Undefeatable (Review)


aka Cui hua kuang mo

Cynthia Rothrock as Kristi Jones
Don Niam as Stingray
John Miller as Nick DiMarco
Donna Jason as Jennifer Simmons
Sunny David as Karen
Emille Davazac as Anna
Hang Yip Yim as Hank
Linn Thai as Eagle Lee
Shelton Lee as Diablo
Scott Shelton as Bear
Directed by Godfrey Ho (as Godfrey Hall)

You burden me with your questions
You’d have me tell no lies
You’re always asking what it’s all about
Now listen to my replies
You say to me I don’t talk enough
But when I do I’m a fool

Baby, you’re so Undefeatable! The horror of Godfrey Ho is once again unleashed upon an unsuspecting world! Mr. Ho proves that not only can you not keep a good director down, you can’t keep the bad ones down, either! Godfrey Ho’s messes of movies involve filming lots of nonsensical scenes, splicing them into half a dozen uncompleted or cheap Asian films, and dubbing them in a futile attempt to make the stories integrated. Godfrey Ho made the occasional larger budget film, where he only filmed one film at a time and was unable to use stock movies. Undefeatable is one of those movies, but even though it was made for a larger company, he still made two films with most of the same case, though the Honor and Glory wasn’t intended to be interspliced (as far as I know.) This was near the end of the career of Godfrey Ho, as he since moved on to teaching a whole generation of Hong Kong film students how to make terrible films. And people wonder why Hong Kong cinema is in a decline… Godfrey Ho’s previous films include such winners as Ninja Commandments, Zombie vs. Ninja, Ninja Terminator, Ninja Operation: Licensed to Terminate, Catman in Lethal Track, and Thunder Ninja Kids: The Hunt for the Devil Boxer. With such a wonderful pedigree, this film can be nothing but gold!

Starring in Undefeatable is the unbeatable Cynthia Rothrock, in the role that didn’t make her famous. In fact, she was pretty much already famous, so this is the role that made her less famous! Most of the other cast went on to obscurity, though a high percentage also have roles in Honor and Glory. It looks suspiciously like Mr. Ho was up to his old tricks again, but got taken down in the final release stage. The villain of the piece is Stingray, played by Don Niam, in one of his few roles. He hams this one up perfectly, with crazy rape-eyes bugged out all the time, and a genuine creepy tone that can set the most relaxed person on Earth into unnerved fits. He goes over the top and it’s fairly entertaining. Luckily for us, as much of the rest of the picture isn’t. There is a procession of fights as Rothrock earns money for her sister’s schooling and later is trying to avenge her death, some of which are okay, and a few have gimmicky opponents. The main problem is everything between the fights and Stingray’s craziness. It’s whale barf of the slimiest order. Heck, there are people who would gladly eat that whale vomit instead of watch parts of this film. And I don’t blame them.

The final fight has made the rounds on the internet, giving this film a sort of cult buzz it never had before. It does serve as one of Rothrock’s crazier films, which is different from her trend of being in bad, boring movies with few action sequences, which seemed to plague the last ten years of her career. Thankfully, the choreography is in good use, even if it’s not the high-quality stuff we are looking forward too. The whole film is a mess, but like all messes, there is some good things hidden beneath the piles of crap. Let’s get to digging, as these piles are Mt. Everest size. Maybe even Mt. Vesuvius, as it’s gonna blow!

We open as many action movies do, with a red-headed woman complaining about her her boyfriend, who has stopped doing his mechanic job in order to compete in the violent world of underground fighting for money. He’s a master of these death matches. This is Anna, and her husband is feared famed fighter Stingray, who will become important later.

Two goons walk into a convenience store. The store owner says “Why the long face?” HA! Just kidding. Actually, the owner doesn’t say much, as the two goons point guns to his face and demand the cash. A small Asian boy was attempting to buy a can of Coke, but one of the goons tells him “It’s on the house!” and tosses him. A White Guy picks up the Asian boy, and then picks a fight with the two goons using words, which confuse the two goons due to their single-digit IQs. The white guy is Nick, a cop, who karatacizes the two goons all around the store, when his beleaguered-looking partner arrives to help arrest them. His partner has the look of a character who gets killed near the last act, and it’s self-fulfilling. This being the first act, the partner is alive and kicking.

