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Granted that El Santo was pushing middle-age when he began his film work on this film, (sources generally state his birth year was 1917), by 1982 his film wrestling style was beginning to visibly suffer. While some of the moves he displayed in earlier films were downright amazing to the viewer who was inexperienced in the lucha libre form of wrestling (and a few to those of us who knew of this version of the sport), by 1980, age was beginning to take its toll. Not all that long after this film was completed, El Santo retired from the ring, realizing that his best days were behind him. He subsequently unmasked on television, and embarked on a brief career as an escape artist before passing away as the result of a heart attack, on 2/05/84. Considering the impact that Santo had had in his earlier films, fans could have hoped for a better end to his career than his last two features. FURY OF THE KARATE MASTERS and its companion piece, FIST OF DEATH, were filmed in 1981-1982, with footage shot in Florida, of all places. Both share characters, primarily a dual performance by the amazingly endowed Grace Renat. Renat plays a good sister and an evil one, competing for a powerful crystal which can give the owner unstoppable power. Added into the cast of FURY is Tinieblas (Darkness), a stuntman-turned-wrestler who had appeared in a number of previous genre films (esp. MUMMIES OF GUANAJUATO, generally playing monsters due to his strength, agility and superior height. In the ring, Tinieblas was startlingly quick on his feet, and became a popular entertainer and wrestler. Set in some eastern country, the film is much like a jungle adventure for a Santo feature. Martial artist Steve Chang and Tinieblas stir up much of the action, and Santo's visibly slow and uncertain in some of the fight sequences. Understandable, as he was 64 years old at the time, given the 1917 birth date. Still, even for die-hard Santo fans, his performance is still a very good one wearing his trademark cape and wrestling tights for his grand finale. There is also a monster in both films which is a throwback to the cheesy make-up of some of the earlier Santo features. A bit of ugly makeup and some fun fur applied haphazardly fall in a bit short inspiring terror. After years of sci-fi glitz props and better beasts, this would be the final adventure films for "El Santo". In the end analysis, Grace Renat's form is the key reason to watch these last entries in the Santo series. While it's good to again see Santo carrying on against evil, he's just making his final performances as best he can this late in the game. starring "Santo", Grace Renat, and "Tinieblas", Uncut Spanish Version with English Subtitles. 1982 Color 87 Minutes on DVD-R.

Santo & The Fury of The Karate Masters (1982)

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