21 July 2015 | Coventry
A-ha ha ha ha ha ha
One of the main reasons why I worship the Italian exploitation film industry so much is because their rip-offs are often so damn blatant and shameless that you wonder how they even dared to register it on camera! Just look at the opening sequences of this "Thunder Warrior", for instance. A rusty old pick-up truck drops off a lone Vietnam War veteran, a seemingly calm and peaceful person with long dark hair and still wearing his soldier's clothes and a backpack over one shoulder. Does this image sound somewhat familiar? Well, it should, because "Thunder Warrior" is an all too obvious imitation of the tremendously successful "First Blood" that was released barely one year earlier. Thunder is the Navajo-version of John J. Rambo, but the actor Mark Gregory isn't nearly as muscular as Sylvester Stallone and definitely not as fierce and combative as he's depicted on the VHS-cover. In fact, Mark Gregory/Marco Di Gregorio isn't even a real Indian but a former shoe salesman from Italy who became a star for a very brief period thanks to "1990: The Bronx Warriors". Thunder is informed by this extremely old and awfully dubbed Native American grandfather that their sacred burial grounds are being overbuilt by capitalist real estate developers and urinated on by redneck construction workers. Thunder initially tries to diplomatically talk to Sheriff Bill Cook and his yokel deputies, but he's quickly chased out of town and beaten down in the sand. But he fights back and receives unexpected support from a freelance journalist and a radio DJ named Dancing Crow. The first half of "Thunder Warrior" is speedily paced and contains a couple of powerful action sequences, including a furious car chase and a raw fight, but I have to admit that the second half is dull, weak and severely lacking in the action department. Most of Thunder's opponents don't even get the ass-whooping they deserved (maybe because a few re-appear in the sequel?) and the grand finale is sorely disappointing. The supportive cast will appeal to cult cinema fanatics, with names like Bo Svenson ("Inglorious Bastards", "Snowbeast") Antonio Sabato ("Seven Blood Stained Orchids", "Gang War in Milan") and the über-sleazy Raimund Harmstorf. I haven't seen either of the two sequels yet, but here's to hoping that they unscrupulously rip off "Rambo: First Blood part II" and "Rambo III"