Thursday, February 12, 2009

Caliber 357 (1984)

1984 - Caliber 357 (Solar Films)

[Philippines release date 26th January 1984, original title “Tatak Magnum”; released internationally by Mirick Films International as “Burning Power”, on Danish VHS as "Magnum 357" and in West Germany as “Danger Man – Der Unerbittliche Vollstrecker”]

Director Eddie Nicart Story/Screenplay Cora Caballes, Bonnie Paredes Executive Producer Jesse G. Chua Cinematography Bhal Dauz Titles "Ramje" Sound Engineer Rudy Baldovino Editor Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao Special Sound Effects Rodel Capule Musical Director Pablo Vergara Assistant Director Mando Pangiliman Continuity Oscar Reyes Production Manager Evelyn Baruelo Props & Special Effects Torrente Set Hands Boy Caceres, Jun Lapuz Make-Up Artist Baby Gonzalez Legman Edmund De Guzman Stills Roger Baruelo Fight Director Fred Esplana Assistant Fight Instructor Oscar Reyes Stunt Director Eddie Nicart Assistant Cameraman Boy Anao 2nd Cameraman Ver Dauz

Cast Nelson Anderson, Jean Saburit, Azenith Briones, Malou Bendigo, Romy Diaz, Renato Robles, Johnny Wilson, Beth Sandoval, Elena Marie, Dan Alvaro, Mario Marasigan, Robert Lee, Ulysses Tzan, Ernie Ortega, Robert Rivera, Allan Garcia, David Light, Sam Lombardo, Mike Schrichter, Karola Mayer, Angela Prestel, Damela Rubi, Lieli Hurstler, Cathy March, Jane Andrew, Rene Kiefer, Franz Kung, Peter Henzelmann, Walter Tschopp, Erich Muller, Steven Rogers, Kruse Michel, Vic Varrion, Belo Borja, Edgar Garcia, Robert Miller, Jimmy Santos, Danny Riel, Avel Morado, Lauro Flores, Joe Andrade, Joey Infante, Nonoy De Guzman, Rene Romero, Mel Arca, Bert Giron, Erning Reyes, Telly Babasa, Fred Esplana, Jay Grama, Tony Tacorda, Mario Tobin, Joe Curray, Ramon Jimenez, Frank Bautista, Jimmy Cruz, Tirso Mediavillo, Lito De Guzman, Nestor Brilliantes, Boy Sta. Maria, Mario Cabero, Boy Sarmiento, Doming Reyes, Oscar Reyes, Boy Carceres

Gunter Mueller’s review from his now-defunct Ninjas review site:

Covertext (taken from the German tape): Nelson Grant, secret agent of the FBI, is travelling to Manila with the order to track down the boss of a powerful drug syndicate and to smash his organisation. Simultaneously he wants to avenge his best friend’s death who was killed insidiously by the gangster boss. Totally on his own he fights his way through, and he goes mercilessly his own way, leaving a trail of blood behind him. – He is not able to depend on anyone, with the exception of his weapon, a magnum calibre 357, which he got from his dead friend. Will he be able to solve the task; will he be able to avenge the murder of his friend?

BURNING POWER is a straight 1980s B-trash-flick, without any surprises, that takes itself a wee bit too serious. Still, I enjoyed it quite much as the movie is packed to the brim with fights, shootouts and a few minutes of Ninja action where those Japanese fighters fall like flies. Whenever there’s an opportunity for Nelson Grant to fight… you can bet your ass that he seizes the opportunity and starts beating the shit out of his opponents! This is Filipino low budget action without sense and reason. The story is just a peg for countless fights that are pretty well choreographed and quite tough. Even Ninjas can’t stop him, the tagline screams, and this is spectacularly shown in the flick’s undisputed highlight when Nelson Grant wipes the floor with several members of this Japanese killer force in a great sequence that last ten to fifteen minutes. This really is great fun, but sadly the rest of the movie can’t keep up with this inspired Ninja bashing.

Anyway, BURNING POWER is a very sympathetic B-movie that has a certain charm that makes it stand out against other low budget action flicks. It’s not a good movie, but it’s entertaining and definitely good fun when you’re in the right mood. I like it and so I can’t help but recommending it… but most probably you will never have the chance to see it as it sadly is incredibly rare. BURNING POWER was directed by Eddie Nicart, and according to the Internet Movie Database it was his last movie as director to date. His most famous film is probably the wonderful spy-spoof FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY (1979), starring the unforgettable Weng Wang as a mini sort-of-James Bond. He also directed COMMANDER LAWIN (1981) and THE IMPOSSIBLE KID OF KUNG FU (aka NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE; 1982), a sequel to his undisputed masterpiece. While BURNING POWER sadly isn’t nearly as great and entertaining as FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY it still is enjoyable video-fodder for undemanding action movie fans.

[screen shots courtesy of Jack Jensen's blog]

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