By: John M Jerva
Considered one of the best collaborations between 80’s action star Michael Dudikoff and director Sam Firstenberg is the 1986 “Most Dangerous Game” inspired action hit Avenging Force which reunited Dudikoff with his American Ninja co-star Steve James.
The film is getting the special edition Blu-Ray treatment in the UK courtesy of 88 Films and you can check out the cover art below!
Hunter (Michael Dudikoff, American Ninja) is an ex-secret service agent trying to protect his best friend from a super band of rightwing terrorists known as Pentangle.When the ruthless organization torches his ranch and kidnaps his little sister, Hunter is forced into Pentangle’s barbaric manhunt, played out in the remote swamplands of Louisiana. It’s the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse, as Hunter employs an awesome array of martial arts skills in his desperate fight for survival and revenge. Stylishly directed by action veteran Sam Firstenberg (Revenge of the Ninja) with a stellar cast that includes Steve James (Hero and the Terror), James Booth (Robbery) and John P. Ryan (Runaway Train).
This edition cones locked and loaded with some stellar special features that include an Introduction by Director Sam Firstenberg as well as audio commentary with both Firstenberg and Dudikoff. There is a special interview with Dudikoff also and the original, official trailer is also included.
Avenging Force has had an interesting history as Cannon Films intended it to be a sequel to Invasion USA with Chuck Norris. Norris decliner the project and Dudikoff and James stepped in. That’s why Dudikoff’s name in the film is Matt Hunter which was Norris’ also.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Firstenberg twice now and in our first chat, I asked him about the path the film took.
In the interview, Sam stated “As I have mentioned before, it is correct that the project was developed for Chuck Norris and he rejected it but I was not aware of it until a few years later. All I know is that one day during the sound mixing of American Ninja, Menahem Golan presented me the script, that was entitled then Night Hunter and asked me to read it and let him know if in my opinion it would be good for Michael Dudikoff and Steve James to star in. The script blew me away and I thought it will be perfect for them so upon my recommendation, Cannon Films decided to make this movie and I was asked to direct it. Until today I have no idea way Chuck Norris rejected this wonderful script by James Both and declined to star in it.”
For the complete interview with Sam, click the link below!
I was fortunate enough to see the movie on opening weekend when I was around 14 and I have loved it ever since. The film was the perfect vehicle for Dudikoff at the time who was coming off the success of American Ninja and it is classic 80’s action with great, practical stunts, music and fisticuffs galore.
Avenging Force will hit UK Blu-Ray on August 24th so check out the original trailer below and prepare for the awesomeness of Matt Hunter!