Director – Vito Trabucco (Bloody Bloody Bible Camp, Never Open the Door)
Starring – Al Leong (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Big Trouble in Little China), John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween), and Jeff Imada (They Live, Furious 7)
Release Date – 2018
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “One of the most notorious villains in cinema history”
Horror fans venture into other genres. I know a lot of picky horror fans that are very critical of the genre that are still open minded enough to watch other genres. These other genres have their own staples that are essential viewing. When you look at action films you always get movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and many more.
If you’ve watched action movies or television shows in the 80s and 90s you have seen the legendary Al Leong in something. His signature look made him the prime choice for being the bad guy in many of these films and shows. Most didn’t know him by name but you always recognized him. A few days back director and producer Sean Donohue reached out to me to review the documentary Henchman: The Al Leong Story. It sounded awesome so I agreed. This documentary was directed by Vito Trabucco who is responsible for the indie horror film Bloody Bloody Bible Camp. Thanks Sean for reaching out to me!
**Spoiler Alert**This documentary follows the life and career of stuntman and occasional actor Al Leong who turned his signature look into the iconic bad guy of the 80s and 90s. Through interviews we follow him from the very beginning of his film career, his health, creating lifelong friends, and life after the movies.**Spoiler Alert**
I’ll just go ahead and be honest with everyone reading this. I didn’t know who Al Leong was before I watched this. Sure, I’ve seen him in all these films but I never knew his name. This documentary does a great job humanizing a figure in movie history that was generally considered to be inhumane. Sure, looking back he does get points for shocking someone who would later spill out racist banter on more than one occasion but for the most part he was a bad guy. At least, that’s how the movies want you to believe.
The interviews in this one are very informative, and at times, very heartfelt. The people interviewed in this documentary care for Al Leong and you can see it in every scene. Everyone goes into great detail about working with Leong, how he helped the production and the scenes he was in, and how wonderful he was to work with.
The topics move along in a chronological order which really works well for this documentary. We go through Leong’s life and career and learn so much about him this way. Finally, the documentary is edited together very smoothly. A good portion of the indie documentaries that I get in for review are rather choppy and bounce between topics like a high school essay but Henchman flows very well and the editing works in it’s favor.
Overall, Henchman: The Al Leong Story is a fantastic watch for movie fans that lived through the 80s and 90s. You may not know his name but his face is unmistakable. The documentary is very extensive and very detailed. I highly recommend it.