Late one night, I decided to pop in this Blu-ray. I knew nothing about this movie except that ninjas were somehow involved. When the menu screen appeared, I was introduced to a very cheesy, but perfect '80s theme song. Oh, how thrilled I was to know that the same track would be used for the opening credits.
During the credits, we are shown a party on a boat where people are getting high and dancing around. It looks like a lot of fun, but soon a police officer by the name Shiro Tanaka (our main protagonist and star of this feature Sho Kosugi) and his partner Ray (Richard Wiley) show up to stop the party and arrest the gangsters.
Later on in the night, Ray is investigating some more random illegal activities while Shiro is on a date with his girlfriend. Ray comes across some guys hiding cocaine and instead of calling for backup, he calls his partner instead. I understand that they were not supposed to be following this any further. But what made this guy think he could handle these baddies by himself. Of course he is killed right away but not before Sho Nuff…oops sorry wrong guy. Let's try that last last sentence again.
Shiro shows up right when his partner lies dying but is able to retrieve some plot exposition on where to find them before he expires. Shiro tells his girlfriend that they are going on a vacation where she will be used as bait for the bad guys to get at him. Well, okay, he never does tell her that but it is what she ends up becoming anyway. The rest of the movie is him fighting off random bad guys in search of the head buy guy.
Rage of Honor was directed by Gordon Hessler, who is best known for also directing Sho Kosugi in Pray for Death as well as the classic feature Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park. This is a very paint-by-numbers action movie, but I very much enjoyed the characters and the fight sequences. It’s only when the movie reaches its third act that it slows down. It made me feel like I was watching the last level of a video game and it took forever for the boss to appear. Speaking of villains, the main boss wasn’t really that threatening. He felt like he would belong better as the head villain’s sidekick instead of his own thing. A Starscream to Megatron from The Transformers cartoon would make a better comparison.
The video has given a 1080p presentation and comes with the original PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack. For a movie that could have been easily forgotten, Arrow Video has put a lot of extra features on the disc such as an interview with Sho Kosugi and composer Stelvio Cipriani, an essay by Chris Poggiali about the popularity of ninja movies in the '80s, and original trailers of movies also starring Mr. Kosugi. The video is given a 1080p presentation with original PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack.