A group of Russian mobsters have stolen a huge supply of paper for printing U.S. currency, and are now flooding the market with conterfeit bills. When one of the mobsters decides to give ... See full summary »
A team from the United States is going to compete against Korea in a Tae Kwon Do tournament. The team consists of fighters from all over the country--can they overcome their rivalry and work together to win?
James Earl Jones,
On a remote Caribbean island, Army Ranger Joe Armstrong investigates the disappearance of several marines, which leads him to The Lion, a super-criminal who has kidnapped a local scientist and mass-produced an army of mutant Ninja warriors.
After being humiliated in the ring by a dirty kickboxer who pulled down his shorts and then hit him, a martial arts master decides to travel to China and enter a monastery where he may ... See full summary »
The evil criminal leader Kendrick has kidnapped an elderly biochemist who holds the secret to creating a biological superweapon. The only person who can possibly stop Kendrick and his gang ... See full summary »
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 ... See full summary »
Jason Stillwell, a Bruce Lee fan, is beaten numerous times and trains from the ghost of Lee. Jason then must use his newly acquired skills to save Seattle from a crime syndicate, whose top ... See full summary »
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
At the 18 minute mark of BEST OF THE BEST 3: NO TURNING BACK we find our hero Tommy Lee (Phillip Rhee) traveling in his old blue Pontiac on a narrow dirt road to visit his sister. Next, he is abruptly run off of this road by a careless young skinhead racist driving an old blue pick-up truck. We see Tommy swerve off of the road and damage his vehicle. When he swerves we get to see a few clear frames of his license plate. It is a Nevada license plate that reads: "H7E386." It is a reminder of the last film (BEST OF THE BEST 2) when Tommy was engaged in a no-holds-barred fighting tournament in Las Vegas. See more »
In the carnival scene when Tommy throws Owen into a stand, he stands up an pulls a knife out, then in the next shot, he pulls it out again. See more »
Overall, the BEST OF THE BEST series is one of the most enjoyable martial arts franchises in film. It took two movies before tae kwon do bigshot Phillip Rhee was properly established as the real star of the story, and I'm pleased to say that even in the disappointing absence of Eric Roberts & co., he proves to be a solid solo action hero, not to mention a better first-time director than his more-recognized cohorts Seagal and Van Damme. It's a bit strange that he chose a story dealing with domestic racial terrorism as his first project, but while not perfect, I think it came out much better than anyone could have expected.
The story: Following the events of the the second film, Tommy Lee (Rhee) rides into a rural town besieged by a neo-Nazi militia. When their violent mania takes its toll on the family of his brother-in-law (Christopher McDonald) and his new romantic interest (Gina Gershon), he uses his championship-caliber martial arts skills to fight back.
Neo-Nazism, neo-Confederatism, and white supremicism remain lingering social problems, but while they've been tackled before in drama form (e.g. American HISTORY X), I'm pretty sure that Phillip Rhee is the first filmmaker to make an action film that predominantly dealt with the issue. It's a movie decision that you'd expect Steven Seagal to make, and it's quite possible that despite this one's strong production values, the storyline is what kept it from getting a theatrical release. It's kind of heavy-handed, with a rather tasteless scene early on wherein the militant leader (played by great villain-actor Mark Rolston) beats a black activist priest to death with a baseball bat, but the film does make a point of differentiating between the racial separatism ideology and racial warfare, as well as depicting the kind of social hopelessness that can lead some folks to grasp at extremes. Still, it's an action flick, so don't expect a completely empathetic movie.
Speaking of action, this one's offering is pretty darn good, being mostly limited to four fights and an explosion-filled invasion scene. During his relatively short career, Phillip Rhee was one of the most consistent martial arts performers, and his outing here helps build this reputation. During three one-against-many fights and a single one-on-one brawl with bad guy Rolston, Rhee goes through an encyclopedia of strikes and throws, for the most part exquisitely choreographed and competently filmed. The showdown at the end sort of disappointed me for its change of pace, but by most standards, it's still pretty good, and it doesn't deter from the glorious scene in the first half of the film wherein Rhee - dressed as a clown - takes on a bunch of brutes at a fair. The segment wherein Rhee and Christopher McDonald launch an attack on the supremacists' base is also pretty good, practically at Commando levels of explosions. There are even parts with motorcycles and a rocket launcher.
The cast and their performances round off the good parts of the movie. Along with the aforementioned members, an uncredited R. Lee Ermey plays a racist pastor with his usual infectious talent, and Peter Simmons gives a pretty good performance as young supremacist recruit with mixed feelings about his actions. The fact that the film only connects with its prequels via a minute's exposition is somewhat disappointing - I'd have liked to see the ending of the last movie weigh in more on the events of this one - but Rhee proves himself such a consummate performer that you don't miss the other characters *too* much. This one could technically stand alone, but it still feels like a part of the series. Action fans should definitely give it a try.
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