Introducing more characters is fun, so let’s do it again! This time, it’s the main character. Not the main character as in she’s Undefeatable, that’s actually Stingray, as he calls himself. Instead, it’s Kristi, aka Cynthia Rothrock, the semi-famous karate pixie who kicks like a kangaroo in a soccer match. Kristi is also fighting for money, but instead of death matches, she just fights until someone falls down. It’s much better that way, what with the no funerals and chances for rematches. Kristi’s gang is almost entirely Asian men, and she’s about to fight a male Black opponent from an all Black gang. Kristi’s gang is all decked out in black leather, while the Black Gang is all dressed up in bandanas. The whole fight is organized by a scuzzy-looking man in a cheap suit. The fight is filled with exciting slow-mo action, and many many kicks. Finally, Kristi’s opponent is knocked to the ground, and she wins $600. Sadly, the police arrive just then and soon Kristi will be cooling her heels, in jail!

Three of Kristi’s gangmember friends go to find Kristi’s sister, who is at the local college. Kristi’s sister Karen is convinced to help after some bad acting by the three gangmembers. Karen is reluctant, despite Kristi fighting in order to make money to pay for Karen’s schooling, thus showing Kristi is the better sister. While we are at the college, Karen says hello to Dr. Simmons, who was the psychologist who the red-headed woman was talking to in the beginning of the film. It all ties together, something most Godfrey Ho films never do. This Godfrey Ho film making sense situation is confusing and weird, so I’ll move on to the next item. Kristi is in the police station, being interrogated by the cops, specifically Nick. There must be zero crime in the city if some cheap illegal streetfighting is enough to consume two detectives’ time for a whole day. Maybe Detective Nick should be grilling the two goons who were robbing the store from earlier? Nick’s partner is upset when Nick lets her go, but Nick is convinced she’s a good kid.

We drop back with Stingray, aka Undefeatable, aka Paul. Undefeatable and his wife, Anna, are at home, where Undefeatable admires his permed mullet, and refers to himself as Undefeatable. He then demands some sexing. She’s not in the mood, which puts him in the mood of beating her around a bit. He’s undefeatable in wife beating as well! Undefeatable then rapes his wife, all while fantasizing about beating people up. He even finishes the job before the steaks that were cooking burn too much. Undefeatable then goes for a chat with his agent Lou the next day, where Undefeatable will set up a fight for $100,000. When Undefeatable returns home, Anna has left him, the house is empty, save for a letter. Thanks to some memories, we find out Undefeatable has Mommy issues. He’s Undefeatable in crazy. Undefeatable’s Mommy left him as a child for her ne boyfriend, which caused him to become a mechanic. It’s only lately that he’s been healed enough emotionally to beat the tar out of people for money and to rape his girlfriend. Undefeatable has gone crazy bonkers. Not the good kind of Bonkers, which is the candy that had the commercials where the older lady was repeatedly crushed by giant fruit (sadly, Bonkers candy is no longer made.) Instead, Undefeatable is the crazy type of Bonkers, the type that drives around looking for women who resemble his ex-girlfriend, so he can rape and kill them. Undefeatable has vowed to find Anna, and sprays maroon stripes in his mullet to prove his conviction. He drives around until he sees an unattractive woman who vaguely resembles Anna. She’s with an Asian guy who is less than thrilled when some multi-colored mulleted crazed person strolls up calling her Anna and demanding she leave with him. It turns out the Asian Guy is International Karate Champ Asian Guy, and tries to beat up Undefeatable. However, Undefeatable is undefeatable, so he cannot be beaten. Though that sentence is so simple it sounds stupid, it’s true and the Karate Champ loses an eye then gets kicked over the edge of the parking structure, landing on a van then the ground. He’s not getting up, and Undefeatable can grab Fake Anna #1.

