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Sunday, March 30, 2014

ORDER OF ONE -- DVD review by porfle

(NOTE: This review originally appeared at in 2006.  The movie has since been re-released under the title ORDER OF ONE: KUNG FU KILLING SPREE.)

Is it as much fun as THE MATRIX? Maybe. Is it as much fun as the MATRIX sequels? Hell, yeah.

ORDER OF ONE (2006) is the latest entry from Robomonkey Productions (in association with Braemar Entertainment), who two years ago gave us the outrageous SINNERS AND SAINTS. While ORDER OF ONE isn't nearly as outrageous, mind-bogging, or flabbergasting as SINNERS OR SAINTS (like, nobody goes to Hell or has decapitated heads giving them oral sex, or anything like that), it's still jam-packed with all the fights, car chases, shoot-outs, and other goodies that a low-budget enterprise such as this could possibly hope to offer the entertainment-starved viewer.

And, as always with movies such as this, it's way more interesting to see this kind of stuff done on a miniscule budget than to see a bunch of big-time Hollywood hacks knocking off some forgettable crap with unlimited funds and resources at their disposal.

The story begins in a roadside cafe' late at night, where ace newspaper reporter Ross Conroy (writer-director Kevin Woodhouse) comes across a guy with a story to tell, and the story involves his family's centuries-long search for The Sword, which was forged using a chunk of the one that pierced Christ's side on the cross. (This gives it extra-added specialness and all that, as you'd probably guess.)

He's got the sword, at long last, and is determined to return it to "The Order", who are the rightful owners of it for some reason that I never quite got but it doesn't really matter. But the uber-crime boss of the city, Mr. Park (Grand Master Hyung Chul Kim) wants the sword for himself, and he's sent a trio of lovely-but-deadly ladies known as "The Sirens" to get it.

But first, a couple of hungry cops show up with a convict named Sonny (Jason Cavalier) in tow. One look and we know he didn't really do whatever he's supposed to have done. They're transferring him to a maximum security prison for starting a riot (he had a good reason, but that didn't count), but The Sirens change all that by bursting into the cafe' with guns blazing and shooting up the place, including the cops and anyone else who is dumb enough to try and mess with them.

Sonny uses the melee' as a means to escape in Conroy's car, with Conroy (who now has The Sword after its caretaker has had his head ventilated) hanging out of the passenger window. One of The Sirens is killed, leaving Butterfly (production manager Danielle Dubois) and Dynamite (the voluptuous and multi-talented Melantha Blackthorne, who also served as editor, stuntwoman, and director of photography, and who is, by the way, totally awesome) to continue the chase.

Thus, ORDER OF ONE becomes a "buddy-slash-road picture", among other things, as Sonny and Roy head down the highway with The Sword, rushing headlong into a series of encounters with The Sirens, Mr. Park's murderous henchmen (including his #1 son Tommy, played by Harrison Chan), and whoever else Mr. Park has hired to assassinate them.

One confrontation concludes with Roy falling backward and shooting a guy right in his grenade, causing him to explode. A fight scene in a strip club called "Barker's Babes" is particularly exciting, especially due to the presence of some rather gorgeous semi-clad ladies (I've emailed my marriage proposal to "Lucille"--contact me at this address if you want to know how it turns out).

When The Sirens catch up to them, Sonny and Roy get dragged behind their car for awhile before Sonny gets loose and some really nice mayhem ensues. Sonny and Dynamite even have time for a brief love scene--Dynamite finds him interesting even though she's determined to kill him--which will later result in a really cool final scene between the two.

When our heroes finally reach Mr. Park's compound and go head-to-head with his goons, there's a guns-blazing martial arts free-for-all that will have action fans shouting "HOO-AHH!" Some of the good guys get killed, too, so get ready to shed some tears. (Okay, you won't, but it's still surprising.)

And just when you think it's over, there's more. In fact, the final ten minutes or so feature a feast of martial arts choreography that takes place in a single set, mostly with two guys going one-on-one, that matches anything I've seen in awhile. Jason Cavalier brings all his skills as an action director to bear during this sequence and it's a really intense piece of action entertainment.

All during the film we see certain fight moves labeled in graphic terms such as "PARALYSIS PALM!" and "SKULL DESTRUCTION FIST!" (a nice one).  During this final sequence I got to see my two favorites--"EYEBALL EXIT PUNCH!" and "HEART EXTRACTION FIST!" (These are particularly nice.)

Needless to say, there's a healthy dose of satirical comedy accompanying the action throughout the movie. It's all done in 70s style, right down to the paisely miniskirt and bellbottoms worn by The Sirens and the 70s TV cop show-type musical score by producer and castmember David Findlay.

When the movie's over, there's still a second disc chock full of bonus features such as deleted scenes, bloopers, and featurettes with behind-the-scenes stuff and a "how-to" on some of the more impressive stunts. It's fun to watch a group of people with such a zest for filmmaking using their talents and whatever resources are available on a low budget to put together a movie that is so entertaining.

What distinguishes this from most other low-budget fare is that every shot counts, every sequence propels the story and offers new thrills. This isn't "stick something in the can" or "sell 'em a load of clams" filmmaking, not by a long shot. Every one of the people behind this movie worked hard to give the viewer their money's worth. And when it was over, I felt as though I were stepping off a really fun carnival ride, and I didn't even feel like throwing up.

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