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Author Topic: NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER- TRIBUTE RANT
JAY LEE
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NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER 1986

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SYNOPSIS:

Jason Stillwell is a Bruce Lee fanatic and karate student from L.A. Who is forced to move with his family to Seattle, when his father is beaten and run out of his dojo by some gangsters and a mean Russian fighter. But Jason runs in to trouble again, with the local karate school, and needs all the help he can get. He finds it in the form of the streetwise R.J. and none other than the ghost of Bruce Lee. Who trains him, so he can stand up to his bullies. But in the end, Jason is faced with the Russian fighter in a tournament, so now he will have to use all the skills he has learned, to make things right.


TRIBUTE RANT:

Let’s face it, this is essentially nothing more than a bad B-movie version of THE KARATE KID. But where as that movie had a decent story, good acting and poor fight scenes, this one has a ridicilous story, abhorrently bad acting, but excellent fight choreography, courtesy of acclaimed Hong Kong action director Cory Yuen and cohort Meng Hoi. Their involvement is what gives this movie its cult classic status, and its unrelenting, pulse pumping, only-in-the-80’s energy. The fight scenes are the saving grace here. Outside of that, is a crust of cheese so thick, it damn near redefines the term.

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Just the mere fact that the protagonist is trained by Bruce Lee’s ghost, should give you an idea of what type of movie this is. If not, maybe the inclusion of Jean Claude Van Damme as an evil russian villain will. Or the fact that the plot makes no sense at all. There are two storylines going on, and they are ever so slightly intertwined, and both pretty stupid. The main story line, sees Kurt McKinney being bullied by some douchy karate students, so he turns to the most obvious thing in the world, Bruce Lee’s ghost, played by former Bruceploitation actor Kim Tai Jung. This is the heart of the movie, if you can call it that, and the part that serves up the classic 80's training montages, hammy acting, and poorly scripted drama.

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The bulk of the action comes with the subplot, involving gangsters taking over random martial arts schools for the purpose of organized crime… wait, what? Yeah ok, moving on. Though their number one enforcer is of course Van Damme, and seeing him in action, under the expert, choreographical guidance of Cory Yuen and Meng Hoi, is a rare treat. Compare it to the sluggish, slow moving fight scenes of BLOODSPORT or KICKBOXER, and you’ll know what I mean.

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Structurally this movie is a disaster. There are different cuts of the movie, released for different markets. But which ever one you pick, the narrative structure and editing is still all over the place. Characters come and go as the script pleases, motivations and characterizations are a mess, L.A. with its eternal sunshine and towering palmtrees is suppose to pass for Seattle, and as previously stated, the acting is at the level of a 4th grade, school play. Though the dialogue is not doing these so called thespians any favours either. Yeah, it ain’t pretty.

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So why is it that this movie is so great, and so atrocious at the same time? Well, as bad as it is, it prevails on its sheer retro cheesiness and aforementioned awesome fight scenes. This movie is so 80’s, that it almost feels like a commercial for the decade. Karate schools, bad fashion, break dancing, bmx, skateboards, jeri curls and a little teen angst thrown in for good measure. The energy, and in some ways, the naivité on part of the Hong Kong film crew, trying to make a KARATE KID clone flick, is admirable, complimentary and no doubt, well intenioned. And when all is said and done, it is really a fun ride, and you will most likely have a great time, laughing at all its glaring flaws or getting pumped by the fast paced fights and awesome training montages, set to the greatest 80’s motivational song ever made… Kevin Chalfant’s “Hold On To Your Vision”. Enjoy.

[ 06. February 2011, 09:28: Message edited by: JAY LEE ]

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Logan 5
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"Is it east versus west... or man against man?"

This movie is terrible. I used to have a poster of it on my wall. That's what I'm talking about. Yeah.

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John Kreese
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This movie is AWESOME!!!!! Just oozing with classic 80's cheese and some of the funniest bad acting you'll ever see.
Teenagers, martial arts, breakdancing, multiple training montages - A definite classic, and "must-see" for all true hard-core 80's fans.

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JAY LEE
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Yeah, as I said, it's amazing how a movie can be so bad and so good at the same time! Only in the 80's, folks!
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aTomiK
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Cool stuff once again Jay!

