Movie Review: Fist Fighter (1988)

As none of you may know, there exists a crummy action movie from 1988 called Fist Fighter. It is called this despite the fact that it contains just a sprinkle of fighting. It’s a cage-fighting movie that not only forgets about the cage, but around the halfway point transforms into a Cool Hand Luke knockoff starring Mexican action star Jorge Rivero.  Rivero, who appeared with John Wayne in Rio Lobo (1970) and also was in Italian splatter-maestro Lucio Fulci’s 1983 sword-and-sandal art-film Conquest, comes across here as something of an anabolic Erik Estrada clone, perhaps not unlike the episode of Sealab 2021 when Marco was a bodybuilder.  He certainly lacks the Estrada humor, however.  The film has trouble deciding which of the two menacing, gigantic cagefighters in the film is the main villain, which detracts from both as neither is built up as an adequate threat to the protagonist.  One of them, the one without the glued-on body hair, is played by German actor/martial artist Matthias Hues, a man you might remember as the extraterrestrial villain from the underrated 1990 Dolph Lundgren vehicle I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel). But yes, fists were indeed fought eventually, and justice prevailed, I think. In the end, this film is most notable for a cameo by Superstar Billy Graham at the beginning, presumably shortly before his ill-fated comeback and subsequent career-ending hip replacement in 1987.  It even looks like some of it was filmed in the same deserts where he cut promos on Big John Studd while a tarantula crept over his bald noggin.  Maybe Superstar just happened to be there and got a part as a walk-on.  Would’ve loved to see him get more screen time, but he essentially plays his wrestling character and jobs to Rivero.  Hues and Rivero would return for a sequel in 1993, which IMDB has precious little info on, other than noting that it was directed by z-action hero and celebrity workout tape star Frank Zagarino.  If you ever see it, I suspect you won’t remember that you did, just as I… what was I talking about again?

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