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Review Rage of Honor 1987: Sho Kosugi goes full Rambo!

genre: martial arts, action, crime

The second film directed by Gordon Hessler featuring Sho Kosugi. The first being Pray for Death. In one review it was stated that he regarded Rage of Honor superior over Pray for Death. I don't think this is entirely fair as the two are completely different.

Pray for Death is more like Death Wish where Kosugi goes Charles Bronson ninja style and Rage of Honor basically is Kosugi going full Rambo. It's obvious Rage of Honor wanted to chime on the success of the Rambo type of films that came out at the time. Sho Kosugi certainly is the right man for the job to portray a one man army. Only deep down I wished he still would do it as full blooded ninja using just his sword and shuriken. Now Sho is also seen shooting bad guys which also is a feast for the eyes. And don't worry while Sho technically is not playing a ninja he still acts like one with all kinds of neat trickery and gadgets. He even fights a couple of ninja's. But the vibe is different. The magic and mysticism is removed. Not saying that is a bad thing. Still you can't blame me for getting nostalgic about ninja's and their awesomeness. 

Sho Kosugi apparently also wanted to widen his scope. It's not exactly clear to me why he therefore didn't get bigger. He clearly is having fun playing an action hero a la Stallone. It's proof he would have more in store for us if we had let him. Lewis van Bergen as Havlock was trying to steal his thunder. I won't deny that he has a presence but nowhere near as compelling as Sho. Besides at one point van Bergen is just plain annoying. Like in Pray for Death there is a far too drawn out fight between Sho and a non martial artist who can't even throw a punch even if his life depended on it. But again it is asked of us to suspend disbelief and accept that Sho has trouble defeating him. 

In any case Rage of Honor is a must watch for people who love good action films. 

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