In the height of the 90s martial arts cinema was in high demand still, the medium blasted onto the scene in the '70s at the height of the Kung Fu boom.
Throughout the 80s it was all about making it more realistic with big stunts and the inclusion of professional fighters and martial artists who could deliver the action on screen to good effect.
Although most of the 70's action was coming out of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as the 80s progressed American films started to appear more often, in part to the success of the likes of Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis.
So the 80s were a mixed bag of Asian and Hollywood films, all shot on a budget.
This continued well into the 90s right up to the millennium.
Now being an avid watcher of these films I did try and see as many as I possibly could, which was no mean feat, often visiting the rental shop every day and even traveling into town to see any new releases available on home media in the centre of London.
So here we have a film from 1995 starring 5 Times World Kickboxing Champion Kathy Long.
Surprisingly it's one I never got to see and have just found on Amazon Prime.
Film-wise Kathy Long made a few films in the '90s and even did the stunts for Michele Pheiffer in Batman's Returns.
The Stranger is set in a dusty desert town whose residents survive by the money spent in town by a gang of bikers who venture out to rob, maim, deal drugs, and so forth.
The bikers basically do as they please and their leader Angel sees himself as some kind of saviour.
The Sheriff is a pitiful excuse who languishes in his own sorrow and drinks his troubles away.
But when one day a stranger comes to town, Kathy Long.
At first, we see the stranger at a gas station just outside of town where she gets accosted by two members of the biker gang. Dealing with them is the only way she knows how she rides off towards town on her lowrider motorcycle.
Reports come into the Sheriff's office about the incident and before the Sheriff can get out to see the result, the stranger rides into town where she sets about her business.
The stranger is there for a reason, one you have to figure out for yourself. But it becomes apparent early on that Angel's gang is key as she confronts another two bikers in town and asks where Angel is.
With Angel out doing his dastardly deeds, the town is pretty much void of most of the bikers and Angel is yet to find out that his compatriots have come unstuck.
The townsfolk fear this stranger may bring more harm to the town that relies on funds from the gang.
The Sheriff's girlfriend, the deputy, the Mayor, and some store owners would like to see the back of her, but this won't be an easy task.
The Stranger befriends a young girl who lives on the streets who just happens to be the sister of a dead girl buried in the town's Cemetary.
Who Is the Stranger? It's on you to figure out, early on I guessed. The film has a resemblance to another film starring a bigger name star at around that time or maybe earlier I think.
I won't tell you the film or the star as it will give it all away if you haven't seen the film.
The main antagonist, Angel played by actor Andrew Divoff brings an air of a bigger budget film to proceedings, though his role is good and he is well known, his lacking in being an action man or having any real unarmed combat experience deals the film a low blow.
Kathy Long has to be content with a showing of her skills by hitting stuntmen and the use of some quick cuts gives an impression of her opponents being better than they really are.
In fact, I think the former champion could most probably beat all of the cast members in a fight for real as her overpowering persona would be enough for me.
The film plays like a Western in truth, A stranger comes to town, the bandits are running rife and the stranger deals out justice with a hard fall for all.
It would have been better to have a more competent Martial artist face off against Kathy Long for the final as the film's pace more or less sets it up for a big showdown.
Also, lookout for a young Danny Trejo ( Machette) as one of Angels Gang.
I enjoyed the film for what it was, a hark back to the 90s action genre when special effects were the people doing the action. It could have been better but it still offers that hitch that keeps you watching.
Kathy Long did another couple of action films around this time, and we'll try and cover these on-site as soon as we can attain them.
Whether Kathy Long couldn't make it into the film market properly like the likes of Cynthia Rothrock, Don Wilson and such like I don't really know. Maybe she felt it was not for her or maybe it all happened a bit too late for her as by the late 90s, fewer and fewer of these types of films were being made due to studios wanting to play it safe and the canvas of how films, were made, would change.
The Stranger is a Modern Day Western where the protagonist is a sexy-looking badass who breaks bones.
Review Date April 2022
Review By: Sertes Nake.