Devil's Express tries to do it all, and does well enough at what it attempts that it's very watchable. Part blaxploitation, part monster movie, part street gang kung-fu film - all these elements are half-way present enough to carry the viewer for an entertaining ride through a short runtime.
The movie opens in 200 BC China where a group of monks are dumping a coffin into a hole in the ground for safe keeping. Turns out, that coffin contains a demon that will be discovered 2000 years later by two kung-fu practitioners from New York while on a trip to Hong Kong to polish their kung-fu skills.
|China...even though the decor looks suspiciously Japanese.|
One of these kung-fu students is played by Warhawk Tanzania.
|With a name, and an afro, like that, it's surprising he wasn't a bigger star.|
His sidekick, who is involved in the gang scene in 70s New York, finds a medallion in the aforementioned hole in the ground, releasing the demon to follow them back to New York. Of course, it has to kill a random Chinese businessman and inhabit his body to do so. Once back in New York, the demon decides it doesn't like the traffic noise and sunlight.
|Yes, his eyes are painted on his eyelids.|
So, the demon finds a dark place to hide in the subway and begins to kill a few people. These gruesome (but largely off-screen) deaths arouse the suspicion of the police, who think that it's a result of the ongoing, horribly choreographed, kung-fu gang war.
|That's a masterful crotch-takedown move.|
Ultimately, Devil's Express tries to cram a lot into an extremely thin plot. It offers an excuse for a murdering demon, some gang war action, and a twinge of blaxploitation (the scene where Warhawk Tanzania hangs with his girl could be lifted straight from a Rudy Ray Moore flick). The movie pulls off enough to keep things interesting, and where it fails, it at least fails entertainingly.
You can find Devil's Express streaming on Amazon Video, or you can purchase the Blu-Ray from Ronin Flix. And if you like drive-in style B-movies, you should seek it out.