Directed by: Lamberto Bava
Written by: Luca De Rita & Massimo De Rita
Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Valentina Forte, George Eastman
Running Time: 87 Minutes
UK Certificate: 18
Format: Blu Ray & DVD available now from 88 Films – HERE
Studio: 88 Films Italian Collection
Jake ‘Tiger’ Sharp, Michael Sopkiw, is an ex-cop who has been behind bars for 8 years. As he leaves prison he is picked up by a man in a car who hands him his service revolver and a shotgun. This shotgun has been adapted to fire grenades, darts, lead slugs, you name it, and this monster fires it. Tiger is going to use it to assassinate a man who was involved in a cop killing, which led to the murder of his wife. Tiger has had it tough; you can read it in his moustache. However he can’t go through with it, enough is enough, so he returns home to seemingly the town of hillbilly stereotypes.
Whilst setting up home Tiger makes friends with a baby deer and upsets the local yokels. This escalates into a full out feud, eventually becoming a Rambo like vendetta against anyone who looks at him funny. Oh and his estranged daughter makes an appearance just to let the audience know this guy is really going through the mill, not just physically but emotionally.
Blastfighter is a classic but for all the wrong reasons. Borrowing from First Blood and Deliverance, scriptwriters Luca De Rita & Massimo De Rita, never find a new hook, instead cramming in exposition and characters that go nowhere and a back story that never finds resolution. Having said that, Blastfighter is an all out 80’s revenge, action movie, sense and reason is not required and what it lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in cinematic cheese.
Lamberto Bava, Director of DEMONS, directs with a kinetic style and puts the action as far in your face as possible. He isn’t ashamed to have people blown up in close up, or put his two leads in danger by hurtling them down white water rapids because stuntmen would be too costly. Being a co-production between the US and Italy meant a small budget and the shoestring is on show. I can forgive all this however because it reminded me of cult classics like John Carpenter’s They Live or Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing.
The acting, although reminiscent of many episodes of The A-Team, never gets dull; it will raise a smile or two. Michael Sopkiw, starring in only one of four movies on his CV, gives it all he has. He has the steely stare down to perfection. He is every bit the proto D-Fens from the wonderful Falling Down, a man who has had enough and been pushed that little bit too far. The majority of the ensemble is made up of Italian actors such as Tiger’s daughter played by Valentina Forte. All the roles were dubbed but I would have liked to have seen an original audio version fir comparison, just to see if it affected the performances.
Fabio Frizzi’s score is pure synth heaven, a pure 80’s sound for a pure 80’s film. The only thing I found weird and off putting was the sun over the end credits, as out of place as ‘He ain’t heavy he’s my brother’ from Rambo III, we are treated to a random a country and western song about dreams written by the BeeGees.
Blastfighter was never going to win any awards but if you like your movies that are so bad, they are good, and then give it a go. Presented on a 25 GB disc with a sharp transfer, 88 Films have done a great job restoring this movie. Including trailers for forthcoming releases and a 12 minute interview with director of photography Gianlorenzo Battaglia, this is a solid release.
Quentin Tarantino calls it Bava’s best film. Having only seen this and Demons I can’t really comment but I do know that if I ever need cheering up, I’ll be popping in Blastfighter. A fine edition to my so bad it’s good collection.