Fist Of Steel (1991)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Eternal Fist, Death Zone
Director: Irvin Johnson
Cast: Dale "Apollo" Cook, Cynthia Khan, James Gaines, Gregg Douglass

It's pretty much a given that any movie that begins with stock footage of atomic bomb testing is going to be bad. This is Cynthia Khan's only American film, and I admit, the second star in my rating of the film is solely because of her. Dorky professional kickfighter Dale "Apollo" Cook is a tournament fighter named Amp in a bleak post apocalyptic future. He's seeking revenge against another tournament fighter named Mainframe (Gregg Douglass) for the death of his lover (Cynthia Khan in a dual role), and hooks up with a cute and spunky girl named Wild (also Cynthia Khan) along the way. During their travels, Wild learns how to fight from Amp, and it takes the two of them together to finally take out all of the bad guys. Sure it's bad, but Cynthia Khan looks absolutely stunning in her black leather and spandex outfit and is quite clearly the most talented cinematic fighter of the bunch. Granted, the other guys in the film are professional fighters in real life, but their skills don't translate well to the camera eye - they mostly just come across as being clumsy and crude. It's a classic case of real fighting versus reel fighting, and since Ms. Khan has style and grace, she's much more interesting to watch. She also burns up the screen with her savage beauty and fierce intensity, while the guys just grimace and grunt a lot. My only complaints are that she's often shot out of focus and that she's dubbed really badly. I would much rather hear her actual voice, no matter how broken her English may be. Mildly entertaining B-movie fare for fighting enthusiasts only.