FILM REVIEWS

‘Bare Knuckles’ (1977)

Bare Knuckles (1977)

Bare Knuckles opens with a fistfight in an abandoned lot in beautiful 1970s Los Angeles. Zachary Kane (Robert Viharo) is a bounty hunter who finishes the brawl and brings the bad guy back to the police. Kane trains hard as an amateur boxer. We know this because there is an exercise montage set to funk music in the first five minutes of the film. Cut to Kane on the floor of his apartment playing a flute. No doubt, Kane is a complicated guy. Complicated enough to meet a girl in a Pizza Hut parking lot and score. They exchange soulful looks over slices and end up in bed together. She asks about his art. Then she asks his name. Well, it was the 70s. Another funk montage demonstrates that he is streetwise. Since he is seen talking and laughing with a variety of street people, we know he can acquire information. Kane knows people everywhere he goes.

After much danceable character development we become aware of a serial killer stalking women on the streets. The stalker commits a murder that is witnessed by what appears to be an entire apartment building. Of all the witnesses, one inexplicably becomes spooked and lams it. On the trail of the witness, Kane discovers that bringing this killer to justice may be more complicated that just catching him.

Director Don Edmonds is a legend in the arena of low budget action films. His director credits include Ilsa, She Wolf of the S.S. (1974) and Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976). Bare Knuckles follows nicely with shots of incidental objects being destroyed in brawls, a killer in a weird mask, and a decisively un-PC brawl in a gay bar. For fans of The Mack (1973), Truck Turner (1974), and Black Belt Jones (1974), Bare Knuckles is guaranteed fun. Perhaps not scoring in a Pizza Hut parking lot fun, but fun.

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