The One-Armed Executioner (Philippines 1980)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/20/13
Director: Bobby Suarez
Cast: Franco Guerrero, Nigel Hogge, cameo by James Gaines

A refreshingly simplistic tale of violence and revenge, as Interpol agent Ramon Ortega (Franco Guerrero) seeks to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of a dangerous drug lord (Nigel Hogge). To make matters worse, the bad guys decide to make an example of Ortega by cutting off one of his arms, which forces him to go through rigorous training to become a deadly fighting machine. An excellent outing for Guerrero, who is in top form and delivers an appropriately grim and tortured performance. While the one-armed angle is a bit hokey and contrived, the fight scenes are impressive and watching Guerrero cock an automatic pistol with one hand is inspiring. The production values are a step up from the usual Filipino fare, and there are some very nice compositions sprinkled throughout. The funky disco era soundtrack nicely punctuates the no-nonsense action and looks back to the golden age of exploitation cinema. If you go into it with no expectations, you might be pleasantly surprised.