• Ring Of Fire (Madacy Home Video) DVD Review

    Released by: Madacy Home Video
    Released on: April 29th, 2003.
    Director: Richard W. Munchkin
    Cast: Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, Maria Ford, Vince Murdocco, Dale Jacoby, Michael Delano, Eric Lee, Steven Vincent Leigh, Gary Daniels
    Year: 1991
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    Ring Of Fire – Movie Review:

    Richard W. Munchkin (who would later direct Don' The Dragon' Wilson again in this movie’s sequel as well as 1992’s Out For Blood) helms this early nineties straight to video kickboxing extravaganza starring, well, obviously Don 'The Dragon' Wilson (star of the Bloodfist series as well as the classic Night Hunter).

    In this film, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson plays Johnny Wu, a mellow low key man who works as a Doctor in a hospital near Chinatown in Los Angeles. He isn’t a very convincing doctor, mind you, but that doesn’t really matter because he seems to spend very little time actually practicing medicine. Anyway, he’s not going to be referred to as Johnny Wu in this movie, as he should only ever be referred to by his legal name, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson.

    Little does Don 'The Dragon' Wilson know that there is a ring of streetfighting matches going on between the warring factions of Asian and Caucasian gangs in the area. The gangs like to get together and settle their differences by kickboxing the shit out of each other. Obviously, this type of rash behavior lends itself well to the movie, as we get to see a bunch of guys in silly outfits kick each other’s' asses every fifteen-minutes or so.

    Anyway, Julie (Maria Ford), who is the girlfriend of one of the head honchos in the Caucasian gang, eventually falls for the mad lovemaking skills of Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, and really, who can blame her. He is the man we all aspire to be inside, right? Anyway, once she and Don 'The Dragon' Wilson start hanging out a little more, things get increasingly complicated for our lovebirds as Don 'The Dragon' Wilson is pulled deeper and deeper into the streetfighting world.

    Don 'The Dragon' Wilson tries to stay out of it all, but when his cousin, Terry Woo (Steven Vincent Leigh), gets fatally wounded in a kickboxing match gone wrong, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson has to fight the evil white guys and win back his honor, get revenge for his now dead cousin, and make things safe for Julie, who has a set of very perky breasts that she has no qualms about showing off in this movie.

    Plenty of action scenes give World Light Heavyweight 12 time champion kickboxer Don 'The Dragon' Wilson ample opportunity to strut his stuff alongside such luminaries as Vince Murdocco (Don 'The Dragon' Wilson's co-star from Night Hunter), Gary Daniels and Dale Jacoby (who got beaten up in Rocky V). Not only are there fight scenes in the ring, but there is also no shortage of street brawls that take place on the dangerous back alleys of Chinatown. One of the fights is done Thai style, using broken glass, so that although two men may enter, only one leaves. Another fight actually takes place on a beach inside a literal ring of fire, which isn’t as important to the story as it might seem but which certainly looks pretty bad ass.

    Anyway, no one in the movie can really act, but you probably knew that already and if you’ve read this far you probably don’t care. And you shouldn’t because it doesn't matter. This movie is not about acting. It's not about good camerawork or solid editing, which is good because we don’t get much of that either. It's not about a coherent script or interesting dialogue. It's about Don 'The Dragon' Wilson kicking people. And it features quite a bit of that. It’s also about gratuitous nudity. Ring Of Fire also features what is quite possibly the greatest love scene in Don 'The Dragon' Wilson's career (and he’s got more of them than most people probably realize). In this scene, the lovely Maria Ford strips down to her birthday suit and gives herself fully and completely to Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, moaning and groaning in the throes of the ecstasy which he provides her - it is surprisingly passionate! This is highlighted by weird syrupy stuff drizzling and is puzzlingly intercut with a fight scene. The first love scene in the movie, which doesn’t feature Maria Ford or Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson but which sees Lisa Saxton get kinky on a couch, is also intercut with a fight scene, and it makes you wonder if Mr. Munchkin was trying to say something about the correlation of sex and violence in western culture (he probably wasn’t). Really though, there’s a lot more nudity here than you would expect, it approaches Cinemax softcover levels of bumping and grinding at times.

    It’s also worth mentioning that much of the movies greatness comes from its sense of fashion. There are so many mullets and musclebound men clad in Zubaz pants that you will lose count after the first ten-minutes or so.

    Ring Of Fire – DVD Review:

    Ring Of Fire is presented in a 1.33.1 fullframe presentation, which is how the film looks like it was composed. Colors are nice and strong and but there are some problems with compression artifacts here and there, as well as some edge enhancement. It's far from a great transfer, but it's watchable.

    An English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is what we've got here, no subtitles are included of any kind and there are no alternate language options. There is little in the way of audible background noise or defects and everything is pretty clear, but at the same time there's also very little in the way of channel separation and everything sounds fairly bland. Like the video though, it gets the job done well enough. It's just nothing to write home to mom about (unless, of course, Mom wants to know about the audio on your new Don 'The Dragon' Wilson DVD).

    This DVD includes animated menus, which reveal the trailer for Ring of Fire and nineteen other features available on DVD from Madacy, all of which are probably out of print since Madacy went out of business a long time ago.

    Ring Of Fire – The Final Word:

    Ring Of Fire is a pretty good kickboxing movie. Don 'The Dragon' Wilson kicks the snot out of a lot of guys with bad clothes and bad hair, and Maria Ford takes off her clothes and is naked quite a bit, which some viewers might find to be a nice bonus. It makes for a pretty entertaining beer drinking movie that can be best enjoyed on the couch with a few friends and a few more drinks.