Ring of Steel (1994)

Alex Freyer (Robert Chapin, who was born into a family of puppeteers and now does visual effects) is arguably the hero of Ring of Steel, even if you want to hate him throughout the movie. He whines, he cries, he screws up and kills someone in a fencing match, yet he still gets to have a sweaty near-Amityville: It’s About Time sex with nice girl Elena Carter (Darlene Vogel, Spike from Back to the Future Part 2 and also the fourth person to play Angel in  Angel 4: Undercover).

Alex is out of the Olympics and has no idea what to do with his life when he meets the Man In Black (Joe Don Baker) when he pulls a sword cane on some backstreet toughs. He tells Alex that he’s the best and that he wants to bring him together with his trained fighters to be even better.

This movie has everybody in it, and by everybody, I mean people whose name I yelled when they showed up like Carol Alt as the bad guy’s girl Tanya, Don Stark (Bob Pinciotti from That 70s Show) as a cop and, as you knew he would show up, Judo Gene LaBelle as, well, Judo Gene LeBelle.

This was written by Chapin too, working with David Frost (not the famous British TV personality), and it’s pretty much every martial arts movie except with swords. And pirate shirts. Supposedly, Chapin’s original story was way too dark, as Alex would fall into a world of drugs, money, women and bloodsport and not even want to be with Elena anymore. When MCA/Universal picked it up for home video distribution, they lightened it up. And set up a sequel, which I think we could still fund, you know?

The fact that I love this movie more than any that will ever win an Oscar for the rest of time is why I will never be a serious and respected film personality.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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