his long-estranged daughter. Yep, our hero didn’t even recognize his own kid. Luckily, they bond and become close, just before the town’s redneck population rises up to get revenge.

Also, to hammer home the redneck town, Billy Redden, the kid who “played” banjo in Deliverance, shows up.

The poachers show up in force, despite the truce between their leader Tom (George Eastman, who starred in Antropophagus and Warriors of the Wasteland and wrote Stagefright) and Tiger. The guys were childhood pals, so Tiger agrees not to kill Wally, Tom’s brother and get over it. But Wally is, well, Wally. You know how Wally is, always killing everyone around someone, even their grown teenage daughter. Yep. Don’t get attached to anyone not named Tiger in this one.

It’s at this point that the Blastfighter is brought back and all revenge is taken. Glorious bloody, awesome revenge.

Blastfighter is packed with Italian genre stars taking a step away from horror and visiting Georgia to make a movie. Like Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, the worm eyed and most memorable zombie in Zombi. And Michel Soavi, director of the aforementioned Stagefright and Cemetary Man, who plays Tiger’s daughter’s boyfriend. And there’s even a score by Fabio Frizzi!

This film was originally intended to be a science fiction film with Lucio Fulci directing, but budgetary issues led to it becoming a strange hybrid of DeliveranceRamboMad Max and a Charles Bronson movie. Dardano Sacchetti (The BeyondDemonsManhattan Baby) wrote the changed script, which was originally part of a two-movie deal along with Fulci’s Warriors of the Year 2072Lamberto Bava (son of Mario, of course, and director of Demons) stepped in to direct this one.

I don’t know if this has come through in this piece yet, but Blastfighter is a weird movie. If you go by the poster, you’re expecting that gun to be used over and over, but it’s kept out of action until the end. With the talent on hand, you’re expecting pure craziness, but that doesn’t really happen until the end. That said, I wasn’t bored at all during this and I’ve endured countless Stallone clones and this is way better than nearly all of them.

That said, I can’t even imagine seeing Fulci try his hand at a film like this. His version of Blastfighter would blow someone’s eyeball clean out of their head!

You can get the Code Red reissue of this at Ronin Flix.

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