Karate Rock (The Kid with Iron Hands) (1990)

Fabrizio De Angelis may not rank as high as his Italian moviemaking brethern, but the guy made all three Thunder movies and that alone makes him a star in my world even before you factor in Killer Crocodile, the Karate Warrior series and the fact that he wrote Zombie Holocaust, which became Dr. Butcher M.D.

So hey — what if he remade The Karate Kid and brought son of Italian movie star Antonio Sabato Jr. in for the Daniel-san role? He’d make me deliriously happy, that’s what. He plays Kevin Foster, who has to leave behind Oakland and his dad, police officer John Foster (David Werbeck!) asks his friend Billy to look after him.

As soon as the kid with the iron hands comes to town, he ends up hooking up with karate champ Jeff Hunter’s girl Kim (Natalie Hendrix, whose acting biography is filled with roles playing reporters and news anchors). They win a dance contest and so instead of a fistfight, they end up having a car race through the Tunnel Of Death. And then the goons destroy Kevin’s friend’s Jeep. And then, and only then, does he get his ass handed to him and challenged to a martial arts battle.

There is no rock. There is little karate. I was mesmerized for every single minute of the 86-minute run time of this movie. It’s also shot nowhere near where it’s set and is instead made in Savannah, Georgia.

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