How have I never watched this?

I mean, the cast is pure magic. Rutger Hauer playing a gaijin Zatoichi? Terry O’Quinn as his chemical expert war buddy who gets wacky when he throws explosives at people? Nick Cassavetes and Rick Overton as the cowboy henchman known as the Pike Brothers? Randall “Tex” Cobb as Slag, the man trying to get O’Quinn’s kid and who has already killed his ex-wife, played by Meg Foster?

This is a movie where, of course, Hauer has crazy blind eyes and goes eyeball to eyeball with Foster, her blue eyes staring a hole into the sun.

Lisa Blount as O’Quinn’s new love? Tiger Chung Lee playing a heavy? Sho Kosugi showing up just long enough to go one on one with Hauer in a sword duel over an electrified hot tub?

Phillip Noyce made this and Dead Calm in the same year, which is absolutely amazing. He also made Sliver and I’d love to talk to him about all of the insanity.

Seriously, I watched every single moment of this with a huge smile on my face. The idea of remaking Zaitochi Challenged in America and not losing any of the charm? Credit goes to Tim Matheson, a fan of that Japanese series, who worked with producer Daniel Grodnik for seven years to get this made.

The Kino Lorber blu ray of this has an audio commentary by screenwriter Charles Robert Carner, moderated by Filmmaker Douglas Hosdale, as well as a newly remastered trailer. You can get it from Kino Lorber.

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