Directed by: Vincent Leung Written by: Jimmy Chu Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan Starring: Steve Brettingham, Nick Brandon, Frank Wheatley & Clive Sayers
It wasn't just Toms Tang's Filmark that went robo on us through Robo Vampire, The Vampire Is Alive etc but IFD decided to spice up their kickboxing action-range with some of the same. Add to that a fairly competent Filipino action movie that they re-edit and cut themselves into (movie in question is 1980's Puga, directed by Jun Gallardo. Thank you to Jeff Goodhartz, Jesús Manuel Pérez Molina and Andrew Leavold for the info) and a lot feels different, new and fun.
Jack (Nick Brandon) is a boxer also taking enhancement drugs as part of his journey to the top. Generating hallucinations of a robotic opponent, he is resistant to the idea and walks away from it... and into being a drug dealer instead. Caught after a botched deal, him and Axel are prisoners together with Willy (from the other movie). He is serving a life sentence after a rape and murder but Jack is planning his escape. Through violence and riots, the trio all escape the confines of the prison and into lawless life with unsettled scores...
A wonderfully silly looking (neither Filmark or IFD made their robo warriors very metallic or heavy looking) boxing intro scene sets the stage for good energy and fun but more importantly, it pays off for IFD as they are trying something new here. Rather than JUST a crime- and boxing-plot, there is the issue of drugs generating our robo of the piece too that, while infrequent, genuinely delights.
Puga doesn't look like like it has much of a bite with its village- and forest-bound setting but effective, gritty brawling especially in the prison scenes get the job done decently and IFD provides commendable effort when cutting themselves into these scenes filmed over a decade earlier. It's also strong on coherency when IN the prison but a little less so when the breakout happens and characters go their separate ways. Especially the convoluted motivations to box versus drug dealing, who needs payback, who doesn't in the Vincent Leung footage proves to be a problem.
Then again, energetic, over the top performers swearing up a storm entertains and leads up to the finale in the ring where Jack once again takes his enhancement drugs (no real, good morals are present here as these are bad men) and faces off in his mind versus Steve Brettingham. Decent choreography and editing mixing Steve and the performer in the robo suit, it's a fun, goofy little sequence that is one part of why Rings Untouchables stands out. Another reason being about IFD's effort as filmmakers and editors plus their roles as idea-men. This was new. And fun.