Color, 1976, 81 mins. 31 secs.
Directed by Efren C. Piñon
Starring Fred Williamson, Tony Ferrer, Leila Hermosa, Leo Fong, Charlie Davao, Carlos Padilla Jr., D'Urville Martin, Dick Adair, Darnell Garcia
Scorpion Releasing (Blu-ray) (US RA HD) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

For Blind Ragereasons best Blind Ragediscovered by some cinematic scholar out there, the 1970s was full of odd exploitation films in which unusual human conditions were used as a gimmick for action and crime stories. Crippled Avengers, Mr. No Legs, and Little Cigars spring to mind, but certainly offering them stiff competition is Blind Rage, a globe-trotting Filipino heist yarn... in which the robbers all happen to be blind.

A covert government program called ESA has been set up to stop the "domino theory" of Asian countries falling apart in the wake of Vietnam, with the necessary finances of $15 million funneled under extreme secrecy to a bank in Manila. Banking insider Johnny (Davao) gets roped into a scheme to pull of a robbery using members of the criminal underworld -- Willie Black (Martin), Lin Wang (Fong), Ben Guevara (Ferrer), and Hector (Garcia) -- along with, for some reason, magician Anderson (Adair). The theory is that they'll be more attuned to touch and spatial threats, or something, so they all pull together an elaborate heist under the tutelage of Sally (Hermosa), who walks them through the plan. Much mayhem ensues including a cross-city chase, airport explosions, Blind Rageand lots of fired ammunition before Fred Williamson shows up for the finale as his Jesse Crowder character, which makes this a sequel of sorts to Death Journey and No Way Back as he gets a climactic showdown on Blind Ragetop of an IHOP.

A huge roster of homegrown Filipino talent was involved in the creation of this very strange puppy, which throws in lots of footage of locations like Las Vegas and Los Angeles to compensate for the very cheap overall aesthetic you'll know and love if you've seen more than a few films by, say, Cirio H. Santiago. The blindness angle gives the whole thing a very skewed feeling that makes the obligatory rehearsal scenes a goofiness that transcends the formulaic nature of the plot itself, and this ended up being one of the more high profile outings for producer/co-writer Fong, director Efren C. Piñon, and co-writer Jerry O. Tirazona, who used Ferrer in a lot of other vehicles like The Interceptors and Suicide Mission.

After being picked up by Cannon in the late '70s, this one got a surprisingly robust VHS release from MGM/UA back in the '80s as one of those oversized box editions and then pretty much vanished from sight until the 2020 Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing, available from Ronin Flix and Diabolik. As mentioned above, this is far from the prettiest film Blind Rageon the planet but this would appear to be the best presentation possible; colors are vibrant, almost hellishly so at times, and the Blind Ragesource element is in pretty good shape apart from the ratty opening titles that appear to be grafted off of an inferior theatrical print. The DTS-HD MA English track is 2.0, obviously from mono but with a slight bit of stereo effect added to give the illusion of some separation even if it isn't really there; English SDH subtitles are also included. A short new interview with Williamson (6m4s) mainly focuses on his fight scene and his requirements to appear in a film, followed by an interview with Fong (10m13s), wearing a Bruce Lee shirt, about his time at the height of the Filipino film industry (alongside vets like John Ashley) and his many hats including writer and producer. The disc closes out with the film's trailer (with Dutch subtitles) and bonus ones for Death Warrant, Lone Wolf McQuade, Record City, and 3:15.

Reviewed on March 23, 2020