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I saw Little Dragons in a late night viewing once and thought it was
goofy fun in the same vein as Bad News Bears and Six Pack. I really
think this film could work for kids today. If it was released on DVD I
think it would sell moderately well what with the new Mutant Ninja
Turtles animated flick coming to theaters soon. Okay, so it's obvious I
have a selfish aim of getting this on DVD and couldn't find any other
way to express that in words. I could dramatically get on my knees and
*gets on knees and begs*
There. Embarrassed myself for this mediocre film. Just at least send a copy to my house.
EDIT: had to. Just learned this is out on DVD under the title Karate Kids USA in the 50 movie pack Martial Arts from Mill Creek. So if you looked this up here on IMDb.com then go get that pack! 50 flicks for about $16! It's insane. And you'll go insane by the time you've viewed them all.
I know Ann Sothern wasn't wild about this film - but for me, it was
worth watching for the performances of Charles Lane and Ann Sothern -
it wasn't a high budget film, and some performances surely could have
been better - but it still made me laugh in places. Some parts such as
the old r.v. were humorous - many of us remember some budget models
such as this that we had used.
Not one of Ann Sothern's best works - her last movie "the Whales of August" was fantastic, as well as her TV series "the Ann Sothern show" and "susie" or "executive secretary" as it was originally called.
And of course Charles Lane is such a great actor - how many years has his career spanned?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I picked this movie up at Wal-Mart for one dollar, it was titled "The Karate Kids" and after some research I found out it was originally titled "The Little Dragons". It is very low budget and appears to be shot with video rather than film but the movie itself is fun to watch and entertaining. The plot is easy to follow and fairly predictable but the acting is good especially on the part of the young actors who could easily rival any child star today. If you just want to have fun, sit back, eat some popcorn and you don't have to have the latest, big budget movie then get this video. Also watching it you will feel as if you have traveled back in time to the 80's, especially when a character mentions a cassette player as being state of the art or when rather than using a cell phone to call for help they use a CB Radio.
Karate Kids USA is now most notable for being an early film from director Curtis Hanson, who would go on to win an Academy award for L.A. Confidential. It would only be fair to say that he got a lot better! This one is about some young karate kids who save a girl from some redneck kidnappers. It's another one of those times where you have to thank the DVD distribution company Mill Creek. These guys have time and time again rescued all manner of obscurities from oblivion and put them out for all to see on one of their mega DVD packs. This is another example but, in fairness, it's not really very good. There's not that much martial arts action, given the title you sort of expect a bit more. It's in essence an action-comedy with all manner of comic characters, such as dumb cops and stupid rednecks. Although it does seem to be pitched at an almost negligible demographic given that to all intents and purposes it is basically a kids movie yet has a few swear words and a quite disturbing character played by Joe Spinell who behaves a little too disturbing at times for a family audience. So, all-in-all, Karate Kids USA is something of a curiosity piece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
And the above sentence is NOT an exaggeration: this film is a non-action yawner for most of its length, until we get to a moderately amusing climax which features what we've been expecting, and rightfully so, to see all along: the Little Dragons defeating the adult bad guys by putting their karate training to use. Admittedly, there is some cult value in watching Ann Sothern (I had no idea she had gained so many pounds at the time; other than that, however, she looked younger than her then-age) and Joe - "Maniac" - Spinell share the same screen as no-good hillbillies; Spinell's performance is straight from Weirdsville. The kids are likable enough, but this film is disappointing for martial arts fans, and apart from the aforementioned climax, it is questionable as family entertainment as well. ** out of 4.
Brothers, Zack and Woody (portrayed by real-life brothers Chris and Pat
Petersen) are young karate students who embark on a weekend camping
trip with their grandfather J.J. (Charles Lane). Along the way they
meet a new friend, Carol Forbinger (Sally Boyden) and her parents (Rick
Lenz and Sharon Clark). When the Forbinger family encounters a
tough-talking backwoods mother (Ann Sothern) and her two bumbling sons
(Joe Spinell and John Davis Chandler) who decide to hold Carol captive
believing they can collect a sizable ransom, the "karate kids" must
find a way to use their martial arts skills to rescue the Forbinger
girl with a little help from their grandfather and some new friends
they meet along the way.
