I’m going to be honest from the start. This post has nothing to do with the Karate Kid. But you probably thought it did, and that’s the magic.
It’s time for No Skill November, folks. And since I don’t have a good movie to talk about, I had to lure an audience in with a fake headline.
Ok, so this week’s movie is called No Retreat No Surrender. I noticed that it had Van Damme in it, so I figured it had a shot at being good. Or at least Ok. I was wrong. In the begining, this movie was completely ripping off the Karate Kid. It starts with a Karate Sensei training a group of teenage kids. It doesn’t take long for a few sketchy looking dudes to enter this wanna be Karate Kid establishment, one of them being Van Damme. And Mr. Van Damme doesn’t disappoint. At least not in his first very brief appearance in the movie. The Karate Sensei gets into a squirmish with one of the sketchy dudes that’s not a badass and ends up beating his ass. But then Van Damme teaches his ass a lesson. These sketchy dudes turn out to be some sort of Karate Dojo mafia, with a goal to strongarm every Dojo in the country or something.
This movie is confused and doesn’t know what it wants to be. The Karate Sensei isn’t enough of an asshole. He should have been more like John Kreese. Also, Van Damme works better as a good guy, though I like how he totally dominated that pussy ass guy that calls himself a Sensei. Further proof that this film is just all out confused is that it’s called No Retreat No Surrender, and the first thing that happens is the guy it portrays as a Master Sensei in the begining is running away like a little bitch.
So this Karate Master takes his kid and moves from L.A. to Seattle. And we soon find out that Seattle Karate is no joke. A fat guy who loves eating is in this movie that ironically turns out to be a karate student—and this fat guy screws over the Karate Sensei’s kid. It’s a long story, but the Karate Sensei’s kid befriends a guy that’s not into Karate but knows where Bruce Lee is buried. And the previously mentioned fat guy hates the Karate Sensei’s kids’ new friend for no good reason. It’s ok if you’re confused; that’s EXACTLY the way I felt as I watched this thoroughly disappointing movie.
Ok, so the Karate Sensei’s kid turns out to be the main character in this movie, and his name is Jason. So, Jason’s new friend, R.J. (R.J. is the guy the fat karate student hates for no reason), takes him to a Karate school. And this is where we find out that the fat guy is, in fact, a Karate student. The fat guy immediately tells the instructor how Jason was totally running down Seattle Karate and how L.A. Karate is much better. So this new instructor sets Jason up to have a Kumite against his top student. And that’s not me throwing the word “Kumite” in for dramatic effect; the word Kumite is used in the film. NEWS FLASH!! Kumite is a potential fight to the death, not some lame display in a Karate Dojo somewhere in Seattle. Anyway, it turns out that L.A. Karate is, in fact, SHIT. Jason gets the crap kicked out of him.
So, somewhere in there, R.J. took Jason to visit Bruce Lee’s grave. By this point, Jason’s father had lost his nerve and became a loser bartender who didn’t even want his kid to fight if attacked by street toughs. Anyway, Jason prays at Bruce Lee’s grave for help. And guess what? Bruce Lee actually shows up to help! No fucking shit! Jason’s loser father had made him quit practicing Karate and thrown all his stuff out. But Jason, the sly dog that he is, gathered it up and began training in an abandoned house that R.J. had shown him. And this is where Bruce Lee shows up to prepare Jason. See, Jason had been embarrassed a few times by the students who trained at Seattle’s finest Karate Dojo. And Bruce Lee was here to help him overcome these assholes. Only, we find out that Bruce Lee is a complete fabric of Jason’s imagination. Because R.J. sees Jason practicing alone when Jason actually thinks he’s training with Bruce Lee. I told you this movie was confused. So, Jason finally completes his imaginary training with Bruce Lee and is ready for the showdown nobody knows is coming.
Just when you think this movie can’t get any worse, it does. It tries to tease you, however. It sets up to be one of the most incredible things we’ve ever seen on film, all-out Bedlam! The Karate Kid meets WWE in some sort of Bedlam style three on three tournament type match. That’s how this scene begins. But it’s ruined in short order by the organized underworld that is Karate Dojo strong-arming. These mafia characters showed up in Seattle, and this was their time to take over the territory. The guys show up and proclaim they have the one man that can beat everyone in the gym at the same time. And that man is Van Damme! And Jason just happens to be in the crowd.
The final scene is set. And after all the shit talking about how great Van Damme’s abilities were, they have him fight each guy one at a time. The referee is a guy with Zach Morris type hair. This movie should consider itself lucky that Van Damme raced himself with his presence for all of 10 whole minutes. Then, he proclaimed himself to be the best (because he is the BEST) and proceeded to beat the shit out of all these guys. Only one at a time instead of the incredible three on three bedlam type match they teased.
Van Damme was totally incredible in this movie. My favorite part is when he tied the rope around Seatle’s most badass Karate dude’s neck and kicked the guy with the Zach Morris hair over the top ropes. By this time, Jason had just about seen enough.
Wham Bam, thank you, ma’am! Jason comes flying into the wrestling ring with a leaping kick! After getting stunned and surely pissed off, the gangster enforcer Van Damme rips his shirt off. Now, when it’s time for the gloves and shirt to come off in any other Van Damme movie, you’d be in some serious shit. But not this kid that thinks the deceased Bruce Lee actually trained him. He can just beat this gangster enforcer’s ass after training himself in an abandoned house for a few weeks. And that’s it. The ending of this movie completely pissed me off. Van Damme should’ve won. Martial Arts Movies are always good when Van Damme wins. And when he’s in them for more than ten minutes.
So what’s the worst martial arts movie you’ve seen lately?
Thank you for reading! Have a great day!