Review by Hugh Robertson (2014)
Starring: Jason Cavalier, Kevin Woodhouse, Melantha Blackthorne, Hyung Chul Kim
Written by Kevin Woodhouse
Directed by Jason Cavalier
Distributed by Chemical Burn Entertainment
IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: After years of searching, the crime lord of the city, Mr. Park, is about to get his wish: Soon he will have the ultimate talisman: The Sword of Destiny. Forged from the spear that pierced the skin of Jesus, the sword gives unspeakable power to whoever touches it. Park, however, underestimates the tenacity of the escaped convict Sonny and his unwilling cohort Ross Conroy. These two seemingly hapless pawns stand in the way of Mr. Park achieving his nefarious goal: to possess the sword and use its power to control everything in their path. Soon the heroic duo are challenged by all of Park’s forces, including his nephew Tommy, the killer trio known as the Three Blind Mice, legions of obedient sycophants and the beautiful but ruthlessly deadly combination of Dynamite and Butterfly. Sonny and Ross have one mission before their luck runs out: to get the sword to the Order for safekeeping. The the fate of The Sword – and all who come in contact with it – is in their hands.
“Order of One: Kung Fu Killing Spree” is a throwback to the Grindhouse films of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Like a cross between a Jim Kelly film and Sonny Chiba film, “Order of One” has freeze frames to end scenes, a funky music score, and plenty of martial arts action with graphical finishing moves (even an X-ray of a deadly blow to an opponent lifted straight out of “The Street Fighter”).
The movie begins in a restaurant with Ross, a reporter, interviewing a man who possesses the “Sword of Destiny”, the sword used by a Roman soldier to pierce the body of Christ on the Cross. This sword possesses supernatural powers and needs to be returned to “The Order” for safekeeping. Also in the restaurant is a convict, Sonny, being transported to a Maximum Security prison by two Police Officers.
Suddenly three female assassins in psychedelic outfits enter and begin shooting up the restaurant. They are after the “Sword of Destiny” to bring it to their boss, Mr. Park, who wants the power it possesses. Sonny breaks free, runs out of the restaurant, and steals Ross’s car. Ross grabs the sword from his now dead informant and jumps into his car as Sonny is driving it away. They agree to return the sword to the “Order” and the rest of the film chronicles their flight from Mr. Park’s assassins and the attempts to stop them.
Unfortunately “Order of One: Kung Fu Killing Spree” has a few flaws that mar what might be a fun action film. The DVD is presented in 4:3 letterbox instead of widescreen and is filmed in what the filmmakers call “Testo-Chrome”. Shot on a Canon XL-2 video camera, the editors have softened the image to give it a film look and added a slight strobing effect to the movie, which gets annoying quickly. Some scenes are badly lit and the audio is poorly recorded in spots. The acting is mediocre and the cinematography for many scenes is uninspired. While the funky music track fits well, it is repeated throughout the film. Also the script has a lot of stupid one-liners which are only occasionally funny and a “Deus ex Machina” that really makes no sense shows up near the end.
That being said, what you really want from a martial arts film is good action, and “Order of One” delivers in full. The action scenes are tightly shot, edited and imaginatively choreographed in contrast to the rest of the movie. There are even on-screen graphics for the character’s fighting strikes, which are slightly humorous at times. Two great fight scenes in a nightclub and another in an auto garage rival any other fight scenes on film outside of a Jackie Chan picture.
Kudos also have to be given to the actors who all double as Production personnel for the film. The Producer, Director, Videographer, Editors, and Production Manager are all actors in the movie. Shot in Canada on a low budget, you can tell that this was a labor of love for them.
The DVD also includes a couple of meaningless deleted scenes, a short blooper reel, and an extensive Behind the Scenes documentary on the making of the film which is very entertaining and informative.
If you are looking for an action film with a Grindhouse vibe, then “Order of One: Kung Fu Killing Spree” can certainly entertain you if you are willing to put up with a less than stellar execution during much of the film.
On the Smash or Trash scale I give this movie a 6 out of 10.
My thanks to Hugh Robertson for the guest review. If you are interested in checking out this film – it is online legally to watch for free on YOUTUBE. Also Douglas Tilley and Moe Porne of No Budget Nightmares did an EXCELLENT podcast review of this movie, and that can be found HERE.