Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Retreat, No Surrender

Genre - Martial Arts/Action
Year Released - 1986
Running Time - 85 minutes
Directed by Corey Yuen (who has directed a slew of Jet Li flicks, as well as So Close - with Qi Shu, The Transporter, and DOA: Dead or Alive. He was also the martial arts choreographer behind War and The Transporter 3)
Written by Corey Yuen, See-Yuen Ng, (who also wrote Drunken Master - with Jackie Chan) and Keith W. Strandberg (Keith also wrote the 4 sequels to this film)
Cast Includes: Kurt McKinney, Timothy Baker, J. W. Fails, Kathie Sileno, Kent Lipham, Peter Cunningham, and Tai Chung Kim (Game of Death) as the spirit of Bruce Lee, and of course Jean-Claude Van Damme (in one of his 1st movies)

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
When young Jason Stillwell, a Bruce Lee fan, moves to Seattle with his parents, they are harassed by the local bullies. Jason's father, Tom, doesn't believe in violence, so the family takes it on the chin.

After Jason is beaten, numerous times, the spirit of Bruce Lee appears, to train him. Jason then uses his newly acquired skills to save Seattle from a crime syndicate, whose top martial artist is the deadly Ivan.

I was 13 when this movie came out, and I remember it being one of my all-time favorite martial art movies! I had always been fascinated by the martial arts [I 1st started learning them when I was 7 years old] and Bruce Lee, but it was this movie that turned my fascination with Bruce Lee into an obsession!

Being that the movie has not yet been released on DVD, it had been many, many years since I had watched it. My brother called me up, shortly before Christmas, wondering if I knew where he could find a region 1 DVD copy, so I checked some sites and came across this one http://www.missedmovies.com/ that had a copy for $14.00. My brother ordered a copy, and it arrived while I was visiting the family for Christmas - needless to say, I went over to my brother's house one night to watch it again! :-)

The DVD my brother received is basically just a VHS copy burned onto a blank disc - it was funny as, at the very beginning, the movie had some tracking issues - ahhh, the good 'ole days of VHS! :-)

It's funny how when I was 13, directors, actors, etc really didn't matter. When the film started, and it said directed by Corey Yuen, my brother and I looked at each other and just went No Way!

I had a blast watching this again, and I just had to give it 5 Skulls, even though the movie is filled with horrendous acting and an awful 80's soundtrack. My brother and I were cracking up re-watching this film.

If you have never seen it, I definitely recommend it! [it is a martial arts classic - well worth the $14 bucks!]

Here's the Trailer:

One of the things that surprised me most in this film was when Jason visited Bruce Lee's grave. Bruce's tombstone was different back in 1986, when this movie was filmed - in the movie, the picture on Bruce's headstone was one of Bruce wearing his glasses. This is no longer the case, as I had the pleasure of visiting Bruce's grave, just last year. Below are some pictures:

This is the entrance to the cemetery where Bruce Lee is buried

This is a picture of Bruce & Brandon's tombstones

and I just had to include one of me, in-between :-)

I am definitely awaiting the day this movie is given the DVD treatment that it deserves [perhaps a 25th anniversary edition?!?]



Lisa Bee said...

Cool review and it's nice that you included the photos of Bruce and Brandon Lee's gravesite.

I must admit I'm not a huge Van Damme fan, but I do have a certain fondness for Double Impact, because it's got double the Van-Dammage. :-)

thebonebreaker said...

Thanks Lisa - yes, visiting the grave of 'The Master' was definitely a highlight in my life!

hahahahaha ~ double the Van Dammage - I like that!

I love Van Damme's earlier films - Bloodsport, Kickboxer, etc and I am actually looking forward to his latest endeavor JCVD - soon to be on DVD, I believe.

Keith said...

Great write-up on this movie. I always loved it myself. My buddies and I would watch it all the time back then. It's a shame it's not out on DVD though.

thebonebreaker said...

Thanks Keith! :-)

Yeah, it's definitely a fun "buddy flick"
Hopefully we will see it released on DVD - sooner than later. . .


Shelby Jones said...

This looks like a great movie - I can't pass up furious fists, hence my love for the Rocky series!

I think I am going to add this one to the SquidFlicks review list! =)

thebonebreaker said...

Definitely do that Shelby - I would love to read the review of someone who has just seen the movie for the very 1st time!


the jaded viewer said...

If only Van Damme played a bad guy again, that would rock.

Good ole vintage Van Damme.
I too went to Seattle and visited Jeet Kune Do founder Master Bruce Lee's grave.

Very humbling experience I gotta admit.

You brought good ole Van Damme memories.

the jaded viewer

thebonebreaker said...

A humbling experience indeed. . .

Right on Brother ~ and yes, it woudl be very cool to see Van Damme play a bad guy, once again! :-)


Rev. Fred Phantom said...

Hell-fucking-yeah! I loved this movie as a kid. It was one of those movies that was on HBO all the time back in the day and I'd catch it every time. I'd love to see it again. I agree, the film needs an offical DVD release.

JD said...

I went there in the Spring 1995 to see their graves.
Very moving experience.

I remember this film-- a staple of when we first got cable in our household.
Great review!!

thebonebreaker said...

Thank you Rev & JD!

Glad to hear there are so many fans out there :-)


Anonymous said...

Can you get a bigger smile standing at a father and son grave ???