Very low budget movie that was rated PG mainly due to some of the language the kids use.
The movie was made in 1980 however many people believe it was actually made around 1976 and just didn't get released until 1980.
The movie has not been properly preserved so the prints are turning red as the color fades.
It's directed like a TV movie and even has the worst porn music streaming in the background. Speaking of porn, the movie features Joe Spinell who was married to a porn star and has a lot of strange deaths attached to him -- including his own.
Joe was in a few mob backed horror movies but never really went anywhere despite being best friends with Sly Stallone. He wound up dying on his couch in a dump in Queens, NY at age 52.
Back to the movie. I guess this film is in the public domain in that there are tons of versions of it.
It's watchable but not especially good.
And BTW, as an aside....who puts a billiard table out doors????? You'll see that and more in this move.
So...bought this for a "bad movie night". Picked it up for $1 at
Wal-Mart. I loved it. Not because it's good...oh no...this is the
second worst movie I have ever seen. (Want a REALLY bad movie? Check
out "Manos and the Hands of Fate". If nothing else, it's included in an
episode of MST3K) There is a plot to this one at least...psycho
hillbillies kidnap a girl, and a couple of kids have to save her since
the local police (and the FBI) are completely incompetent.
Not sure this was supposed to be a comedy...I sure laughed a lot though. The acting is downright flat...except the hillbillies, which are WAY over the top. The fight scenes are the furthest thing from realistic...I sure hope it was meant to be that way! All in all, if you see it on sale for $1 or less, and have 90ish minutes to kill, go ahead and grab it. I wouldn't recommend paying much more then that though. I promise you'll only want to watch this one once.
Hi, Everyone, Even The Three Stooges would not be able to save this.
Any DVD of this movie should be in the Fertilizer Section of Home
A comedy movie needs a premise that is somewhat humorous. The basic plot here is the bad guys kidnap and try to kill two little kids. The bad guys never are funny like Herbert Lom as Dreyfus in The Pink Panther series. These are two hillbilly boys and their mom who are quite willing to do away with the children.
Every comedy moment in this film falls flat. The director seems to think a child swearing is very funny. That is done repeatedly in this senseless misadventure. How about putting a dog in a burlap bag? That should really make people laugh. Nope. The dumb sheriff always works, right? No, not here. The dumb sheriff's son who tries to be Barney Fife? He comes across more like a dumb sheriff's dumb irritating son.
Toilet humor. There is an abundance of toilet humor. It never gets a laugh. Not one performance stands out as being something that will help a career. Chris Peterson apparently never made another movie after this one. He was one of the boy Karate stars. He was the older one who was supposed to be the love interest of the girl kidnap victim in this movie.
The girl who is kidnapped is the daughter of two really messed up parents in this story. The movie tries to portray the family as a loving unit when that is convenient but they are shown to be a brainless trio in each of their appearances on screen. The parents are totally irresponsible and never charming or funny.
Who do we blame? There is real talent here. Charles Lane (J.J.), was in Music Man and It's a Wonderful Life and Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. John Davis Chandler (the smart hillbilly brother), was in Mad Dog Coll. Ann Sothern (hillbilly mom) was in many movies and she had two good TV series. Tony Bill who produced this and played a small part was the Producer of Sting with Paul Newman. Tony Bill Directed My Bodyguard with Chris Makepeace. Tony Bill Produced Going in Style with George Burns and Art Carney. Tony Bill as a young man appeared in the movie Come Blow Your Horn with Frank Sinatra and more than held his own. He also was in Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
I say we blame Tony Bill. Tony, you have to look at the dailies and say, "Wow. This really sucks! You're all fired! Let's start over." That was the only move that would have saved the stomach contents of anyone who watched this after eating.
I cannot recommend this even for a Bad Movie Night. It is not up to the level of a good bad movie. If they ever have an award for Most Flushable Movie, this will be an oddsmaker's favorite.
Instead of this, watch The Pink Panther Strikes Again or Dr. Strangelove with Peter Sellers and see how a comedy about grown ups being killed can be funny. Threatening kids does not work as a comedy or drama.
If you like the song Hokey Pokey or My Darlin' Clementine, they are sung here. They actually are done well. The little girl singer should have been cast in a musical instead of this.
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