Breathing Fire (1991) Rated REdition of Film: Front Row Features Entertainment 2001reviewed by Demon_DaveCharacters
Michael Moore (not what you think he'd look like)- The leader of the bank robbery gang, also the father of Tony and Charlie.
Tony Moore - Birth son of Michael Moore
Charlie Moore - Adopted Vietnamese son of Michael Moore
"Uncle" David Moore - Alcoholic Vietnam Vet who is the brother of Michael and also a world class martial artist, and can grow and shave beards instantaneously.
Tank - Hired Muscle for the robbery gang, lives with his blind mother in the projects
Alan - Owns a beach bar run by midgets, also part of the robbery gang
Thunder (Bolo Yeung)- Character never named, but the toughest muscle of all in the gang.
Harry - A large gay man who lives with Michael, Tony, and Charlie for some reason.
Peter Stern - One of the bank managers who gave the robbery gang their information
Annie Stern - Peter's daughter
Mickey - Tony and Charlie's older friend who is the pure essence of the 80's.Plot
The Film Begins like any good late 80's early 90's movie should with that traditional 80's synth pad drum and synth soundtrack. The camera pans across a table where the main bad guy Michael is surrounded at a table by various "fake" rubber prop foods (this will be important later). Once the movie begins with the first speaking lines the two main characters (tony and charlie) speak. During this scene, if you're watching in full screen, you'll see above the roof and notice that Michael is driving the car...but the giant transport truck in the background and the warehouse they're filiming in aren't moving, pretty hilarious early goof which I only caught on my 3rd viewing. Michael drops the boys off at a Taekwondo tournament. They're fighting in the lightweight division, but the guys they have the tussle with in the locker room definately aren't lightweights (and are 3 times their age). The boys win their division easily, and we're treated during the tournament to some of the first bits of top notch acting in Breathing Fire. The acting throughout this film is really bad, with the exception of a couple actors who have been in some films that were bigger such as Jonathan Ke Quan in Temple of Doom and the Goonies for example, but in my opinion that just makes this film even more enjoyable.
The main plot revolves around a bank robbery orchestrated by Michael Moore. He is aided from the inside of the bank by his nam vet buddy who is now a bank manager. The bank robbery scene is epic beyond all description. Bolo Yeung is disguised in drag as an old lady, Michael is pretending to be a blind man with cheap aviators and a New Year's Eve Cracker moustache. The bank vault in this scene is probably where most of the budget was spent since it was quite an elaborate system of locks and vaults to get at the gold bars. The gang takes the gold bars from their heist and stashes them in an abandoned smeltery kiln that has it's own locking vault door. They then heat up the keys to this door and press them into a rubber pizza so it creates a mould, and then they destroy the original keys. Each member of the heist is given a slice of the "key pizza" to keep until it is safe to get the bars out and sell them. Peter (the bank manager) however refuses to get involved further and tries to give back his piece to Michael who gets angry and storms off. Peter goes home to his family all beaten up and writes a letter to David Moore (Michael's brother and also nam buddy) and encloses the piece of pizza with it. He comes downstairs and instructs his daughter to go drop this off at the mailbox for him, then they can celebrate his birthday.
Annie (Peter's daughter) heads outside to mail the letter and as soon as she's out of the house Michael and the rest of the gang burst in to kill Peter and his wife and get the pizza slice back. The scene is pretty vicious for a B movie as Bolo Yeung takes no mercy on Peter's wife, kicking her in the back as she runs away screaming, then tossing her by her pony tail over a couch and finally strangling her with an electrical cord. Annie flees when she sees her dad's body lying on the front porch as the gang rumages for the pizza. An envelope is found by Alan in a garbage can in the house with David Moore's address, so they immediately know where the pizza slice must have gone.
Tony and Charlie are back at home with Michael who apologizes for missing their Taekwondo tournament. He also scolds them for not listening to Harry - the large gay man who wears hawaiian shirts and tells the boys to do chores, but his role in the family/household is never explained in any more detail (maybe a babysitter for the older teenage boys?). Meanwhile, Annie finds David Moore in a car body shop and explains the situation and hands over the pizza slive. Alan and some random bad guys confront them at the exact same time and a fight ensues where other random people show up to fight David. They escape out of the garage and drive off in a van to Michael's house (oh the irony
) to seek help. At Michael's, Annie recognizes Michael but decides to keep her mouth shut for no reason (I guess so the movie isn't only 29 minutes long), and David and Michael discuss Vietnam and we learn the story of why Charlie is Asian and not White like Tony (I should also point out I think it was a bad call on the part of the scriptwriter to name an asian adopted Vietnamese child from the war "Charlie" since it was the Marines name for the Vietcong during the war).
