Thursday 3 March 2011

ANGELFIST (Philippines, 1992) - review

Directors who remake their own films are not an unknown phenomenon and in 1981 Cirio H. Santiago remade his own film TNT JACKSON from 1974; The remake is called FIRECRACKER (aka Naked Fist), however, what is quite a bit of a novelty is that Santiago even remade the film again!!! I guess he liked the plot, ay. The third time was in 1992 and this time he called it ANGELFIST. All three films follow the same plot about a kick-ass girl who goes to the Philippines to seek revenge for the death of her sister or brother. I watched the first two films years ago (on VHS) and tonight I finally got the chance to see the third film. Being a Filipino exploitation flick means it's sure to deliver in the entertainment department. However, I can't say making the same film again and again made Santiago get better at choosing great actors for his roles, haha.

Mein gott!! Cat Sassoon, the "actress" (and I use the term in the most loose term possibly) who plays the lead character is by far one of the worst actresses I've ever seen! I kid you not!! It's 90 minutes of "what the fuck was Cirio thinking!!!" She can't act, she can't fight (altho the film claims she was a karate champion - yeah, probably in Bizarro World), and her tits and lips look as fake as any Barbie doll's you'll find at Toys R Us! Man, those tits look so stiff and pointy it's probably a good thing no one landed on them head-first as I'm sure they could have punctured some poor sap's eyes!!! I'm not even kidding.

The guy who plays her love interest is well cast as he's every bit as crappy an actor as she is. I'm laughing my ass off here thinking about it! Having said that, I should point out many of their co-stars are actually pretty good, and we find good ol'e Filipino regular Henry Strzalkowski as a crooked cop. ANGELFIST is definitely entertaining but it's just not anywhere near as good as TNT JACKSON or FIRECRACKER.

PS: And in case you're wondering: Yes, Santiago also repeats the "main character is attacked by bad guys in hotel room while being naked and kicks their ass in the nude!" scene! Hahaha.

The copy of ANGELFIST that I bought is a reg. 1 DVD. It's presented in the fullscreen format. The picture is pretty good not least when you consider that most of the Filipino films that we can get our mittens on are old wobbly video releases. The only extras is a trailer and some short biographies + a couple of trailers for other films. There are no subtitles.

It's ironic that out of the three versions that Santiago made this is the only of the films that has so far received a proper DVD release. Fortunately, Shout Factory have announced that they'll be releasing a bunch of Filipino films this year and two of them are TNT JACKSON and FIRECRACKER!

Henry Strzalkowski (on the right) with Darwyn Swalve (who was also in HANDS OF STEEL which has just been released by AWE/Njuta Films) roughing up Nick Nicholson in DEATH BOND (1988).

Sell-thru tape from Holland (thanks to Peter from Cinehound)


  1. That VHS/DVD cover makes me all happy in my pants. VERY HAPPY.

  2. I'm sure it'll also interest you to hear that Santiago re-shot the "naked chick kungfu fights bad guys in her hotel room" in all three versions of the film.

    HELL, scene was even REPEATED AGAIN in "Angel of Destruction" which was almost the same story yet again!!!