When I first saw the title and cover of this movie, I thought it was about a retard with really great abs. Incredibly, I wasn't far from the mark on that one.
Savate is about a French soldier, named Joseph Charlegrand who travels the Old West on a mission of vengeance. Essentially this movie is nothing more than Bloodsport with Old West Dudes.
Charlegrand is looking for the man responsible for the death of his friend (presumably to kick his ass to death) and during his search winds up in the middle of a land war between poor farmers and a wealthy merchant, centered around a town that holds a Tough Man contest that will pay the winner $500. I bet you can't imagine what happens next.
Blessed with the previously mentioned amazing set of abs and his expertise in Savate, a French form of Martial Art (no seriously), Charlegrand (Olivier Gruner... no clue who he is... I checked his filmography, and didn't recognize a single picture... which means I'll be watching them all very soon) sets out to help his new found friends Cain (played by Ian Ziering, the blond haired douche from Beverly Hills 90210) and May Parker (Ashley Laurence from Hellraiser fame)... siblings who refuse to sell to Benedict (played by R. Lee Ermey - the Drill Sergeant from Full Metal Jacket, who for some unknown reason is uncredited in this film, which is strange since he is one of the major characters). Unfortunately for the Parkers, and the rest of the poor farmers, they have to pay a tax instituted by the government in order to retain their land... the total damage tipping the cash box at $1000. Sadly they only have $200 between them? What to do?
Cain Parker to the rescue! Cain plans to fight in the tournament and asks the farmers to wager on him to win, thus securing enough capital to pay the taxes they owe. Cain undergoes a rigorous afternoon of Savate training under the watchful eye of Charlegrand to prepare for his upcoming fight, but is cut down in a duel later that evening. OH NO!! Now what will the farmers do?
Luckily Charlegrand agrees to fight in his place... perhaps a notion he should have considered originally being that he is a 'fighter'? As luck would have it, the murderer of his friend arrives in town to compete in the same competition... the evil Ziegfield Von Trotta (played by the Beastmaster himself Marc Singer). Talk about convenience! Charlegrand can now fight in the tournament, defeat and kill his nemesis, avenge his friends death, quench his bloodlust, give into his homosexuality, and save the farmers from getting kicked off of their land.
No seriously that's pretty much what happened.
Savate is actually a pretty decent movie... if you are blind and deaf. Seriously, some of the fight scenes are decent. Clearly Gruner can kick some ass, and when throwing down with a well muscled and tightly clothed Marc Singer... well it's just magic. Savate also managed to collect a halfway decent cast... by that I mean that most of the actors are recognizable (except for the star of course). Donald Gibb of Revenge of the Nerds fame, and also a Bloodsport alumnus carries the burden of several lines of dialogue and the great James Brolin (Mr. Barbara Streissand) makes an appearance as an asshole colonel... fortunately his speaking role is kept to a minimum. There's this old dude too, who I've seen in just about every movie I've ever watched... he's the old guy who always plays old guys.
If you are looking for a shitty Western that combines martial arts (that's never been done before), then Savate may be the film for you. But really, why on earth would you be looking for a movie with such original criteria?
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,