Tony and Charlie try to impress Annie and there are many cheesy "look at me, hey over here!" scenes when all of a sudden the gang shows up and tries to abduct Annie again. The fight scene here is pretty entertaining with big dropkicks and Bolo using both his jacket and a waterhose as whips. David shows up just in time to save the boys, since, you know they aren't totally qualified Kung Fu masters yet - even though they just won the American national Taekwondo championships. Putting that fact aside, they now need to get back to their chores (What?) and paint a wall on one of the many houses on Michael's Ranch (he already seems pretty rich, so why rob the bank in the first place?). Tony and Charlie's friend shows up and begins dancing and painting for them, then they hit a club to dance, and the gang happens to be at the club also. Another fight ensues and Mickey break dance fights along with David who fights in strobe lighting on the dance floor against Michael in the bad moustache disguise. Michael breaks David's leg (though the doctor in the next scene says it's his knee!), and David becomes depressed. Tony and Charlie want David to train them and he agrees to but only if they really are dedicated. A Massive training montage ensues in which David's beard constantly grows and gets shaved in between almost every jump cut in the montage. When they're done the boys decide to start beating up the members of the gang since they're now certified Martial Arts masters, having been trained by an Alcoholic Vietnam Vet over the course of a few days.
Tank lives with his blind mother, and the neighbourhood kids turn on him as soon as Tony and Charlie show up. Tank agrees to help the boys get the gang back because he's had a change of heart, and so they go out for a soda to discuss the details as best friends. They agree they should try get the piece of pizza that Annie gave to David to Alan so the gang can complete it again and get the bars out while the boys set an ambush at the smeltery. They go to Alan's beachfront bar that's run by Midgets. The midgets proceed to make about a half dozen midget jokes about the fullsized Tony and Charlie, and then when they ask them to leave they then change their mind and say "you can't just come here, mess around, and then leave" and a midget vs full grown man brawl ensues. Alan then shows up and chases the boys out of the bar and up a hill where they fight and the boys use some of their new techniques that David taught them. They "drop" the slice of pizza down the cliff, and then there's a cut to the pizza being reassembled and the gang celebrating.
The gang goes to the smeltery the next day and they prepare to open the kiln vault where they stored the gold when helicopters begin hovering outside and the gang scatters. Alan accuses Tank of selling them out to the cops and so Michael kicks him in the groin then shoots him with a magnum so close the force throws him in slow motion back out the 3rd story window of the smeltery. The gang then scatters to fend for themselves, and Bolo and Alan go open the vault and find the gold missing. Tony, Charlie, Annie, and David arrive in David's van and split up to find the gang. Many small fights ensue around the smeltery with the final climactic battle coming between Michael, and his adopted son Charlie and his brother David. Somehow, Michael can use all the industrial machinery in the smeltery as a weapon such as the crane and forklift, but it's to no avail as even with a gimpy leg, David and Charlie subdue Michael who is then taken away by the army of police who have suddenly arrived on scene.
Without having much more of that scene wrapped up we return to a Taekwondo tournament in which Charlie must fight Tony in the finals, and Tony is angry with Charlie for getting his dad taken away and arrested for armed robbery, first degree murder, kidnapping, and other numerous felony charges. Tony beats Charlie and nearly kills him, but then at the end they suddenly become best friends and brothers again, and the film ends on a freeze fram with David and Charlie lifting up Tony and his trophy.
I can't begin to describe just how awesome this movie is, I have probably watched it about 10 times, and I bought it for about $2 from walmart about 5 years ago. So many amazing inconsistencies; very shoddy acting; plot loopholes; and brutal fight scenes add up to a very entertaining hour and a half. If you like B movies, this is worth your time, if you like kung fu, this is worth your time. Breathing Fire still remains in my top 5 B movies of all time list even with a collection crossing 600 now. See this movie if you can Things to Watch For/Lessons Learned
4:15 - The world's worst moustache and a pair of dollar store aviators pass for a great bank robbery disguise.
