'American Rickshaw: Limited Edition' [BR+CD]
(Mitchell Gaylord, Daniel Greene, Victoria Prouty, Donald Pleasance, et al / Blu-ray+CD / NR / (1989) 2020 / Cauldron Films)
Overview: The way that is the way is not the ordinary way!
After a stripper tricks him into filming a sex tape, Scott Edwards (Olympic Gold Medalist Mitch Gaylord), a Miami rickshaw runner, becomes embroiled in the murder of an evangelist’s son when he inadvertently takes the wrong video tape.
With the help of the stripper and an Asian witch, Edwards sets out to clear his name while avoiding the assassin dead set on retrieving the video tape.
Blu-ray Verdict: Directed by Italian genre legend Sergio Martino ('All the Colors of the Dark') and Written by Sauro Scavolini ('A Man Called Blade') with a story by Roberto Leoni ('Santa Sangre') this late '80s Miami-lensed Action/Horror hybrid has only ever been available on VHS in the US in a muddy full screen presentation.
Featuring all of the action, nudity and bizarre practical effects you can handle, Cauldron Films now brings us 'American Rickshaw' (aka 'American Tiger' / 'American Risciò'), in all of its sun drenched glory, with a brand new 2K scan sourced from the original camera negative as their inaugural release!
OK, well, yes, the plot to this is extremely simple and yet, my goodness, what a LOT of fun this late '80s film really is! After inadvertently befriending an ageless witch, a young student helps her save a legendary Boar Statue from the clutches of a ruthless televangelist!
Well, you've got me hooked, so let's dive in! Scott Edwards (the aforementioned Olympic Gold Medalist Mitch Gaylord) is your typical college kid who makes ends meet by being a rickshaw puller in Coconut Grove, Florida.
Wearing his trademark Tiger tank top, something he's very proud of (as he was apparently born in the Chinese year of the Tiger), one rainy night he picks up a new fare, that of an elderly Chinese mystic, Madame Luna (Kobi) - a woman who watches everything that goes on around her via the spirits found within her "pets" ... a cat and a cobra!
But then, all hell breaks loose for Scott as he quickly gets himself knee deep in a bad conspiracy and is even more quickly framed for murder!
Out of nowhere a hitman named Francis (Greene) is on him like jam on peanut butter, so Scott goes on the run with a prostitute named Joanna (Victoria Prouty), whilst they both try and clear his name.
Oh boy, and now cometh the hour, cometh the man as maleficent televangelist Reverend Mortom (the always great, Donald Pleasance) is on the prowl and wants his pound of flesh!
Of course, sure, there are much more supernatural forces that come to the fore, from various deviant entities that join the chase, so to speak, and yet all brought out into the open by the highly cherished, and highly sought after, "stone of evil".
I think, personally, that looking at the box art and knowing what the true storyline escapade turned out to be, seems like it was perhaps a little deceiving to any prospective renters back in the day, so to speak.
Anyway, in truth, any one familiar with Italian horror and Giallo's will know the name Sergio Martino, for the man is a legend within the genre. I mean, come on now, the man has brought us every genre imaginable, like post-apocalyptic, Spaghetti Westerns, sexploitation, Poliziotteschi, and oh-so many more.
In closing, 'American Rickshaw' is a great film for its day, and still holds up today, in my humble opinion. So rush out and buy this brand new Blu-ray with soundtrack CD release (one chock full of quite wondrous '80s-esque vibes and sounds from and of the day) and settle back, grab a beer, and press play for a wonderful evening's entertainment, my friends! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Limited to 1500 copies
On camera interviews with director Sergio Martino and production designer Massimo Antonello Geleng
Then and now location footage
The Projection Booth Podcast discuss AMERICAN RICKSHAW
Commentary with Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger
Booklet with writing by grindhouse comics writer and Tough to Kill co-author, David Zuzelo
Reversible cover featuring Italian artwork
Limited Edition high quality slipcase with new artwork by Mattias Frisk
Official Purchase Link