Jennifer Randall in Bare Knuckles

In 1977, this movie tried to combine action, crime, blaxploitation, romance, and a hot, jazzy musical score into a vehicle for Robert Viharo to become the next Clint Eastwood. It was largely ignored at the box office, and that's why no one recalls this movie today. A shame, because it's not that bad a seventies period piece, if you can scan through some tedious dialogue and forgive the portrayal of many stereotypical black gangsters that try to thwart Kane. Also, don't read the preview on the video box, which pretty much gives away the whole story.

Viharo plays Zachary Kane, a bounty hunter "earning his living in a profession that should no longer exist" . But unlike Dirty Harry, Kane is a rennaissance man, playing the flute, and painting in his artist's loft while ruthlessly chasing down bail jumpers and the occasional maniacal killer, if the money is right.

Sherry plays Jennifer Randall, a beautiful socialite who falls for Kane at the wrong time in his career.

Having just been rescued from her "boring" boyfriend in the cadillac, Jennifer joins Zack in his artist's loft for a cocktail, and tries on one of his shirts. When she finally asks his name, check out this dialogue:
J - " I don't even know your name
Z - "it's Kane"
J - "Kane? as in, uh, Abel? , as in, uh, candy? , as in, uh, Citizen?"
Z - (pausing reflectively) "as in blind man's"
J - "you scare the hell out of me... what do you do?
Z - "the best I can"
J - "you could hurt me, you know...
Z - " I wouldn't do that"
J - "not the me on the outside, the me on the inside, the one nobody sees..."
Z - "I wouldn't do that"

This is why I love seventies movies....

After being introduced to Jennifer, we then meet Gloria Hendry in her only other major movie role. You might recognize her as James Bond's Interracial fling in "Live and Let Die". She is watching a murder on the street below her rain-spattered window here, and she recognizes the killer.

The nasty gangsters protecting Barbara have roughed Kane up quite a bit. He manages to brutally kill them all, and he finds out who the maniacal knife-murderer is from Barbara. She willingly talks after he impresses her by defeating all of her tough gangster pals.

Looking for some comfort for his wounds, Kane returns to his new girlfriend, Jennifer. Naturally he tries to talk her out of falling for him, and offers to "keep her out of all this" , but anybody who has read the box knows how this is going to turn out.

Jennifer looks so cute in that Joe Namath #12 Jersey. She almost talks herself out of faliing for Zack, but her mothering instinct kics in, and she lights him a cigarette.

Jennifer pulls some of her social strings to get Kane into a party at the home of the crazed knife-murderer. That's him sneaking up behind them as they greet his mother. How come that cool sportcoat-over-a-turtleneck look went out?

Psycho Richard seems so nice at first, Sherry gives him one of her warmest smiles of the whole movie.

Alone in the game room, Jennifer discovers Richard (Michael Heit) isn't really so nice! She gives him a rousing slap in the face after he grabs her, and he is so stunned he goes into this sniveling "mommy dearest" routine that reveals his deep-seated oedipal complex which has led to his secret hobby as a woman - slasher. He particularly goes for women with auburn hair like Mommy's. We hope he doesn't kill Sherry here, but then we already read the box!!

Oh good, she got away! Driving off from the party, Kane sends her home, and walks back to confront Richard alone. Jennifer tries to warn him about what a real sicko Richard is, and to let the police handle it, but noooo! Kane just has to get the $15,000 reward for this guy! He is ambushed by his kung fu manservant, and they stuff him in a trunk to drive him to the sea and dispose of him. Richard has finally had enough of his mother's nagging to quit killing pretty girls who remind him of Mommy, and he hangs her in the greenhouse. Then he sets off to pay Jennifer a visit. Kane kills the karate kid before he gets tossed into the ocean, and races home to protect her.

Well, finally Sherry adds another gruesome death scene to her resume. Hearing her door bust open, and sneaky footsteps in the hall, she calls out "who's there... Zack?" like Zack would bust into her house after they've become so close?

Here's a case for keeping a gun by your bed, ladies! Psycho Richard stabs her as promised on the box, but we are cinematically treated to his oedipal hallucination through his eyes, as he imagines he is killing his mother (again) instead of Jennifer.

Kane finally gets there, too late, and his fury comes to a boil when he finds Jennifer, and the nosey neighbor that wandered in to help her.

We then get to enjoy the one millionth movie chase scene through the Los Angeles neighborhoods, down Mulholland Drive to the L.A. River.

Hey!, there's John Travolta singing "greased lightning"! Is that the Terminator on that motorcycle? No, it's psycho Richard, with Kane in hot pursuit in his muscle car. The chase proceeds, with Richard knocking Kane down with the karate his butler taught him, then running away about five times instead of finishing him off. Apparently he has some problem with killing MEN!

Finally, Kane corners him on a railroad overpass, where he cowers in fear from THE TRAIN. Kane gets his revenge for Jennifer when he tosses the momma's boy off the bridge to die on the concrete L.A. riverbed. He walks off of the bridge, all mad 'cause now he has to find a new girlfriend, but we all know he's not going to give up this wonderful business. --roll credits

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