Massacre (1987)

Rating: D-

Dir: Michael Chu
Star: Daniel Hung Tang, David Heavener, Hwa Hing Li, Hwee Ling Lee
a.k.a. The Border of Tong

Below Van Damme, Grunier, or anyone you’ve ever heard of on the action totem-pole is David Heavener. Since 1985, he’s starred in twenty flicks without ever coming to my attention – based on this, I see why. The opening scenes, depicting a Seattle robbery gone bad, come from an entirely different film, The Darkside of Chinatown; when that heads back to Hong Kong, this brings in Heavener. He’s a cop hunting one robber (Tang), who escaped to Calgary, rescued a girl from a local brothel, and made the mistake of setting up home in town, rather than, say, leaving. The extraordinarily contrived clue of an origami grasshopper leads Heavener to the fugitive.

Despite a big disclaimer about resemblance to real persons at the start, this is closer than many “true” stories to the facts. It’s based on an actual crime from 1983, which left 13 dead, and remains Seattle’s worst mass killing; one robber was indeed found in Calgary, though both whorehouse and origami angles appear made-up. It would have helped a lot had the actors been allowed to speak in their native tongues; instead, we get a mix of bad dubbing and worse English, even when Chinese characters talk to each other. Heavener is almost entirely charisma-free, and looks more like a member of Air Supply than anything else; this was his debut, so we should probably cut him some slack. However, with negligible action, it rarely blips above dull, and never reaches interesting.