Forgotten Martial Arts Flicks
Remember all those Seagal, Van Damme, Chan martial arts movies? Well, this has nothing to do with those. This post is about three lesser-known films that if you do remember, you will agree that they were very cool…at least at the time.
First up, “Only the Strong”.
Starring Marc Dacascos (otherwise known as the Chairman of Iron Chef: America), this 93 flick follows the basic storyline of troubled high school kids who get their lives turned around by a new teacher. Not the most original story, but whatever works, right? So who is the inspirational teacher? A capoeira (a little known Brazilian dance fighting style) practitioner. Seems like smooth sailing, but wait! The local gang also knows capoeira! Wow, what are the chances? Wooden acting, recycled story, but the fights are something you don’t get to se very often. This one is worth a look back.
Next we have “The Perfect Weapon”.
Jeff was a high school delinquent whose father sent him to a traditional kenpo karate school for some self discipline. When the adult Jeff comes back to the old neighborhood, he finds the Korean mafia are pushing his old teacher around. Jeff doesn’t like this. Starring the superstar Jeff Speakman, thi- What? You’ve never heard of him? Oh, I’m sorry. I guess he’s not a superstar. Anyway…a fun movie with some truly cool fights, one of which is the total defeat of about 6 guys in seconds, this 1991 flick is a lazy afternoon time-killer.
Finally, a movie that actually has a good underground following…”The Last Dragon”. SHO’NUFF!
Motwon creator, Berry Gordy brings us one of the best black martial arts movies ever. Leroy Green is growing up in a tough city, but he’s trying to better himself through martial arts. But he doesn’t fight. He focuses on the spiritual oneness offered by practicing martial arts, hence his nickname “Bruce Leroy”. Leroy’s life gets turned upside-down when he saves the local TV star Laura Charles (played by Prince girl Vanity). Events lead Leroy to the final showdown with Sho’Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. But can Leroy find the glow within himself and defeat his foes?