Live by the Fist (1993) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

There is a sliding scale that must be applied to critique movies like Live by the Fist then the screen credit directed by Cirio H. Santiago appears and one must adjust that scale even lower. That is not to suggest that there isn’t any redeeming value or inherent campy fun to be found or had, but when Roger Corman or any of the Santiago clan appear credited on a production, it is almost always guaranteed to be a point and shoot action affair with one take choreography and bare-bones plotting. Live by the Fist carries on that long-standing tradition.

A Navy SEAL (Jerry Trimble) is unjustly jailed in a savage Filipino prison for a murder he did not commit. Behind bars he discovers a new world order where men are killed and maimed in brutal encounters. When he befriends an elderly cellmate and refuses to join the prison’s racially divided gangs, he is then marked for execution by the warlord on the inside “Khan”. Forced to abandon his pacifist philosophy and must use every fighting skill at his disposal to escape.

This is my first introduction to P.K.A. Light-Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion Jerry Trimble, a stout if undersized martial artist who resembles Brett Michaels crossed with Michael Dudikoff. In comparison to fellow athletes turned thespians Wilson, Jeff Wincott and Gary Daniels, Trimble is the least charismatic and seems uncomfortable in front of the camera. Appearing in a handful of scenes, in fact with a 78 minute running-time the entire enterprise in not much more than a handful of scenes, is Star Trek alumnus George Takei. For those fans awaiting the Trimble/Takei on-screen pairing this is your movie. All others should redirect their attention (or curiosity) to some of Trimble’s better efforts One Man Army, Full Contact.

Director: Cirio H. Santiago
Stars: Jerry Trimble, George Takei, Ted Markland

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