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Not Enough Action to Be Had in Preachy, Cheezy 3rd Installment
Phillip Rhee is a great, underrated screen martial artist. Both in reality and on screen, Rhee's techniques look great and the man clearly has an excellent command of martial arts, so why is it that in a movie starring this guy, in a series about martial arts, do we not even seen him fight anyone until about 40 minutes into this one? Now, I'm not saying that an action movie can't have build up and suspense, or it should be all fighting and no plot, but Best of the Best 3 starts the movie off with the heavy subject of violent racism and doesn't dial back from there. With virtually no relation and continuity to the other 2 movies in the series, Best of the Best 3 has only one constant, the character of Rhee's Tommy Lee, who is down South visiting his sister that he's never mentioned (although he does apparently have Indian grandparents and a brother from the second) and has to intervene in the grand plot of a White Supremacist group.
Compared to the other 2 Best of the Best movies, which were about fighting tournaments and the comradery between the martial artists on the team, this one is totally Tommy Lee's show, and deals with an intense, sensitive, and serious issue. But it deals with it via motorcycle chases, explosions, and kicking. Even though the film has a good message, the corny acting and dialouge and overall 90's action movie goofiness just doesn't work for the hard hitting subject matter, which is something that deserves serious examination and treatment.
It's not to say that the movie doesn't have it's entertaining moments, but whenever you get into some of the action, it draws you right back to the ugly topic it's all based around, but the poor execution makes it hard to enjoy. Overall, Phillip Rhee would've been better off including Eric Roberts, a major character in the other 2 movies in some way, and continuing the story and through line he had established with 1 and 2, which were also cheezy martial arts movies, but stayed within their depth and didn't try to tackle something this hard hitting and real. Since this installments attempts and fails, I have to say it's the worst of The Best of the Best.
5 out 10.
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