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How the Dragon Gets His Kicks

January 05, 1991|LAUREN LIPTON

Kickboxer Don (The Dragon) Wilson is a heck of a nice guy--despite his fearsome nickname and the fact that he could probably kill you with his bare hands (or feet).

"I don't like cussing on screen," says Wilson, star of the 1989 cult kickboxing movie "Bloodfist" and the upcoming "Bloodfist II" (opening Thursday at Los Angeles' Cameo Theater). "When I sign autographs, the average age is about 12. Kids don't need to see me up there cussing."

Wilson has probably signed more autographs for his kickboxing than for his acting--so far. Generally considered the greatest kickboxer of all time, he holds 10 world titles in three weight divisions of five kickboxing associations.

But Wilson--a light heavyweight in kickboxing--just might end up as a Hollywood heavyweight. Wilson's champion status ("My fighting Jean-Claude Van Damme would be like Mike Tyson fighting Sylvester Stallone," he explains) so impressed low-budget B-movie king Roger Corman that he recently signed Wilson to a three-year film contract.

Corman, whose past "finds" have included Charles Bronson, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, has also insured Wilson's face for $10 million with Lloyd's of London.

"I guess Roger is hoping I'll get hit by a truck," Wilson jokes.

Having just finished up his third film for Corman (the higher-budget "Future Kick," to be released later this year), Wilson admires the legendary producer's "desire to give offbeat actors a chance.

"When was the last time you went to a movie where the hero was Asian? Usually, I've had to play the bad guy. I thought his making me the hero was a really gutsy move."

Wilson, who defends one his world titles Saturday at the Anaheim Celebrity Theatre, is happy to be the good guy for a change.

"In 'Future Kick,' there's not one cuss word," he says. "The Dragon utters not a one."

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