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With the belated rise in popularity of Asian exploitation; towering grindhouse icon, Cirio H. Santiago has become somewhat of a bona fide underground cinematic hero; this is due in no small part to his series of low-budget, high-octane post Apocalyptic actioners; gonzoid entertainments that did exceptionally well during home video boom of the 80’s and are still . The doyen of post holocaust automotive Armageddon, Santiago perfected the machismo-soaked iconography of swarthy, leather-clad heroics where dusty, embattled muscle cars, festooned with gaudy Motley Crue accoutrements blazed a furious trail of carnage across a noxious, corrupted landscape, where brutality and automotive prowess were the only viable remaining currency. Santiago directed these dystopian vistas with their crimson-hued skyline, mottled by the choking dust of deathly radioactivity with great gusto; so it came as no great surprise to discover that his earlier title, and wildly entertaining revenger, ‘Fighting Mad’ (aka) ‘Death Force’ was by no means an impoverished backwoods cousin to his better known PA extravaganza’s. Brawny, James Inglehart is part of a roguish trio of opportunistic thugs and during a particularly frantic blag upon a yacht he is stabbed and left for dead in the midst of the briny sea. Being a purebred grindhouse classic, the film’s sole modus operandi is sanguineous revenge; and after washing up on a deserted island he is trained by two Japanese soldiers stranded there since the end of WW2; naturally we have to endure a little ham fisted cross cultural observations pre-chop sock, but swiftly, Santiago constructs some amusing training vignettes, while not on par with ’36 chambers of shaolin’ they prove to be an excellent aperitif before our vengeful black samurai (fortunately not the dire Al Adamson interpretation) replete with diamond-edged katana blade proceeds to exact a most furious and bloody revenge. Ostensibly ‘Fighting Mad’ is the timeless fable of a muscular, pissed of black man decapitating dumb fuck Mafiosi with a diamond edged katana what’s not to like?       


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