While this happy fun is going on, Cop Nick goes to bug Kristi at her day job, a waitress at a local Greasy Spoon. His combination of flirting and annoying harassment is the type of irresistible crap girls would put up with if he was a billionaire model, but his average looks and lack of billion$ just come off as annoying. Kristi is then told by several members of her gang, the Red Dragons, that they have a new fight arranged. Hey, before the fight, let’s check in on Fake Anna #1. She’s chained up in the middle of a warehouse, while Undefeatable is calling her “Mommy” and whipping her with a chain. The Police have finally found her dead boyfriend, and instantly recognize him a the karate champion. You could show me 1000s of faces, and I wouldn’t recognize a karate champion by sight unless he had “Karate Champion” tattooed across his forehead. I guess this can be slightly excusable since Cop Nick is a martial artist, but his partner is not, and makes the ID. Perhaps the Karate Champion was some sort of local hero who spent many a day opening malls and getting parades thrown for him. They’ll have to fly the flags at half mast and give him a final funeral procession send off since he’s dead a doorknob. The cops then find Fake Anna #1 dead in a shack not far away. Undefeatable either worked pretty fast, or no one noticed a dead local celebrity lying in the middle of a parking garage. I’m voting for the latter, since it makes the town looks as incompetent as most of the other characters in the film. They are all undefeatable…in dumb.

Okay, we can finally get to the fight. Kristi will be fighting a guy named Bear, who is a redneck. A white redneck football player, looking straight out of Texas. He’s even wearing football shoulder pads. That’s sort of unfair, since he’s armored. Kristi taunts him by saying “Poor little baby Bear, had to steal his momma’s Tupperware!” which sends Bear into an enraged tizzy, while sending me to the Confused Zone. The educated guess is she is talking smack about his shoulder pads, but maybe he has some sort of freaky Tupperware fetish the movie forgets to tell us about. Or he was arrested for stealing Tupperware. Or he sells Tupperware on the side. That would be the greatest villain story of them all. Bear prepares to fight be getting into his football stance, prepared to “HIKE!” The fight is filmed in slow-mo, and Kristi gets off about seven hits to every one of Bear’s that connects. Bear keeps kicking empty air. Some of Bear’s supporters cheer, one of which looks like a 20-year-old David Hasselhoff wearing a Letterman’s jacket. Kristi finally ends the fight by kicking Bear’s hand to the ground, winning the match. Bear’s unattractive girlfriend looks vaguely enough like Anna that she will become the next target. So is it some sort of sickness that ultimate fighters date dumpy-looking white women with big red-brown hair? This is the third one! Undefeatable sees them leaving in disgrace, and follows them to their happy home…a TRAILER! I saw that one coming a mile away. Bear demands beer while sitting on his lawn furniture, when Undefeatable arrives and beats him dead. He then takes Fake Anna #2 away for rape and murder.

Cop Nick is in the dojo, dojoing around showing off his moves on the bo staff. Chief is demanding answers on the serial killer case, probably because Nick is still harassing Kristi or something. Besides being able to fight, Nick doesn’t seem to do much competent police work, besides being at the wrong place at the right time. Undefeatable is having a field day, this time getting distracted by a brown-haired lady who is trying to seduce him. He drops her like a hot potato when he notices Fake Anna #3. It’s a testament to the fact that all these women are practically identical that I didn’t realize it was Kristi’s sister Karen until well after she was dead. But first, Undefeatable must beat up the Asian Guy walking with Kristi, who for once isn’t an ultimate fighter, just some Asian Guy. Now he’s some dead Asian Guy. Karen isn’t completely useless, trying to fight Undefeatable as well, but gets her knee hurt. She decides that screaming for help is too much work, so just triest to crawl away as Undefeatable menaces her. Considering he’s attacking them in broad daylight in the middle of a busy shopping area, no one is screaming after witnessing murder, nor were Karen or the Asian Guy screaming for help. This is pretty Unbelievable. You could say the disbelief is Undefeatable.

Kristi is practicing her hook sword when Cop Nick shows up to inform her of her sister’s death. Kristi has to go identify the body, which I though would have been tough, what with all the identical women getting killed recently. They pull her out, and she’s got her eyes gouged out in a makeup effect that’s freaky-deaky. Kristi is noticeably upset.

Meanwhile, some random guy in red is practicing his movies in a warehouse to an audience that cheers when he crushes apples in his hands. His name is Lee, and he has claws on the gloves he wears. Lee leads some rival gang to Kristi’s Red Dragons, and Kristi then storms in demanding blood, convinced it was Lee who killed her sister. Lee is like “What?” but admits to attacking girls nearby (something his female gangmates seem to have zero problems with) and the two begin to have their battle royale. The fight on top of barrels, all while attacking back and forth, looking like some sort of weird ballet show. The fight moves around a lot, and eventually moves outside, just as Cop Nick drives up! What an amazing coincidence! Nick was worried about her, and dismissed Lee as small time (the repeated rapes in the park are “small time”??? Are there that many serial murderers in the city that serial rapists are treated like jaywalkers?) Lee uses the battle technique Eagle Claw (his gang is also called the Eagles, but don’t expect them to sing Hotel California) and the killer used a different technique.

