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Jeff, a young delinquent, is enrolled by his father in a kenpo school, in the hopes of teaching the boy some self-discipline. Years later, Jeff's mentor, Kim, is being threatened by one of the Korean mafia families. Jeff tries to help his old friend, but is too late to prevent Kim's death at the hands of an unknown hitman. Vowing revenge, Jeff takes on all of the families, using his martial arts skills to find the man who killed his friend. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Jeff Speakman's performance in "The Perfect Weapon" is awesome. This plot is able to magnificently interweave furious action sequences with the literary theme of the return home. While the plot differs markedly from that of "The Odyssey" by the epic bard Homer, there is still one vital thread that can be explored: both heroes return home after a long exile to kick ass and reclaim their positions in society. The ensuing list of possible contrasts and comparisons is exhausting if not infinite. However, if one is to understand one point, it is that in both works, martial arts are employed to signify the process of social transition; the re-integration of the hero into society.
To be a little less formal, let use the martial arts aspect as a segue into a nifty little observation. Jeff Speakman is a reasonably well known proponent of Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, developed in U.S. during the 1940s and 1950s. "The Perfect Weapon" is an excellent primer on the power and wisdom of this art. The clearest example of this exposition is at Master Lo's Kenpo school, where Speakman learns both the skills and valuable lesson he will keep with him for the rest of his life; the most important being the difference between the tiger and the dragon. Yet, the movie is set in Koreatown, where Tae Kwon Do is the martial art du jour. The korean flags are prominent in the gym scene, and the references to Korean culture abound. There appears then, to be a subtle not so subtle match up between Kenpo Karate and Tae Kwon Do. The climax of this tension comes as Speakman confronts Leo Lee (Bandana) in the gym, looking for a guy who is 'good in Tae Kwon Do.' Does the ensuing three on one fight symbolize the clash of fighting styles? No one will ever know what Ed Parker or Mark DiSalle wanted to achieve here, but the contrast is too present to be simply a coincidence.
Alas, all reviews must end somewhere, and though I have much more to say, I will end my two cents with a small criticism of the action in the film. Anyone with a decent amount of martial arts experience will note that in the final warehouse scene, the knife attacks are undoubtedly more akin to training exercises than to real street techniques, but then again that may have been purposely done. It is also worth noting that this author has minimal training in Kajukenbo (an art based on Kenpo) and is far from an expert in the field.
The one thing that I can say with reasonable auctoritas is that this movie is electric from start to finish.
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