Balance of Power (1996) – Review

1 Star

Balance of Power begins like The Karate Kid, has a middle section inspired by Rocky 3 before morphing into Indiana Jones lite, then refocuses for a Bloodsport inspired finale. This is one lesser effort from stone faced star Billy Blanks. Unfortunately this martial arts action pic is mediocre in all aspects. From a cliched script that offers absolutely nothing new, to the poorly staged fight sequences. The film is additionally bogged down with one of the most obnoxious child actors in recent memory. So bad in fact that I hoped the bad guys would follow through on their threats against her life.

For a film that is titled Balance of Power and staring the creator of Tae Bo there is very little combat that takes place. The film begins with an underground match that results in a man getting his shin bone snapped in half. After this laughable sequence the next encounter occurs nearly 30 minutes in. That is far too long of a stretch of inactivity for this type of flick. Veteran actor Mako plays the Mr. Mayagi role for the umpteenth time in his long career. I was looking forward to the paring of Blanks and Mako, yet their scenes together are dull, flatly staged and laking in chemistry. Even the training sequences, usually a highlight in this genera, are unimpressive and mishandled.

I must admit, things do get interesting when our protagonist earns the right to challenge the monks at the hall of the plum tree. A fight circuit located deep within a cave, equipped with closed circuit television monitors none-the-less. The sequence brought to mind a similarly silly passage from the abysmal Dennis Rodman starer Simon Sez. There is also a death match that ends with a man being drowned in dry ice, thats inventive. These outlandish touches alone save this bland outing from ranking as a total dud.

Director: Rick Bennett
Stars: Billy Blanks, Mako, Lisa Yamanaka

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