4:27 - long hair in taekwondo helmets makes people look like they need to be in the special olympics
5:01 - BOLO YEUNG IN DRAG
5:19 - Women can walk into a bank's security guard headquarters room without anyone questioning it
6:00 - Bolo Tosses Bank Teller with one hand, rest of the gang also knows kung fu and other assorted martial arts
6:05 - Bolo rams woman's head through plate glass divider
6:10 - Bolo fires a .44 magnum wildly into the air (bolo is simply awesome, all there is too it)
6:46 - Bolo smashes man's face into bathroom mirror over sink...next shot pieces of the mirror are stuck to the stall wall, and the stall wall is actually a stall door but can't be accessed because of where the sink is...awesome.
6:53 - Bolo's voice is terrifying when it isn't dubbed.
8:02 - The entire budget was probably spent on the impressive bank vault sequence opening
9:21 - Old abandoned smelting furnaces have gigantic keys to lock their doors with
11:00 - The finest acting ever by Peter, the inside bank manager
13:38 - Peter sends his teenage daughter out at night, in the rain, to drop off a letter
13:48 - ducks can wear party hats too
14:17 - Peter's family is dealt with
14:23 - Bolo picks up Peter's wife by the hair and throws her over the couch, then proceeds to strangle her with a lamp cord
14:31 - Peter's head is used to play the piano
14:45 - "Go Get the Damn Pizza" - Michael
15:00 - any envelope that's in someone's garbage with an address is clearly where ever what it is you are looking for has gone.
15:35 - The character Harry is introduced, his role in the household is never explained, he's just a fat gay dude in a hawaiian shirt who tries to tell the boys what they need to do for chores
16:06 - Fat gay men run funny
16:40 - "Charlie I'm gonna get your ass" - Harry
16:55 - despite owning a ranch, Michael and his sons can't afford a decent patio set
17:30 - "you boys have been hard on Harry, now this is the 5th time this month I've warned you" - Michael. How many warnings do these kids get?
18:01 - Painting a wall is way more fun with 80's rap music and dance called the "robocop"
19:53 - "Ah Pete....how is old Pete?" - David Moore. "He's Dead" - Annie
20:20 - David asks if Annie saw "them" even though she has only said her father is dead, but not at all how or when.
22:03 - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A LIGHT BULB!!!
22:21 - Some asian dude shows up out of nowhere to fight for the bad guys
23:19 - David Moore doesn't even own his own apartment, but owns a bad ass 80's Ford Van with racing stripes!
24:02 - Annie meets Michael in Michael's house but doesn't mention to David that Michael and his gang killed her father so the movie can continue for longer than it has already.
24:06 - "Would you like a drink Dave? Annie?" - Michael (offering alcoholic drinks to teenage girl)
24:20 - crews head in the shot on opposite couch across from Annie
27:29 - Charlie has a Mobile made of blown up condoms with faces drawn on them
28:20 - Tony and Charlie attempt to impress Annie enough to sleep with her
30:21 - Annie gets b***hslapped by one of Tank's buddies
30:28 - Tony and Charlie unleash a tag team drop kick
31:00 - Tank gets soaked by Charlie with a hose, and then heads towards Charlie ignoring Tony and getting dropped kicked out of the shot from the side.
31:10 - Bolo uses his jacket like a whip on Tony and sends him flying by his neck
31:43 - Tank gets kicked in the nuts by Annie
32:32 - David Moore can grow a massive beard on command while fighting
34:08 - "Listen, Annie's parents were killed for a piece of plastic pizza" - David
34:41 - David shaved his beard and now has a goatee in the 4 steps it took him to get off the porch
35:25 - OBLIGATORY 80's DANCE MUSIC SCENE!!!
