Only the Strong (1993) Poster

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Guaranteed to leave you smiling
Fox in Socks12 October 2001
This is one of those films you can't help enjoying. It's light, fun, undemanding, and an absolute joy to watch. It might not be a gritty urban drama that deals sensitively with youth and alienation in high school, but then neither was "Heathers".

Cinema primarily exists to entertain, and "Only The Strong" does this in spades. Dacascos is the most graceful, watchable martial arts star since Brandon Lee, with an easy charisma that really comes across in a film like this and also the brilliant "Drive". The rest of the cast perform quite nicely as well. The plot and characterisation are admittedly 2-D, but what the hell, it's a 100% schmaltz-free feelgood movie.

Two of my friends actually took up Capoeira after watching this film. How's that for life-changing?
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Unique Brazilian martial arts exhibited in a mediocre movie
lufiel maluviel29 December 2004
The real star of "Only the Strong" is the capoeira style of Brazilian martial arts (which is the pre-cursor of many break dancing moves) exhibited throughout the film. There are many movies that concentrate on wushu, taekwondo, karate, aikido, and many others styles from different parts of the world, but capoeira movies are far and few between, which makes "Only the Strong" that much more unique.

The story is nothing short of rehashed and predictable; a well meaning soldier (Mark Dacascos) with martial arts background from his previous station in Brazil, comes back to the U.S. and attempts to take charge of the rebellious, rival students in a troubled neighbourhood. He attempts to give them a focus in life with the art of capoeira, which combines martial arts, music and dancing, as well as stressing teamwork between the players/fighters. The troublesome students take a while to be won over by Decascos efforts, but eventually play along.

Things get complicated when it turns out that one of the students is the son of a Portuguese gangster, a capoeira maestre himself, that is the terror of the town, leading to some battles and a showdown between the ruthless criminal and his followers and the well meaning teacher.

The acting and the story is sub-par as mentioned previously, but this is , at the time of this writing, the only movie focusing on capoeira as a whole, and as such deserves a closer look by martial arts fans everywhere who are ready for something truly different.
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Good, but could've been better
aylahanne24 August 2002
I really enjoy this movie and have shown it to most of my friends. Most of my friends and I gave it an eight out of ten and some even higher. I think that the capoeira scenes are great, plus it has good music, but the story and characters could've been presented a little better. If you like martial arts movies and don't care too much about character development, you'll probably like this movie.
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Likable B-movie showcase for hunky action star
Libretio17 April 2005

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Dolby Stereo SR

A former Green Beret (Mark Dacascos) is employed by his local high school to rehabilitate some of its worst students by teaching them the art of capoeira (a form of martial arts from Brazil, using dance-like moves). But his work brings him into conflict with a local drug lord (Paco Christian Prieto), whose operations are threatened by Dacascos' interference...

Predictable B-movie, elevated above the routine by virtue of its slick presentation and interesting cast (including Geoffrey Lewis), under the assured direction of Sheldon Lettich (DOUBLE IMPACT). The capoeira sequences are exotic and colorful, which blunts the impact of some pretty heavy fight scenes, and the script is alternately naive and obvious. However, the virtues are considerable: Ultra-buff Dacascos flaunts his pumped-up torso through a variety of tight-fitting vests (drool! slobber!), while ultra-cute Stacey Travis (the romantic interest) hovers around the periphery just long enough to temper the film's relentless macho swagger. Good, catchy music score, too.
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Excellent movie showing that great fighting art,Capoera
nashkat16 August 2000
If you are looking for a plot or a great cinematic feature, you may be disappointed. However, if you want to see some great Capoera (brazilian style) fighting, this is for you. This relatively unknown art is exciting and explosive, with many flips and tumbles along with strikes used to incapacitate your opponent. I am a fan of the Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, but this type of martial art has found a place in my heart. The movie is a great good guy overcomes insurmountable odds to come out on top. Very entertaining.
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Well rounded movie perfect message for children to watch and learn from
jimmiebre4 February 2003
A young ex-military man returns to former high school to find it in moral shambles. He gets an idea to try to help out a few of the worst behaved students in the school from his former teacher and mentor. It was rough going to get them involved in the program especially since the criminal family members of the kids were reluctant to let them go. Fights over that ensue But in the end good over evil wins!!!!!!!! I loved it. Especially being a mother myself I loved the storyline!
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Great vehicle for Dacascos
abentenjo14 April 2002
An exciting feel-good actioner from the director of Double Impact that demands very little from its audience other than the odd cry of adulation at the spectacular, slow-mo'-induced action scenes set before us. Capoeira, the rhythm-based Brazilian martial art / dance, is the movie's chosen subject, and its saving grace: flamboyant and effortlessly acrobatic, accurately pulled off by a cast of the style's best practitioners. Dacascos masters the art while stationed in Brazil working as a Green Beret, and returns to his old school in Miami to find the classes out of control, made up of petty criminals and drug dealers. He is chosen to teach these crazy kids some discipline (by means of Capoeira), and they seem to become pretty good at it. Prieto provides the beefcake villain element as a Brazilian master-criminal determined to sway one of our hero's prime students. All in all, this is an entertaining watch, a perfect showcase for Dacascos.
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Predictable, But Enjoyable.
magilvilla28 February 2000
You know whats going to happen to all the "bad" students as soon as you see them. But, this is still a very good movie. The style used is really amazing and fun to watch. The fights scenes are very good. Why this movie wasn't a big hit, I'll never know. It should have made Mark Dacascos a star.
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I loved this movie.
grass_fairy23 March 2002
I thought Only the Strong was a great movie. I would love to learn the martial art. I thought that Ryan Bollman, as well as the rest of the cast, was wonderful. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a good movie. I loved this movie, and am currently trying to find it on video.
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Great film,displaying a lot of martial art skills and action!!!!!!! THE BEST!!!
*ANGEL EYES*26 December 1999
I think that the movie is awesome!!!!!!! It displays great skills as well as potential and understanding. In the movie...Luis Stevens ( Mark Dacascos ) teaches the guys,not only martial arts,but compassion and understanding towards each other. They are great actors who really fit the parts that were required......actors who really brought the characters to life. Just a few actors...i think,who did a great job and are worth mentioning....... Richard Coca,Mark Dacascos,Paco Christian Prieto,Ryan Bollman,Stacey Travis,Mark Cardwell.The others,although they are not mentioned.....have done a great job also. All in all........'Only The Strong' my opinion is an action packed......thriller movie.It's a must see.I rate it 10.
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