Dynamite Johnson (Philippines 1979)

Rating: *(*)
Alternate Title: The Return Of The Bionic Boy
Review Date: 7/26/20
Director: Bobby Suarez
Cast: Johnson Yap, Marrie Lee, cameo by Franco Guerrero

Not only is this the sequel to "The Bionic Boy" (1977), but it's also the third (and final) film in the "Cleopatra Wong" (1978) series. The film opens with some bad guys infiltrating a compound of some sort and then being obliterated by a mechanical fire-breathing dragon on wheels. Next, we cut to a scene of Sonny the bionic boy (Johnson Yap) in a wheelchair being taken to a hospital by Cleopatra Wong (Marrie Lee) because his legs stopped working. After the operation, Sonny sneaks out of the hospital and steals a case of uranium from some thugs on the docks. Cleo won't listen to any of his nonsense about dragons, gangsters, and smugglers until repeated attempts on their lives force the Filipino police to get involved. It turns out a Nazi mastermind is hiding out in the Philippines (!!!) who plans to destroy all major cities in the world with nuclear bombs that are somehow detonated by shooting a laser beam at an orbiting satellite. Hong Kong is the first city on the list, and Cleo has only thirty-six hours to stop it from getting blown up. Naturally, she's caught and tortured by the bad guys, only to have Sonny show up and rescue her in the nick of time. A huge gunfight takes place at an industrial mining site, which results in lots of explosions and dead bodies.

It's a really terrible film, and it's obvious why the Cleopatra Wong series ended here. However, I have to begrudgingly give it an optional 2-star rating because of its moderate budget, impressive locations, rousing soundtrack, and semi-decent cinematography. Not surprisingly, the story is awful, but refreshingly simplistic: crazed Nazi steals uranium to make deadly bombs while courageous woman and her bionic sidekick try to stop him. First of all, the humor is deplorable. The film would be totally watchable if it weren't for the goofy humor, which mostly boils down to Sonny's silly bionic pranks and a flamboyant gay dude who works for the bad guys. Johnson Yap is a skinny young kid who wears bell bottoms, and the bionic action is simply slow motion footage accompanied by electronic sound effects. Marrie Lee is a bit of a disappointment this time around and suffers from some really hideous makeup and outfits. She even wears an afro wig in one sequence for some reason. Marrie only gets into a small handful of fights, which are poorly executed and made worse by pan-and-scan cropping that cuts both opponents off of the screen. She also has a ridiculous rifle at her disposal, which is a combination rocket launcher and crossbow. (?) As I mentioned earlier, the location shooting is a nice touch, which gives the film a much broader scope and a larger canvas for director Bobby Suarez to work with. However, the laughably awful fire-breathing dragon mobile quickly spoils any hope for epic action and adventure.