Everything you need to know before diving into Panther Day (1987) and Panther Strike (1987).
Straight hooks, rocket kicks and nunchakus. Fifteen minutes of rest, elbow twisting and ski masks. A fight in a brothel, a man dressed as a chicken and telepathy. You’re probably thinking I’m talking about a bunch of movies, but no, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m talking about one movie and one movie only: Panther attack.
Three years after the theatrical release of The Karate Kid, the ambitious Australian martial artist has taken the concept of martial arts to a whole new level in his film. He created the Panther series. Although little known to many and classified as a B-movie, Panther Strike is much more than that. This is just a level A, Australia B martial arts film. The franchise consists of two films: Panther Day and Panther Strike. I suppose you’re wondering:
Well, the fan communities of major franchises often articulate certain ways that movies should be seen. As for Star Wars, some say you should start with the original trilogy and then go back to the prequels. With Harry Potter, I always start with the last one and then work backwards. But these are subjective arrangements, and you can benefit from these franchises in different ways.
This just doesn’t apply to Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Panther series. There’s only one way to look at Jason Blade’s movies, and that’s the second, the first, and the first, the second. The first film, Panther Day, works best as a prequel that just comes before the original.
Start with the Panther Attack.
If you want to ignore what I just said and see it in the wrong order, read no further. First, because of the spoilers. 2 : I don’t want you to read this.
Live to die: I thank the martial arts gods for Hauser’s Wings.
On the stage, two gladiators were about to fight to the death. My friend, Jason Blade, was one of them. The other was Baxter, the criminal who killed my daughter.
Unlike many other films, the first fifteen minutes of this one are a word-for-word repeat of the first film. Why waste time on the first movie when you can see both movies in one while watching the second? When I first saw the movie with friends, we didn’t know it was a sequel either. So when the movie opened with non-stop action, we really thought we were in the best action movie of all time.
And we thought it was only fair.
In terms of action, the Panther Strike has several fixed components. In the beginning we have a fight scene in a brothel, and at the end we have an even bigger and more dangerous fight scene in the middle of an abandoned warehouse.
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After a 15-minute recap, the main story begins. Jason Blade is hired to rescue Julia, the daughter of a businessman, from a nearby brothel.
He sneaks in under the guise of a customer. That’s how he gets close to Julia. In the room with her, Jason Blade tells Julia that she can get rid of her heroin problem and that they can help her detox. Then he tells her to go with him. She is easily persuaded and accepted.
But the lady in the brothel, a gruff blonde, is listening, and she doesn’t like what she hears. Although it’s not explicitly stated, it seems that the lady can’t afford to lose Julia.
Guards! Scream, lady. Right after the first of the brothels, many Goons come through the front door and head for the stairs. It’s time to act. Jason Blade, who is not the wisest, leaves the room with Julia, convinced that they have escaped. But he’s wrong.
As he walks up the stairs, he is pressed against the wall by Gun Odin. He has unleashed an attack, and Goon is confident that he will emerge victorious. But this jerk doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.
Blade answers with a pair of vicious knees to the body to repel Goon. Once he’s pushed back, Blade follows him with a pair of hooks, one to the body and one to the face. Goon One stumbles towards the camera. But he doesn’t seem concerned. Maybe because he thinks he was saved by gun two coming up the stairs to Blade. Now it’s two for one.
Is there something wrong with Blade?
Don’t be an idiot. Jason Blade wastes no time and gives the second Goon a round kick that takes him back. Like some kind of unstoppable kicking machine in a circle, he turns around and kicks Goon One, who also retreats.
As Blade moves away, Gun Two tries to overpower him and strikes wildly with a hook. Whistle, boom, bang. Blade easily withstands two big punches.
Goon One stupidly stands up and tries a body shot, but Jason Blade can’t make it. Blade grabs Goon One and throws him towards the nearest door. Goon One crashes through the door. Inside we see a man in a chicken suit, a possible reference to the Rocky film series.
What is going on in this room?
It’s not good. Nothing that you and I didn’t want to know. When he sees Blade, the man in the chicken suit makes noises that sound more like a dog than a chicken. Then, like a devil with a silver tongue, Jason Blade draws the perfect line.
You’re sick! he says with a smile. He leaves the room and tells Julia to hide until the drama is over. How does he know it’s not over? Because he knows it can’t just be two bats. There never is.
