Local Kickboxer Turned Actor Makes Fleshy Film Debut

Vince Murdocco is a renaissance man: kickboxer, thespian, and movie star. The East Vancouver resident is star of Flesh Gordon 2, which he describes as "a ridiculous comedy based on satirizing sex-related things, basically a slapstick comedy."

He plays Flesh Gordon - "a comic hero who's stud of the universe, who all the girls are after" - who finds himself the only hope against galactic impotence.

He says the sequel outstrips the 1974 original, a soft-core hit that reaped $70 million. "I watched ten minutes and turned it off," he says. Flesh 2 is a toned-down version with a bigger emphasis on comedy. It was filmed locally in two months with a year of post-production time to add the special effects.

"if you go to see a funny movie and you're not looking for Robert de Niro or acting, like it's meant to be serious, you'll come out laughing," he says. "It's the spoofiness that makes it."

Murdocco describes his big break in the movie business as "quite a different way to start." He went to Miami for a kickboxing match and drove his girlfriend to the audition. As he watched from the sidelines the casting directors kept looking over and eventually asked. "Can you act?" He said, "No, I fight," but they coaxed him into auditioning and he got the part. " As soon as the picture was over I started taking acting classes - I knew I was some kind of entertainer, but I didn't know it was this."

If not for acting he might have been a professional kickboxer. A victimized chubby kid in high school, Murdocco started training in Tae Kwon Do at 17 at Kel Lee's academy, and became light-heavyweight champion of Canada. "it helped acting In a way because of it's special skill.

"'He loves fighting and still spars from time to time, but his acting career may hold him back from returning to the ring.

"I'd like to go back but my agents and managers have more interest in me than before so I'd have to watch out for black eyes," he says.

Murdocco finds it interesting that the film had such a favorable European reception when it is only just being released here. It was in the top three for a while against big competition. "It held its own because Europe is a lot more laid back, and Canada and America are more, how can you say it, anal retentive."

So anal retentive, in fact, that filming almost had to be cancelled. The film has its share of bare breasts - no worse than what you'd see in a film like Porky's, he insists -and the rest is "very clean." The subject matter wouldn't have raised eyebrows in Los Angeles but it does up here. He sees this as the reason why "Canadians aren't doing that much - there's too much opposition. And the name has caused some problems.

"As soon as you hear the word 'flesh' it doesn't matter who you are, you think 'pornography.' It causes a lot of controversy, which is nice."

Vancouver audiences will have their chance to judge whether the controversy is merited when the film gets its Canadian premiere Friday at the Capitol 6, two years after its first release. Murdocco, who spends time in Los Angeles where a script is being custom-written for his next film, is glad to be back in town for the opening.

"I've got enough cousins to fill up the theatre."

Jason Findlay - The Westender, September 12, 1991