THE ONE ARMED EXECUTIONER
’EXECUTIONER’ LACKS SENSE AS WELL AS ARM
Miami Herald, The (FL) - June 14, 1983
Author: TERRY KELLEHER Herald Arts Writer
Ordered by their boss to "make Ortega an example of what happens to overzealous Interpol agents," three thugs in stocking masks invade the home of Agent Ortega, tie him up and slay his bride before his eyes.
Now for the exemplification. Raising his sword menacingly, the creep in command orders a henchman to ready one of Ortega’s arms for chopping. The henchman holds out Ortega’s strong right arm. "Not that one," snarls the head creep. "The other one."
The One-Armed Executioner would be a short subject if it weren’t for this sporting gesture. Like the majority of the population, our man Ortega is a righty. After a long time out for boozing and self-pity, he takes an intensive martial arts course for the exclusively right-armed. Then he takes his revenge with fist, feet, bullets, grenades -- and the aid of a helicopter.
Made economically in the Philippines (the big cheese at Interpol has portraits of President and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos on his office wall), The One-Armed Executioner will be disappointing to fans of hard-core chop-socky. Too much time is wasted on routine gun battles and flashbacks to Ortega’s short, but idyllic marriage. Why have Ortega (Franco Guerrero) stumbling drunkenly through the streets of Manila when he could be kicking and jabbing pedestrians just for practice?
This movie also takes sportsmanship to extremes. The first time Ortega confronts the gorilla who killed his wife, he sticks him with a blade but neglects to finish him off. The second time he has the big guy at his mercy, Ortega throws him a gun to make it a fair fight. If we wanted Wyatt Earp, we wouldn’t look for him in a movie called The One-Armed Executioner.
The action scenes suffer from nagging flaws. One bullet knocks down two men. Minor villains take their slow-motion falls either before or well after a grenade hits. They fall too carefully, eyes searching for a soft landing spot.
At least it’s not hard to identify "the boss" of the evil
drug ring. Though his political philosophy is unspecified, his motor boat has a swastika on it.
The One-Armed Executioner (R) No stars
Franco Guerrero, Jody Kay, Pete Cooper, Nigel Hodge, Mike Cohen, James Gaines
Director: Bobby Suarez
Producers: Bobby Suarez, Rey Santos
Screenwriter: Ray Hamilton
Cinematographer: Jun Pereira
Music: Gene Kauer
A Super-Pix Productions Release
At the Marti, America, 27th Avenue Drive-In