Ring of Steel (1994)

Nomination Year: 1996
SYNOPSIS:  A champion fencer accidentally kills an opponent during a match and is blacklisted. Desperate to find work doing what he loves, he eventually comes to the attention of the enigmatic Man in Black (Joe Don Baker), who runs an illicit swordfighting arena. When the protagonist refuses to play ball, they kidnap his girlfriend. He reluctantly agrees to fight. While training for the matches, he befriends a wisecracking swashbuckler and runs afoul of another swordsman -- a brutal maverick out for blood. All in all, the "steel-good" movie of the year.

Deus Ex Machina

Driving a Point Home
The club is on fire. The hero and his girlfriend are racing atop the building to escape, when suddenly they find themselves cornered by the psychotic Jack. Good guy and bad guy fight, but it looks like Jack might get the upper hand. Suddenly, he stiffens and drops, and we can see that he's been stabbed from behind. The mysterious Man In Black (Joe Don) wipes off his sword-cane, shakes his head, and says, "How many times do I have to tell you? No fighting outside the ring!"

Smithee Award Winner! Acting Appropriately Stupid

Make a Saving Throw vs. Stupidity
A bearded, bespectacled, overweight role-playing gamer calling himself "Trebor, a Chaotic Evil Barbarian from the Shire of Pasadena" shows up at a practice session of the illegal, underground fencing group. He sports a homemade viking costume and a duct-taped stick he calls "Stormbringer." Though the mysterious Mister X asks Trebor if he knows the difference between real-life swordfighting and fantasy role-playing, Trebor insists on sparring. When the group proceeds to humiliate and beat the crap out of him (and who wouldn't, really?), he loudly threatens to call the cops to tell them "what really goes on in this fucking place." (You should always tell the bad guys you know what they're up to and you intend to expose/destroy/stop them.) The swordfighters give him one final opponent -- the main, bloodthirsty baddie: Jack. You don't even have to roll your polyhedra dice to guess the outcome. The amusing thing is that Trebor's death is what eventually involves the police and brings down the organization.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Joe Don Baker Was in a few Bond films, but this portly actor has a Bad Movie career all his own 
Carol Alt Supermodel 
Robert Chapin  
Michael Blanks Brother of Tae-Bo master and bad actor, Billy 
Deron McBee was an American Gladiator under the name of "Malibu" 
James Lew  
Director Claim to Fame
David Frost  

Kevin Hogan

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