This is a great movie, i own the dvd.
I remember how we watched this and another cheesefest called Sakura Killers back in the day.
After that we "fought" in the back yard [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

That Kevin Chalfant tune is very good and he´s done some good albums with many different bands.

Kevin Chalfant - Hold on to the vision

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kevdugp73
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This is as good, if not better than.....Gymkata! But only by a small margin folks!
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John Kreese
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I have heard there are 2 versions with different scenes and music? I have a Region 4 disc from Australia that supposedly was the better of the 2, but I know there are scenes missing from it. I have heard about a scene where Jason and Kellie go out on a date, but it's not on my version. Can anybody shed a little more light on this?
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JAY LEE
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I think there are 3 versions. The US version is missing different scenes than the UK version, and the music is different. Though i've heard that the AUS version has the best editing, but is also missing different scenes. It's a whole big mess!
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John Kreese
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Is there a Region 1 disc out there?
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JAY LEE
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Yes, I believe so. The US version was trimmed and re-scored though.
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Logan 5
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Someone... and I'm not saying it *has* to be you Jay Lee... but someone needs to make a mega fan edit putting all the different scenes together from the three releases.

It has to be you, Jay Lee.

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John Kreese
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I just watched part of the U.S. version on youtube...

Not near as good as my region 4 version, although it does have the scene where jason and kellie first meet and then go out on the town. But it doesn't have "Hold on to the Vision" and it also cuts out a certain hilarious part from the last training montage.

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JAY LEE
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quote:
Originally posted by Logan 5:
Someone... and I'm not saying it *has* to be you Jay Lee... but someone needs to make a mega fan edit putting all the different scenes together from the three releases.

It has to be you, Jay Lee.

Trust me, if I had the time and resources, I would!
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Kash
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[Cool] Tribute Jay Lee!

Hilariously bad movie this, so bad that its a bad movie masterpiece. And yet somehow, the sequel (Karate Tiger 2!) manages to make the original look like it was directed by Orson Welles in his prime. Why they abandoned the surreal elements is beyond me: Then again, where do you go after one finger, one arm press-ups and being trained by the ghost of Bruce Lee?

Ivan: So it is you, son, is it not?

Jason Stillwell: But this time it will be different. Russian.

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oneyedwilly
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Jay lee jay lee jay lee...oh sorry..'JASON, JASON, JASON'! Jay Lee...awsome write up my main man, simply awsome! You nailed this movie so well mate...well done.
I watched this movie again and again and again. I watched some of the moves in slow mo as well. I would watch this almost every weekend. This movie IS such a disaster in every sense other than the fighting at the end and the goose bumping montages throughout the mid section. Van damme played a great bad guy and did just as well looking like an indestructable force in the movie with Sho Kosugi in 'Black Eagle' where he completes his trademark split avoiding a spinning kick rather than just blocking or moving out the way. If you havnt seen Black Eagle and are a fan of the Van Damage, then check it out, the fight scene at the end shows his true skill and physical strength. Thanks for this thread.

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Nick
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Lovin' your work Jay Lee... [Smile]

The music including the score is different between at least the UK and USA editions as mentioned above.. HOWEVER, the UK DVD contains the USA music (probably movie edit as well)...

Goodbye to all the cheesy power synth montages that I remember from the video rental in the 80s..

What follows is not a made-up story..

When I got it and played it, I was so DEVASTATED about that one fact that I removed the disc from the player and promptly snapped it in two... [Embarrassed]

That's a certified honest FACT, folks. I'm really a mellow guy and that's the only disc (CD/DVD etc) I've EVER done that to...

Now THATS disappointment, lol [Smile]

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Bernie_Lomax

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I like this movie.

I always hated that R.J kid because he is trying to be cool but just seems pathetic.

Still a classic though in a B grade way.

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Logan 5
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quote:
That's a certified honest FACT, folks. I'm really a mellow guy and that's the only disc (CD/DVD etc) I've EVER done that to...
Wow! Never done that to any DVD! Glad I don't have this on DVD now. Worst for me was the musical changes on 'Greatest American Hero'.
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Bernie_Lomax

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I done it to a DVD from the video store accidentally.

Yeah I watched No Retreat about a year ago and do remember that the music and stuff was not the same as I rembered it.

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