Sunday, January 11, 2009

80's Martial Arts

Hi Bloggers,

Hope this finds you in the pinnacle of whatever you do!

Today i would like to discuss with you all a movie.

It in the strictest terms can be categorised in the Action-Adventure genre of movie-viewing.

The movie in hand is "No Retreat No Surrender."The script was penned by the trio of See-Yuen Ng, Keith W. Strandberg and Corey Yuen. It was directed by Corey Yuen himself. While it was produced by See-Yuen Ng.

One last production detail is that its studio was New World Pictures. It was released on 2nd May, 1985.

There were are a lot of martial arts movie being made in Hollywood by the industry's collaboration with Hong-kong based filmakers or studios.

The legendary Bruce Lee had started it all!

The movie if told in a nutshell will appear somewhat like this:

Jason Stillwell(Kurt Mckiney) , a Bruce-Lee fan, is beaten a numerous times and trains from the spirit of the legendary martial artist.

Jason then, must use his new-found capabilities to fight a crime-syndicate, whose top martial artist is Ivan(given in the cast credits as Ivan the Russian!) played by the rugged Jean-Claude Vandamme.

This is just lesser than a nuttshell understanding of the story.The story is for you all to watch.

I will be delighted to give you a little detailed understanding or to put it this way, my non-rigid understanding of the story.

The story takes off when Jason Stillwell, a Bruce-Lee fan finds himself helpless to protect his father from the Russian syndicate which includes its fighter, Ivan from pressurising him via muscle-power to hand over his little Karate-centre in Los Angeles.

The family leaves the city to head for a quiet life in Seattle. Jason's father's leg is broken by Ivan and he has no option left for teachng martial-arts.

A strange grit and a determination of sorts inculcates in Jason's soul throughout this whole experience.

He makes varied friends in the vicinity as R.J.(J.W. Fails) He also earns some tormentors as the fat-bully who is jealous on his knack for martial arts( he is learning in the seattle centre!) as well as on R.J.

Jason unable to keep his lack of practise heads for the local centre which has produced state-level champions including the current one!

There he is pissed of by the fat-bully who takes his revenge on both Jason and R.J.He tells the coach there that jason beat him up on the heated arguement that, L.A. Karate is better than Seattle's!

This angers him and the unknowing Jason is told to fight the peak-level Light-weight champion of the centre.Obviously, our hero is beaten because of his amateur-level.The fat-bully's mission to emberass him is accomplished as Jason doesn't get admitted there.

R.J. sticks with him through thick and thin.

Jason is again humiliated, beaten and insulted in his Girlfriend Kelly's Birthday by the same group of tormentors. As he is no match against the trained players who are the fat-guy's friends he leaves with a heavy heart with some failed and erratic resitance to them!

He once visited Bruce-Lee's Grave with R.J. in town. He again heads for the venue.

He breaks down at his epitaph and tells Bruce that he is a loser!

Back home it is no better, as his father seeing his torn clothes and bruises assumes that his son has had been the bully!

It was natural as he was still shaken by his encounter with the cold-blooded syndicate and was afraid of his son's plight.

He tears the posters of Bruce-Lee in the storehouse outside their home where Jason trains and throws the wooden-dummy where he would practise locking, kicking and punching techniques tirelessly alog with other implements.

Saddened by all these, Jason heads for R.J's place. He asks him a place to store his things needed for practice.

R.J. helps him in getting a temporarily abandoned room of a friend large enough to serve the purpose.

Jason while in the room tired and hapless is visited by the ghost of his idol, Bruce-Lee himself!

Bruce-Lee much to the bewilderment of his fan says that as he called for him by a true heart, lo!he was there to train him.

Rigorous lessons follow. Starting from the rectification of Jason's conventional techniques to the incorporation of new-ones. Bruce-Lee's training sequences are memorable, for he uses his uncanny style often seen in his movies coupled with knowledge attributed to simple, commonplace and often neglected elements.With his unique style, he not only trains him physically but toughens him mentally by clearing his pre-concieved notions.

The witty one-liners of Bruce-Lee intact and Jason becomes an arsenal complete with the fatal-kick which Bruce-Lee expertised in. It was executed when the other leg is being blocked with the player landing a kick on the chin of the opponent by somewhat propelling himself with balance and precision.

The last scenes are a treat for action-lovers as Jason fights Ivan in the state tournament when every Seattle champion is knocked off by his lethal fighting-skills.

Jason with the same panache and technique-execution as Lee counters Ivan's moves.

Sidelined, Ivan goes for the kill and tries to keep Jason at bay by entangling him in the ropes of the ring and punching his jaw constantly.

To the delight of the positive and indomitable element in Jason, R.J. yells:

Jase, " No Retreat No Surrender ", charging our hero with much needed adrenailine!

Jason strikes with renewed passion and suceeds in knocking him off by landing the specialised kick of Lee on his chin!

He proves his point in a constructive and justified manner.

The hallmark of the production is the music-score by artist, Paul Gilreath. These were typical 80's energetic compositions which so many generations have grown up listening to!

The title-track stand on your own is nostalgic and truly inspiring with the added delight of Gilreath's instrumentals peculiar of 80's pop-rock genre.

Movies on martial arts against all odds are plenty like this productions contemporary, the Karate Kid.

They ran on moral themes with an underdog protagonist having the last laugh.Many youths grew on these movies and tried to emulate the lead characters!

80's was a fantastic phase for pop-culture including unorthodox martial arts, street fighting, comic-book culture, T.V. sitcoms, break-dance etc.

This film is different because the ordinary youth can identify with Jason's character. He has the simple aspirations to get better each day like the ambitious and enthusiastic boy-next door.

The Weak points of the movie can be the tone of its dialogues.They appear campy at places.

The sound-impact of the kicks and punches sound like hitting wooden surfaces.That is something to do with the production values.

The performance of Jason's father (Timothy D.Baker) appear unconvincing as regards his dialogue delivery and corresponding expressions.

The supernatural element of Bruce-Lee's ghost coming to the aid of jason was something new, unused in other martial-arts franchise of that period.

This production led to the making of two more franchises under the same title, but they were not sequels to this story.

Anyway, it was indeed a nostalgic movie for some generations.

I will recommend you all to watch it and relive the magic of the 80's!

Happy viewing!


Here 's the original trailer of the movie:


jasleen said...

hey, i used my frends name(avi maan) idk y, i love this one da most cuz well im in martial arts!!!! i love u, keep up da good work

Positivity said...
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