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Rage Of Honor

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    Ian Jane
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  • Rage Of Honor



    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: March 15th, 2016.
    Director: Gordon Hessler
    Cast: Sho Kosugi, Lewis Van Bergen, Robin Evans
    Year: 1987
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Gordon Hessler's 1987 film Rage Of Honor starts off with a great scene where a Japanese cop named Shiro Tanaka (Sho Kosugi) and his partner Ray Jones (Richard Wiley) are chasing down a gang of drug dealers. It's a high speed chase on boats and it's awesome - that is, until they're double crossed and poor Ray winds up dead.

    Shiro swears revenge against the drug gang, led by a guy named Havlock (Lewis Van Bergen), and when he splits the states for freedom in South America Shiro hands in his badge so that he can follow suit. But it's not going to be that easy - super sleazy Havlock and his cronies manage to kidnap Shiro's foxy blonde girlfriend, Jennifer Lane (Robin Evans). So with Jennifer's life now on the line, Shiro's got twice the reason to go on a massive killing spree and take out as many bad guys as he can!

    And that's pretty much what he does.

    The plot here is pretty basic stuff - cop's partner gets killed and girlfriend gets kidnapped so he goes after the guys who did it - but it's enough. This one plays to Kosugi's strengths not in that it gives him a particularly interesting character to play but in that it gives him plenty of opportunity to use his martial arts skills in front of the camera. He does this often and he does this well, kicking all kinds of ass throughout the movie and getting involved (to a certain degree) in a few impressive stunt sequences as well. The fact that he's pretty much monotone throughout the movie except when he's kicking people in the face is of no real consequence here. You don't watch his films for introspective characters or through provoking storylines, you watch them because he's really good at kicking people in the face.

    As to the rest of the cast? Robin Evans is pretty much forgettable as Shiros's girlfriend, though that's more to do with the fact that her character isn't all that interesting than it does with her performance. Lewis Van Bergen, however, is pretty awesome as the bad guy. He plays things pretty intensely here, hamming it up just enough to hit a pretty solid level of villainy. As such, when Shiro spends the last half hour or so of the movie running around a jungle waterfall trying to get to him, we've got his back.

    Hessler and Kosugi had previously worked together on Pray For Death in 1985 and this movie works on pretty much the same level. It's efficient well-choreographed action with enough plot to tie the set pieces together. It works. It's not fancy, but it works.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Rage Of Honor looks excellent in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Colors are very nicely reproduced, black levels are rock solid and detail is typically very strong indeed. Some shots do looks a bit soft, past versions of the movie have shown this as well so it's the way that those shots were filmed, but otherwise this is a very strong presentation that offers a very serious upgrade over the previous DVD release

    The English language LPCM 2.0 Stereo track sounds very good. The track provides clear dialogue without any noticeable background hiss or noise at all. The ridiculously eighties sounding score is remarkably robust with great depth. The levels are well balanced, and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The main extra on the disc is the eighteen minute long Sho And Tell Part 2: The Domination which picks up where the interview included on Arrow's recent Blu-ray release of Pray For Death left off. The focus here is on the movies he made in the later part of his career and it's quite an interesting talk with the man (who concludes things by talking up a new movie he's working on with his son). Two short featurettes are also found on the disc, the first of which is a three minute interview with the film's composer, Stelvio Cipriani, about his work on the film and the second a two minute piece with film historian Chris Poggiali about the popularity of ninja movies in the eighties.

    Additionally we get a Sho Kosugi Trailer Gallery (containing promo spots for Enter The Ninja, Revenge Of The Ninja, Pray For Death and Rage Of Honor), animated menus and chapter selection. Some cool reversible cover art is also included - a nice touch. Included inside the case along with the Blu-ray disc is an insert booklet that contains some excerpts from Sho's upcoming autobiography.

    The Final Word:

    Rage Of Honor isn't deep, nor is it original or particularly smart - but it is fast paced and action packed. It's not a movie that will change your life but it will easily keep you entertained for an hour and a half, particularly if you've got an affinity for Kosugi's style of ultra-violent heroism. Arrow's Blu-ray isn't super stacked but it's still got some decent supplements on it and the A/V presentation is rock solid. All in all, a really fun disc.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

























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