In my youth, I mined the depths of direct-to-video action, watching pretty much any movie I could find that had dudes kicking the shit out of other dudes. I saw No Retreat, No Surrender, Perfect Weapon, Dragon Fist and god knows how many Van Damme and Seagal joints. It was in that quest for action drek that I was introduced to the amazing majesty that is Bolo Yeung. The first time I saw Bloodsport and Bolo came on screen, I was awestruck. “That’s one big fucking Chinese dude” I said to myself, because no one else was probably around to talk to, back then. Yea, I guess it was kind of a lonely time. Anyway, after that, I got excited anytime I saw him in something. So it was with much regret that I discovered I missed one, completely; 1993’s TC 2000 starring Mr Yeung and the Tae-Bo master himself, Billy Blanks.
For the uninitiated, TC 2000 is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future where everyone dresses like rejects from The Warriors and the only set they could get a hold of is an abandoned nuclear facility. Billy Blanks plays Jason Storm, a “tracker” tasked with keeping the peace with his partner, Zoe, played by Bobbie Phillips, whom you may recognize as the really hot roach expert from an episode of X-files. Oh, maybe that was just me. One night, a mission goes south and, look, who really cares? Zoe gets killed and is reborn as Robocop, I mean TC 2000 X (hey, kids, it’s the name of the movie!) and Billy Blanks teams up with Bolo Yeung to kick the shit out of those Warriors rejects I mentioned a minute ago.
All that really matters in these movies is the action set pieces and for that, TC 2000 delivers pretty well. I am always amazed at how well Yeung moves for a man as big as he is. I was a little disappointed that the first two opponents he faces are slow, fat guys, but they more than make up for it by giving him Matthias “I Come In Peace” Hues to wail on during the movie’s big climax. The fights were decently choreographed and shot well enough to let you
enjoy all the sweet foot-to-face action porn. The only real low point was Bobbie Phillips, who looked every bit of the hot chick that was not cast for martial arts prowess (or, apparently, her acting ability, but I’ll get to that). She basically had three moves; cartwheel, straight front kick and nut shot. Every now and then, they’d let her have a spinning backfist, but they really shouldn’t have. Blanks and Yeung were both as magnetic as ever, though. I just wish they could have secured some better stunt players to spar against, as the two fights with Hues (yep, both stars face him at different points) were the only ones where it felt like they were getting as good as they gave.
I mentioned Bobbie Phillips’ acting, but make no mistake; no one in this movie is going to win any Oscars. That is typically what happens when you effectively fill your cast with stunt men, but it’s part of the charm of these films for me. I’ll take bad actors delivering
bad dialogue over good actors delivering bad action in my head punching buffets, any day of the week. The biggest crime in this film has to be all the voiceovers and monologues they gave to poor Billy Blanks. Thank god for Tae Bo, I guess. Kickin ass, he can do, and he even had at least one great one liner in this, but less is absolutely more for Capt Flat Top. Seriously, Billy, what was up with your hair, dude? Yeung probably played the “I’m Chinese and don’t speak English so well” card, because most of his scenes consisted of two lines at most, before moving on to judo chopping someone in the neck for staring at his obscenely large forehead. The good thing is that, much like the plot, no one is going to care how bad the acting is in a movie like this, because that isn’t why we watch them. Just like porn, the acting and dialogue is just something to fill time while you walk to the next set where you can once again commence to pounding on someone while grunting.
For all, and I do mean all, it’s flaws, TC 2000 is a super fun bit of action cheese that any fan of 80s VHS crap should seek out. Blanks shows off both why he is considered an awesome martial artist and why he isn’t considered a brilliant actor (the scene where Zoe dies is amazing). Yeung still looks like a steroid experiment gone wonderfully wrong. Matthias Hues, well, plays a bad guy, because that’s all a guy that looks like he does CAN do. If all you want is a movie about dudes kicking the shit out of other dudes, than look no further, my friend. Just watch out for those fog light/laser combo “force fields”. They will seriously fuck your shit up.