Blade comes down the stairs where he is greeted by Gun Tree. The knife wastes no time. He kicks and stomps Goon Three, then picks him up and throws him over the ladder onto a well-placed table. Christopher Nolan may have used it as inspiration for one of the Bane scenes in The Dark Knight Rises. I’m not saying he did, but it’s entirely possible.
When Blade dumped Gon Three, he thought: To hell with it! and takes off his shirt, exposing his torn body to the audience. Weak! As Blade moves away, Goon Four catches him and throws him to the ground after a short round. The Blade is now opposed by Goon Five, who among other things have managed to find a baseball bat in the middle of Australia.
Goon Four holds Jason Blade down and prepares to hit him with a baseball bat. Goon Five hits Blade with the bat like a billiard cue, but Jason Blade outshines them both. He dodges and Goon Four hits a bat to the face and steps back.
Goon Five then hits Blade twice, but Blade combines with a combo to take the man out. The brothel owner, just looking at him, gives Blade a vicious punch, but gives up because his abs are made of steel. She holds him by his injured arm, and Blade easily pushes her away, but refuses to hit the woman.
One of the Goons on the floor goes down the stairs to find out more. Notice that they highlight this villain. As Blade takes out Goon Four and Goon Five, they show a brief glimpse of Goon Two standing on his back, ready to descend. They set it up as a good old fashioned boss fight. This is what we call subversive waiting.
Because instead, he runs to the ground and immediately receives a spinning elbow to the face and a barrage of punches that knock him unconscious. Why is he back? Why did he think it would be different this time? And why did they insist on it? There’s a lot of depth here, and I don’t know if I can break it down.
He’s covering again!
The third time, with any luck, he charges a stray blade and hits hard. He’s bored. Then Jason Blade hits him even more than the first two times. We’re moving on to Julia. She’s tired of waiting in the bedroom, so she goes to the closet and pulls out the WIP.
She comes out of the room and beats the first Goon she sees, Goon One, to a pulp. She cheats on him so badly that he hides in the room where she hides from them. Pretty cool. She goes down and joins Jason Blade to defeat a few other Goons, including Goon, who has already been defeated by Blade three times.
Then the Goon that broke Julia into pieces – Goon One – goes back down for another fight. Remember, Gunn is defeated by Blade and even more so by Julia, and then decides – after hiding in a room – that he can face them both together. Maybe he can.
Unfortunately, he can’t, and like any Goon, he was almost killed by Jason Blade. After the fight was over, Blade and Julia ran away from the mess. Remember that most of these steps were taken without dialogue. Just pure action. The show is silent. Visual storytelling is at its peak.
The barbarians: Cannon Movie A beautiful and cruel destruction of a masterpiece.
I’m not going to break the last camp. I recommend you watch the movie and enjoy the ride. I’d say it’s ski masks, nunchakus, assault rifles, telepathy, and 6-on-1 martial arts, all leading to a year-long boss battle between Jason Blade and his worst enemy. I gave you a taste, now go taste the main course.
How does Jason Blade stay in such good shape?
I wasn’t sure about that at the beginning of the movie, but thankfully they explained it. He’s practicing. We know this because there are several scenes of him training in his gym. But it doesn’t grow into the school or up like all the other martial arts movie clichés. He uses a chest gun. I love that they turned that trope around, and it definitely adds complexity to the character of Jason Blade.
How do they explain telepathy?
And they don’t.
Did he get the woman?
Would it be possible, if only for a moment, for you to stop asking stupid questions? Of course he has women.
Where can I consult it?
You can watch Panther Strike on Amazon Prime. If you’d rather not give your money to Amazon Prime, you can buy a Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon.com and give them your money instead.
Article by Sean Dalton | author Bio : Sean is an Irishman who loves films of all genres and styles. He first fell in love with movies after seeing Interstellar in 2014, but he didn’t really start enjoying them until he saw 12 Angry Men for the first time in 1957. Despite Woody Allen’s attempts to make him hate movies, his enjoyment of movies lives on. In 2018, Sean co-authored the book Clowning: Take me down the chain, before he co-wrote the 2019 series of guides Absolutely Useless. Now he’s here to give his opinion on all things cinematic. Follow him into the mailbox.
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