Plot: Jason Blade (Edward John Stazak) has battled countless criminals and evaded danger at every turn, but he remains dedicated to fighting crime and using his martial arts skills to protect the innocent. He remains close with his love interest Gemma (Paris Jefferson), an aerobics expert and dance machine, but she grows concerned, as he is unable to make a commitment to her. But he explains his life is filled with turmoil and danger, so to make such a commitment wouldn’t be fair, to Gemma or to the streets he is sworn to watch over. But when Gemma is kidnapped, Jason is forced to reexamine his entire stance on life and romance. After all, the two seem to have a bond more powerful than mere love, which is helping Jason not only find his beloved, but battle through waves of goons to rescue her. But can even Jason Blade take down an entire compound of traps, ambushes, and ninjas?
Entertainment Value: This sequel was shot back-to-back with Day of the Panther and it uses an old tried & true trick, filling a good portion of the movie’s opening scenes with footage from the first picture. After all, who doesn’t need an excessive and confusing recap to kick off a sequel, right? That silliness adds some laughs right off the bat and while this followup isn’t as wild or fun as the original, Strike of the Panther is still a solid slice of martial arts fueled Ozploitation. The narrative is pure 80s martial arts, with our good guy taking on a never ending parade of bad guys en route to the big bad, with some oddball twists thrown in. The story is smart enough to give the hero a mission then allow the action to take over, so the martial arts is the driving force behind Strike of the Panther, rather than plot or character development. But we do get some light, strange new character touches in regard to Jason and Gemma, so the movie does put some effort into that side of things. The fights are consistent and fun to watch, while the aerobics have been toned down from the original’s fetishistic fascination, but there’s still some humorous aerobics/dance sequences. Between the over the top performances, 80s b movie vibes, and martial arts action, there’s more than enough to lure in genre fans in this Ozploitation sequel.
No nakedness in this one. As in the original we have some scintillating 80s exercise outfits and some romance, but no actual nudity in Strike of the Panther. No blood here either, as the violence is limited to martial arts style madness or general action, rather than graphic bloodshed. The tone here isn’t dark at all, so the lack of intense violence or gore isn’t a concern whatsoever. The movie has a lot of martial arts battles however, so the action is frequent and wild, with over the top b movie style showdowns that pop up all the time. Jason Blade against an army of colorful ninjas is a cinematic spectacle that b movie fans should appreciate. The dialogue isn’t as awkward or outlandish as the original, but some fun lines sneak through here. I also think the sound effects are worth a mention, as the sound design is ridiculous at times and while not dialogue, it warrants a slight score bump, I think. The craziness is reined in a little this time as well, but some wackiness is still around to soak in. This includes more exercise mayhem, odd production choices, 80s vibes galore, low rent, but high entertainment martial arts, and some general silliness.
The Disc: Strike of the Panther is available on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment, as part of a double feature with the first film, Day of the Panther. A new 4k scan was created for this release and it shows, as the movie looks better than most fans likely ever thought possible. The print looks clean and shows mild softness at times, but much sharper than a DVD would be, without question. So more than solid detail and depth, bright colors, and accurate contrast here. I think fans will be more than pleased with this new treatment. The film’s trailer has also been included.