Kristi remembers that Ryko from the Maniacs gang did a claw move on one of her friends. So Kristi sets up a fight with Ryko using the suited guys from before. She tries to use the opportunity to question Ryko, but he just wants to fight her, since he’s friends with Lee. I guess their gangs are allies or something, though they never say it. This time, instead of fighting on barrels, they fight using an office chair. There is more kicking anf flipping, but the fights are beginning to blur together. The whole gangs begin to brawl, Kristi’s Red Dragons and Ryko’s Whatever The Craps. Nick drives up AGAIN!!! Everyone ends up arrested. It turns out that she called him, I guess the scriptwriter must have figured out that him driving up 900 times in a row was too coincidental. Or at least they didn’t want Cop Nick to seem like a crazed stalker. Some small competence in an otherwise braindead movie is always welcome.

After Karen’s funeral, Nick tells Kristi he has a special martial arts expert brought in. The expert informs them that only three Americans can perform the move. They go to visit them, finding out the first is on a month long honeymoon (of course this turns out to be Undefeatable.) The second is in a wheelchair so he’s discounted, but I bet he could have done the crimes if he wanted to. It’s discriminatory to think the handicap are not capable of rape and murder. Cop Nick should have a disciplinary note put in his file. This prejudice shall not stand!

As for Guy Number Three, well, he’s working out in a gym when Cop Nick walks in, and sics five guys to attack Cop Nick while he tries to escape out the back. Kristi is waiting for him out back, and she beats him up a bit while Nick beats up the five guys inside the gym. None of the guys match the descriptions (they somehow have descriptions now?) so they all get let go (and none are charged with assaulting a police officer???) and the two call up Dr. Simmons, Psychologist. The psychologist from the beginning. You probably forgot about her, I sure did, but now she’s back in the movie. During all this, Undefeatable returns to his home after a month, picking up his mail. He sees a bill from Dr. Simmons (so his girl not only left him, but left him with her psychiatry bills? That…is some revenge!) He remembers that Anna told him her psychologist told her to leave him, and you can see he rage growing in his bug-eyed face.

The cops revisit Undefeatable’s house, but this time no one is home, so they invite themselves in. They don’t find anything amiss, but hear a message from Undefeatable’s agent, Lou Dempsky. Kristi’s heard of him so he’ll be the next visit. Lou can’t get a hold of Undefeatable, and goes to check on him wile practicing in a warehouse. Undefeatable is practicing his Katana moves while a girl is chained up, wearing strips of electrical tape and giving the film some gratuitous nudity. She looks nothing like Anna or the Fake Annas, so Undefeatable has moved on to just women in general now. The cops arrive at Lou’s office just in time to miss him, since he’s wandering around Undefeatable’s warehouse now. No one is there, and Lou notices a fish tank. A fish tank full of eyeballs. He says “What’s Stingray have eyeballs in a fish tank for?” Stupid question, everyone knows eyeballs are good for your fishes’ digestive system. Then Lou has to go and find the electrical tape girl dead in the garbage can. This signs his death warrant, as Undefeatable had left to try to murder-death-kill the not so lovely Dr. Simmons, who was out of the office. Returning allows him to give Lou his bugged-out hate-eyes. They radiate their rage, and Lou won’t be returning. His eyes do, as we get a shot of Undefeatable dropping them in the fish tank to joining their irised brethren. The cops manage to find Lou’s body very quickly, like the next scene quickly. This unexpected competence in the police force seems to be short-lived, as while all this is happening Undefeatable kidnaps Dr. Simmons, taking her back to his lair.

