Jake Turner (Gary Daniels) is a low-level hood paid to cause some property damage to a local diner. Turner and his accomplice plant an explosive device behind the jukebox and call it a night. Unfortunately a group of employees sneak into the restaurant and begin parting after hours. Jake being the hood with a heart of gold goes back to retrieve the device. Disastrous results occur which lead to the death of Jake’s partner. Only thing left to do is run to another country and hideout from the mafia hoods looking for revenge. Meanwhile in LA his younger brother Randy is participating in illegal underground street fights. Worse yet little bro has fallen under the wing of a corrupt japanese promoter with ties to the yakuza. Logically Jake tries to buyout his brother’s contract with the big boss man and when those negotiations fall through Jake decides to fight in the circuit. Inexplicably this action in no way solves the problem of Randy being forced to fight, it just sets up a showdown between the brothers in the last act.
It turns out American Streetfighter does have at least one cool idea in the script and that’s the inclusion of black market smuggling through hollowed out corpses. The losing combatant is killed and their chest cavity emptied in order to export drugs for sale to the highest bidder. It’s a somewhat surprising revelation in a film with such a narrow focus story wise. Admittedly I thought the Commando style raid sans guns but with flying fists on a mansion where the lead baddies and his henchmen are holding Turner’s son captive was a nice unexpected touch.
The picture was obviously shot on the cheap in a foreign country. The dialogue is almost entirely looped and the fighting ranges from adequate to hysterical. Gary Daniels is a true star within the straight-to-dvd martial arts community however American Streetfighter is one of his worst movies. As with most martial arts oriented b-movies from the 1990s the setting is Los Angeles and the styles are so outdated it’s like watching a blacksploitation flick from the 1970s. Look for Daniels sporting high-rise jeans (ala Van Damme), Reebok Pump sneakers and ponytails galore. It’s a disappointing early entry in the Daniels’ cannon.
Director: Steven Austin
Stars: Gary Daniels, Ian Jacklin, Gerald Okamura