by Anthony King
It was a year ago I decided to write about 52 movies released in 1982. When I started making my list of movies I wanted to cover, there was one movie that caught my attention immediately. I had never heard of it, but Vinegar Syndrome had put out a Blu-ray of it a few years ago, and during their halfway to Black Friday sale in 2021 I purchased Raw Force. This disc has been sitting on my shelf in the plastic for almost a year, waiting patiently for the day to arrive that I would finally unwrap it and push play. It was on my initial list of 10 (that turned into 110 that turned into 52) and I'm happy to announce I didn't hate it. After all this time – the waiting, excitement building, the anticipation reaching unattainable heights – I can say Raw Force is fine.
Early on I started having Jason Takes Manhattan fears, where most of the movie was going to take place on the boat with only the last few minutes happening on the island full of cannibalistic monks and zombie warriors. Luckily, my fears weren't realized. I don't need over-explaining in my exploitation movies, but I had no idea why all these people were on the boat in the first place or where they were going. I was eventually distracted enough by all the full frontal nudity and excellent fight choreography, though. The other question that kept nagging me was: Who are all these people on the boat? We have Mitchell as the captain, doing what we want Cameron Mitchell to do; Hope Holiday as our recreation director, Hazel, who apparently hired these martial artists as entertainment (?) and struggles to keep her boobs contained in numerous strapless numbers; the martial artists themselves played by Geoffrey Binney and John Dresden; and a few blondes I couldn't keep straight for the life of me except for Jillian Kesner, who turns out to also be a fighter. But the ship is also chock full of swingers, it seems. At one point Hazel apparently organizes a mixer in one of the cabins on the ship that looks more like a swingers party. Everyone is drinking excessively, assisted by the bartender who smashes giant blocks of ice with his head and then serves the smashed ice directly off shag carpeting; people are attempting to have sex everywhere; and no one seems to be sitting on chairs – their preferred seat is on the floor I guess.