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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

ONE MORE SHOT -- DVD Review by Porfle

It's hard to explain why I look forward to these Retro Afrika DVD restorations from Indiepix so much.  They're no-budget, totally amateurish productions that imitate Hollywood films on a home movie level, and are often hilariously bad.

But they're often so bad they're good, which is why movies such as ONE MORE SHOT (1984) are so perversely entertaining to me. Granted, those who demand that their viewing material actually be "good" or at least "competent" might well be expected to run the other way as fast as they can. But they'd be missing out on the fun.

Made specifically for black South African audiences who were denied entrance to mainstream theaters during Apartheid, these films are simple, earnest efforts to entertain using practically non-existent resources.

Just seeing how the filmmakers and their players struggle to overcome such drawbacks to produce something worth running through a projector for paying audiences is interesting in itself. And I find it fascinating to see what they were able to come up with.

This time, burly bad guy Tap Tap gets out of prison with one desire: to get revenge on famed kickboxer Johnny Tough, whose testimony sent him up the river. Tap Tap goes to sinister (but in an amusing way) nightclub owner and human trafficker Fly for help, so Fly has the daughter of Johnny's lawyer kidnapped to force him to divulge the location of Johnny's secluded ranch where he trains with his Asian martial arts buddy Chan.

Fly sends three strongmen out to Johnny's ranch, setting up the first in a series of action scenes that have to be seen to be disbelieved.  This is the kind of stuff that kids do in the front yard after watching a kung-fu movie, consisting of a lot flailing hands and feet punctuated by loud "thwack!" sound effects.  Johnny's biggest talent is doing backflips, which don't really help in a fight but look pretty good in slow-motion.

The big finale takes place at Fly's country estate where he's conducting a transaction with a visiting shiek who's in the market to purchase several young kidnapped women.  Johnny and Chan take on all the guards in various slap-fight vignettes, showcasing some of the worst fight choreography ever, until finally it's just between them and the main bad guys.

Technically, ONE MORE SHOT is a mess, even more so than the previous Retro Afrika films I've seen, with more meandering sequences to pad the 59-minute running time such as an opening duo doing incredibly limp breakdancing in Fly's club for eight minutes before the plot even starts. 

Johnny and Chan's training sequence offers another musical montage, as does a long helicopter ride with Fly and the Arab shiek out to the country estate, all accompanied by bad 80s-era techno (including a title song).

As usual, all of this ineptitude is both endearing and strangely compelling as all involved work to put a watchable movie together. When the plot finally gets a head of steam going, the fight scenes (interspersed with shots of Fly displaying his female wares to the shiek) come one right after another.

The cast do their best and are fun to watch. They're much more racially mixed this time--most films in the series have almost all-black casts with the occasional white actor, but this time it's a pretty even mix. 

The clumsy dialogue is all in English this time, another rarity, but with subtitles to help us with the heavy accents.  Two talented Retro Afrika faves, leading man Innocent "Popo" Gamede and comedy star Hector Methanda (ISIBOSHWA, UMBANGO, RICH GIRL) are sorely missed. 

As I've often emphasized, films such as ONE MORE SHOT can be a real hoot, but only if you're inclined to appreciate them for what they are--simple, charmingly amateurish attempts to create entertainment practically out of thin air.  If you're open to that, then this should be yet another chance to have some really offbeat film-watching fun.

Buy it at

Format: NTSC
Language: English (with subtitles)
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Indiepix Films
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2019
Run Time: 59 minutes
Bonus: Trailer


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