Sony // 1993 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 20th, 2003
Fighting for justice. Settling the score.
Well, they're back on the attack. Martial arts heavyweights Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton ("Zamir" from the hypnotic Gymkata) return as Kris Fairfield and Preston Michaels in this rock'em sock'em sequel. Does this dynamite duo have some high-test fuel in their karate tanks, or did the first Rage and Honor siphon it all away?
Jakarta is rife with corruption, and the United States government sees fit to send new agent Kris Fairfield into the mix and snoop around a major money laundering operation. Meanwhile, several blocks away, Preston Michaels, the estranged Australian cop dodging charges for a crime he didn't commit, is killing time as a bartender/bouncer/butt-kicker.
The streets of Jakarta are a dangerous place crammed with beacoup crooks looking for trouble; well, sir, Mr. Michaels is eager to dish it out, constantly embroiling himself in fights sending wannabe extorters out the door, beaten and bruised from being tossed into lots of tables, and keeping the bar customer-friendly (though the bar's attendance is spotty, due to, I would suppose, the constant fighting and table-smashing).
When he links up, unexpectedly, with Fairfield, he offers to help with her investigation and to give her access to his street smarts. Eventually she accepts, following a car chase and an explosion.
Ensconced in all of this intrigue is Tommy Andrews (Patrick Muldoon), whose father is the crooked banker laundering funds for the powerful local crime syndicate. The trio embarks on a bone-cracking slugfest with all sorts of villains, including a big, blonde, super-mullet-sporting Eastern European enforcer (the villains of choice, those Eastern Europeans), a gang war, and lots of perspiration, eventually leading them to the ultimate face-off -- and a shocking twist! Well, kind of shocking. Okay, maybe not so much shocking, as fairly jarring. Uh, how about moderately surprising.
Rage and Honor 2 is superior to Rage and Honor, but to most people that's like saying getting kicked in the ribs is superior to getting kicked in the neck. The fighting is just as bountiful in this flick as in its predecessor, but the producers may have had a tad more coin to work with. Heck, they included a car chase!
The narrative is slightly more compelling than the skin-and-bones plot of the first, making for a better story. And some of the more laughable elements have been trimmed from film one (e.g. the protagonists' nigh invulnerability).
Rothrock gets a bit more screen time to kick some tail, but this is still Norton's action movie. His fights are the juiciest, and he chews the one-liners and spits them out. Of course, that could be on account of Rothrock's utter delinquency as an actor (and a secret undercover agent -- where the heck is her back-up?!)
Muldoon (the cocky pilot from Starship Troopers and cocky owner of "The Max" from Saved by the Bell) turns in an over-the-top performance that leaves the audience begging Rothrock to break his arms.
Look, I'll say the same thing I said about the last movie: if you find this disc in the clearance bin -- and you're a fan of the late '80s, early '90s brawlers -- this might be a selection. It doesn't do anything original or particularly noteworthy, but it won't leave you feeling rotten inside for watching it.
Like the previous disc, Columbia TriStar goes the minimalist approach here, offering a few crazy-looking import trailers and that's it. Sound and picture are adequate, with the audio again relegating the throbbing, repetitive soundtrack to the background in favor of amplifying those POWs, SMACKs and THWAKs.
Spoiler Ahead (like you even care): Astonishingly, not a single bad guy died at the hands of our heroes -- not even by accident. Usually goons sometimes buy it of their own accord; they may charge blindly off a rooftop or pull a gun on a dozen heavily-armed officers once they get arrested. Here, villains just learn their lesson by the end of the film and climb into the police cars, heads sunk, hands cuffed, on their way to years of brutal prison rape.
So this might be a good one for the kids, teach them about mercy and forgiveness towards one's enemies, sticking to the "honor," avoiding the "rage."
Or you could take them mini-golfing.
Hey, what do I know? They're your kids.
There are far more ineffective, boring "action" movies out there than Rage and Honor 2. It certainly doesn't break new ground, but it breaks enough noses to make it watchable.
Rothrock and Norton are released on probation, and mandated to head over to Eastern Europe and start kicking butt.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Rated R