Dr. Simmons uses her psychologist skills to pretend to be Anna, helped by the fact she’s wearing Anna’s favorite perfume. So Dr. Simmons is not only convincing her patients to run off from their men without paying their bills, but is forcing her perfume choices upon her clients. That’s probably how she makes money after all the losses from the runaway women. She manages to get Undefeatable to go to the store, and then tries to get her cell phone out of her purse, but only when it starts to ring. When it stops ringing, she then gives up on trying to reach it! Then it rings again, and suddenly she has renewed interest. It’s Kristi on the line, and Dr. Simmons magically knows the address of the warehouse in the middle of a bunch of warehouses that she’s being held at. Kristi calls the cops but shows up first herself, and it’s just when Undefeatable has returned. Kristi pretends to be chained up Anna, then kicks. The fight is on, but Undefeatable is so undefeatable that Kristi may be in trouble. Dr. Simmons tries to help her, but Undefeatable finds her easy prey, and she’s soon beaten out of the fight. The fight between Kristi and Undefeatable moves to the tops of the tables in the warehouse. Kristi does her patented Rothrock Roundhouses, but Undefeatable is unphased, and can toss her around the building with little effort. One missed punch by Undefeatable causes him to crush a beer bottle instead. Kristi manages to grab a hooksword that was lying around, while Undefeatable grabs his katana. They both do some slow-mo sword stances, and even slice open a box of packing peanuts, causing them to snow down upon them like a winter storm. This scene was totally ripped of in the swordfight in Kill Bill with real snow. The even pause to pose for a bit, then cops with guns enter and begin shooting at Undefeatable, but he’s Unpenetrable, and pulls out his Undefeatable gun (why didn’t he use the gun earlier?) and shoots back at the cops, hitting Cop Nick’s partner. Said partner soon dies, while Nick has to watch his partner die and Undefeatable escapes.

At the hospital, Dr. Simmons is put on 24 hours guard “24 hours? What about my lunch?” rumbles the guard, who will probably be dead in a few seconds. The Nick and Kristi are at the hospital visiting, but are heading out when Dr. Undefeatable walks past. Nick forgot his sunglasses, so they return to the room as the guard of the room says “What’s up, Doc?” to Dr. Undefeatable. Thank goodness he won’t be saying anything else in this film. Undefeatable grabs Dr. Simmons, and there is a hostage situation in the basement of the hospital as Nick and Kristi face off against Undefeatable with Dr. Simmons hostage. Eventually, Dr. Simmons gets slashed across her back, and all the weapons are knocked away, forcing Nick and Undefeatable to fight, Kristi being hurt so she helps Dr. Simmons escape the room. Both Undefeatable and Nick lose their shirts in the battle, as the movie tries to ramp up the bad clichés. Undefeatable then gets a hold of his knife, and is ready to stab Nick, until Kristi saves him by grabbing a towel, wrapping it up, and whipping it around, causing it to wrap around Undefeatable’s arm, causing it to be pulled away and drop the knife. Undefeatable has been defeated…by violations of the laws of physics! He gets even more defeated, when he’s kicked into the wall, his eye being punctured by a spike extruding from the wall.

Before we can make any One-Eyed Willy jokes, poor Undefeatable gets defeated some more. By this I mean he’s kicked into a hook that snags his other eye. It gets worse, when the hook system activates, picking up Undefeatable into the air and carrying him away, all by the hook in his eye! “Keep an eye out for ya, Stingray!” says Kristi, as Nick joins in “Yeah! See Ya!” That Nick, what a character! This finale is heavy on puns but low on explanations as to why the hospital has some sort of ridiculous hook system in it’s basement, who’s sole purpose seems to be to stab fight participants in the eye. Obviously, the hospital is home to underground hook fighting tournaments. At least Undefeatable didn’t get set on fire after being hooked, like the end of Cobra.

We get a teary finale at the grave of Kristi’s sister, where Kristi quits the Red Dragons. She also manages to enroll three members of the Red Dragons in college, and Nick enrolled Kristi in college! It’s an enroll other people in college fest-o-rama! “ALL RIGHT!” The end.

Thank goodness. Less of a mess than most of Godfrey Ho’s films, mostly because he’s not intersplicing two or three films into one, most of which involved ninjas and Richard Harrison. It’s still a mess, though, so don’t worry about that. The fights are boring and uninspired. the acting is crazily overdone or completely awful, and the plot is ludicrous. The film isn’t Undefeatable, it’s unrememberable, though you will remember it more than most of Rothrock’s other films. That girl needs a better agent. Or ten better agents.

These times I’ve spent, I’ve realized
I’m going to shoot you
And leave you
hanging, on a hook
and watch the hook carry you away
The things, you say
You’re not so Undefeatable!

Rated 4/10 (Anna, Fake Anna #1, Fake Anna #2, Fake Anna #3)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!