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Review Force: Five (1981): Pretty enjoyable!

genre: martial arts, action

A top government agent assembles a force of five martial arts experts to carry out a near-impossible assignment. They must topple the corrupt organization behind one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful religious leaders.

I must admit that I wasn't expecting much, but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised. Even if the entire film does feel like a TV Film you can't possibly take seriously, since at times it does resemble the skit in The Kentucky Fried Movie. If you can overlook certain elements, one can view this as a legitimate martial arts film. In large part because of Joe Lewis, Benny Urquidez and Richard Norton. Especially Benny Urquidez impresses as he fights and does stunts a la Jackie Chan. Pam Huntington stands out as the only woman in the team. She obviously doesn't know martial arts and every move she makes is comedic. I don't think this was intentional. But for the sake of my amusement I rolled with it since she did make it up with some good acting on her part regarding the cult and their indoctrination of innocents.

Force: Five even has a surprise villain who you won't see coming. Still, I would have liked to see a proper martial arts fight in the finale. Robert Clouse obviously wanted to capitalize on Enter the Dragon and for what it's worth, it's not a bad attempt. But as much as I like Joe Lewis in this film, he certainly isn't Bruce Lee. The fight between him and cult leader Rev. Rhee feels very anti-climatic. This should have been a tough battle where both are challenged. Instead, you cat a cat and mouse play very reminiscent of the final in Enter the Dragon.

Overall, Force: Five could have been far better, but is pretty enjoyable to be honest, so I can't really be too harsh about it.

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