Don “The Dragon” Wilson wraps up his RING OF FIRE trilogy with this action packed thriller where he takes on Russian terrorists and the Mafia who are after a nuclear weapon.
It starts out with an escape attempt of an elderly Mafioso at the hospital. However, despite many casualties, Dr. Johnny Wu (Wilson) successfully thwarts the escape. Even after taking on a biker gang with his martial arts skills in the waiting room, it is just another day in the office for Dr. Wu. He is given a chance to take a weekend off to spend with his son Bobby (Jonathan Hiroshi Wilson, Don’s son) when they are offered to take a colleague’s cabin in the woods.
Meanwhile, a new deadly force has emerged. Known as the New Global Mafia, this evil organization is led by Italian Mafioso Louie (Robert Costanzo) and top Russian mobster Vladimir Kruschev (Morgan Hunter). Louie has found a new nuclear weapon and has all the information loaded onto a computer disk. However, when two local thugs attempt to rob Louie and have both a bag of cash and the disk, Louie sends his goons after the thugs. When Johnny witnesses the melee, he attempts to help the injured but ends up fighting Louie’s men and somehow, Johnny has possession of the disk.
When Johnny and Bobby head towards the woods, they meet park ranger Kelly (Bobbie Phillips). When some thugs cause trouble at a local pub, Johnny and Kelly fight off the thugs and Johnny invites Kelly to dinner. Meanwhile, the New Global Mafia learns of Johnny’s location and they head to the mountains to find Johnny and retrieve the disk. When Johnny fights them off, word gets out and Kruschev decides to take no more chances and sends his top enforcer Sitjkoff (Chris Nelson Norris) to find Johnny and get the disk back, at all costs.
This third installment of PM’s RING OF FIRE trilogy is quite a fun action adventure for kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Where the first film was a Romeo and Juliet story and the second was a Warriors-like tale, this installment is a vacation that becomes a nightmare for Wilson’s martial arts fighting doctor, Johnny Wu. Interestingly enough, Wu’s love interest Julie is missing, but her absence is explained when new love interest Kelly asks about Julie after he puts son Bobby to sleep. Speaking of Bobby, playing Johnny’s son is Wilson’s real-life son, Jonathan Hiroshi Wilson, who seems somewhat nervous at times, but once he starts punching and kicking at a bag of groceries, you can see he is having fun working with dad.
Bobbie Phillips makes a suitable replacement for Maria Ford as new love interest Kelly. It is clear that the attraction is instant when she meets Johnny for the first time and she even likes Bobby from the start. What is even more amazing is that Phillips not only has the looks but she can whip some tail like the rest of them. In fact, she and Wilson engage in a team-up against some thugs in one fight scene. Phillips had been seen kicking tail as an android in TC 2000 (1992) opposite Billy Blanks and the made-for TV action trilogy CHAMELEON (1998-2000).
The only annoyance of the entire film is that of mob henchman Vinny, played by John Del Regno. He seemed a bit over the top when he would complain. Plus, when he would eventually draw the ire of the film’s main fighting villain, Sitjkoff, played by Chris Nelson Norris, when he constantly called him “Boris”. Speaking of Norris, he is the silent type of villain and once we finally hear from him, he is truly a man who means business and he makes quite a pretty good nemesis for Johnny.
Art Camacho, who came up with the story of the film with Wilson, served as fight choreographer and makes a cameo as mobster Carlo in the introduction of the New Global Mafia. The film opens up with a nice sparring session between Wilson and Shotokan karate expert Tim Baker from NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER (1985) and BLOODFIST II (1990). Wilson once again gets to showcase his kickboxing skills in the film and as mentioned, Bobbie Phillips gets in on some nice action herself. While Michael Jai White makes an appearance in the film, don’t expect any martial arts action from him. Instead, he has a more speaking role and engages in a shootout with tragic results. His appearance though does help set up the film’s core plot.
RING OF FIRE III: LION STRIKE is a fitting conclusion for the adventures of Dr. Johnny Wu. Some nice 90’s style kickboxing action, gunfire and explosions galore, and a menacing nemesis makes this final adventure worth at least a rental.
adventure • Art Camacho • Bobbie Phillips • Don "The Dragon" Wilson • Mafia • nuclear weapon • Ring of Fire III: Lion Strike (1994)