Directed by: Albert Yu Written by: Alton Cheung Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan Starring: Amior Nissan, Wayne Archer, Richard Edwards & Steve Brettingham
Sourcing the Filipino movie Grease Gun Brothers (Tony Y. Reyes, 1985 and thank you to Jesús Manuel Pérez Molina for this information) to be combined with their underground boxing plot (we are in the IFD era where kickboxers had replaced ninjas after all), occasional flair and a general goofy tone gets The Fighter The Winner acceptance.
Crocker (Wayne Archer) recruits boxers for the underground circuit and is in it for the win but the loss as well. Planning to have his new fighter (Amior Nissan) throw an upcoming game, the order is met with resistance. Meanwhile in the other movie, bloody and brutal gang warfare that occasionally connects to the IFD footage. But in reality, barely. Hence two movies at work here. One shorter, one longer.
Albert Yu's 15 minutes or so of new footage strays from the calculated style at IFD that even Godfrey Ho adhered to strongly eventually. The modern setting and its content gives way to fine demonstration for the credits-sequence but performers like Richard Edwards really matches the quick Hong Kong style well. Shame this character gets dropped because the physicality is promising. Stilted and overly profane dialogue leads to a goofy tone that aids Yu's stretch as well, showing knowhow that this is basic but light entertainment as springboard for action and the other, more gritty movie.
Grease Gun Brothers for all its low budget and village surroundings does come loaded with a skillset to make this awfully basic gang-war come to life. No it doesn't have character or reinvents anything but conflict, challenges and revenge is met with violence that is executed well technically. Even possessing powers in the fisticuffs, as the gunplay takes over the crew rigs up some very convincing squibs and certain situations would make a seasoned audience uncomfortable. Some choices are downright goofy (like making a man late on his debt eat a radio) but overall there's an above average genre piece we have glimpses of here.
Matters both in the new and old footage peters out some eventually and IFD's sparse connection to the Reyes footage is quite clumsily made. But combine distance to the material by the makers, Hong Kong style action involving Westerners, brutality and a brisk pace, The Fighter The Winner is a little standout in the highly uneven kickboxing output by IFD.