36:41 - "Mickey, it's showtime" - Charlie. "Fellas, anytime is showtime" - Mickey
36:50 - Little Richard is this particular club's DJ
37:02 - Mickey has turned into Michael Jackson and MC Hammer combined and proceeds to dance to the theme song for the movie aptly titled "Breathing Fire", and his no place in the plot at all
37:33 - Teenagers can magically produce champagne bottles when their buddy is on the dance floor and proceed to spray them on everyone
38:03 - Mickey break dance fights before Zoolander even thought about it
38:25 - David only notices the bar clearing brawl after it's been happening for almost a minute and decides he should help
38:49 - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BEER BOTTLE!!!
39:11 - Michael has changed into a track suit and put on his moustache disguise to fight David so he won't recognize him
39:15 - STROBE LIGHT KUNG FU FIGHT!!!
40:00 - Michael breaks David's leg with a low back kick
40:09 - The boys are still in the bar somehow after being asked to leave for being underage
40:25 - Dr. Quack things it'll take "6 months to a year" to heal David's torn ligament on his knee...nowhere near where Michael kicked him.
42:13 - "Uncle David Let Us Help You" - Charlie. "I want you guys out of here....I'm SICK OF YOUR SH!T!!" - David
44:40 - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST PHONEBOOKS!!!
46:18 - "Hey is that a photo of you from the Vietnam War? What was it like?" - Charlie. (Emotionless monotone response from David) "the war was cruel...it was a tragic experience".
48:35 - David explains the reason the boys can't break short sticks with their strikes is because they fear the sticks.
48:58 - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A WATERMELON!!!
51:25 - The boys somehow know where Tank's pickup truck is, and successfully can hide themselves under a tarp in the back of this truck for an undisclosed amount of time.
51:35 - Tank fails at parking against the curb, is in the middle of the street when he turns off and gets out of the car.
52:04 - "What we got cooking mom?" - Tank. "Your favourite thing" - Tank's mom
52:52 - The neighbourhood kids decide to help Tony and Charlie beat up Tank
53:24 - Tank gets a double punch and then shouts "Let's go! Right Now! I Want You!! Right Now!!"
53:59 - GIGANTIC CHUCK NORRIS POSTER ON THE WALL!!!
56:30 - You can beat someone up, then take them out for a soda pop and be best buddies
57:27 - Midget bartenders at Allan's bar make jokes about themselves, too many to list, but priceless
57:45 - The big boss midget tells the boys to leave, then midget bartender 1 says "Not so fast guys...you don't just mess around here then leave"
58:02 - MULTIPLE MIDGET ATTACK!!!
58:18 - Midgets can blackflip and throw full grown men over bar tables
58:50 - OBLIGATORY DWARF TOSSING SCENE!!!
58:51 - When the midget boss flails his arms in terror he looks like a team america marionette
1:00:35 - When you use the bowling ball kung fu technique, it makes the sound of throwing a strike on the lanes
1:05:10 - Tank gets kicked in the groin again, then begs "please don't kill me man" and is immediately shot and flies back through the 3rd story window of the abandoned smeltery
1:09:15 - When you make Bolo mad, he grunts and makes his pecs dance for no reason.
1:10:05 - If you fire once at a group of cops, they'll fire back 100 times the shots you fired at them
1:13:14 - The bad guy will always have knowledge of heavy machinery, regardless of the application.
1:14:04 - "No boy, don't call me dad...now...get ready to meet your mother....IN HELL!" - Michael to Charlie while fighting him.
1:14:32 - Father boots son in the groin.
1:15:26 - Tony is still sneaking around despite an army of cops on the premises.
1:16:42 - Charlie apologizes to Annie for things turning out the way they did when Annie could have told them from the start Michael was the bank robbery gang leader.
1:17:00 - The taekwondo tournament they are in now no longer wears helmets
1:18:50 - The guy fighting Charlie is drooling and spasming backwards and forwards while growling.
1:20:21 - "1 point penalty for non participation...do you want to be disqualified? you're a disgrace to the martial arts. We can ban you from competition for two years, do you understand?" - Taekwondo judge in one fast sentence to Charlie while he fights Tony for the taekwondo finals.
1:22:02 - Slow motion flying kicks may or may not cause necklaces to be tossed from your body
1:22:20 - It's a different necklace now on the ground.
1:22:58 - David grew another beard between getting out of the bleachers to help Charlie and getting to Charlie.
1:23:31 - FREEZE FRAME ENDING!!!
1:24:03 - Cast credits for the "Little People", "Cops", and "Best Boy"?