image courtesy of Chimera Studios
AKA: Iron Heart
Richard Norton. Image courtesy of Chimera Studios.
Probably the best way to sum up this review is to use the one from the IMDB: "Me and a couple of friends went to rent some movies one day, we picked one each and one of us picked Ironheart. Let's just say that from now on, we never let him pick a movie. This movie sucks." Indeed.
If anyone thinks that Robert Clouse has anything to do with the success of Enter the Dragon, they only have to look at this movie, which was the last one Clouse completed before his death in 1997 of kidney failure (in my mind, brought on by heavy drinking to try and forget he directed crap like this and Gymkata, which had the inane idea to make a gymnast an action star). This exercise in idiocy is a total bore from beginning to end; it's straight-to-video "films" like this which give martial arts movies a bad name. The tagline of "only the strong will survive" is appropriate -- you'll need a strong stomach to sit through this ninety-minute vortex of suck.
The lame plot has Britton Lee (Bruce Lee's cousin, which means he's got about a fourth of the talent of the Dragon) as a LA cop who travels to Oregon for no other reason except that Robert Clouse lived there and was too damn lazy to shoot anywhere else. Actually, Lee's old partner transferred there to get away from the danger of LA, but of course he follows sidekick rule number one and gets killed in the line of duty. After wandering around "scenic" Portland for what seems like forever, during which time he hangs around a lame-looking dance club populated by the most untalented white people ever to strike a pose and not do much else except fight the occasional generic untalented white guy, Lee finally pieces together a white slavery scheme led by Richard Norton (in a total "beer money" role, since his talents are totally wasted here).
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, to recommend a viewing of Ironheart. The acting sucks. The directing sucks. The scenery sucks. The ugly women baring their floppy boobs suck. The endless shots of white people trying to shake their rumps sucks. The cheeseball horrible techno/rap/whatever music sucks worse than a hooker with a snaggletooth. The fights looked like they were pieced together by a blind schizophrenic amputee after smoking some bad crack, and yeah, they really suck. Even the videotape (What? You actually thought this might be on DVD?) sucks -- my VCR tried to eat it several times. Maybe it knew something I didn't and was trying to protect me.
Even if you enjoy ripping on cheesy movies, Ironheart is so truly god-awful and most damningly, just plain boring, that it doesn't even warrant a "Mystery Science Theatre" treatment, no matter how many adult beverages you might consume. If you only take heed of one of my reviews, this would be the one to do it for. Stay the hell away from Ironheart. It's an insult to the term "martial arts" and film in general. Leave it to the depths of B-movie hell where it belongs.