|Index||6 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this entertaining PM effort, Ted Jan Roberts, or, "TJ" as we like to
call him, plays Stan Dryer, a shy 16-year-old kid who wants nothing
more than to go to the prom with Sandy, but is too meek to ask. When an
old man, Master Yung (Okamura), gives him half of a powerful ring that
gives him confidence and excellent martial arts ability, his life
changes for the better. The only problem is, the other half of the ring
belongs to the dastardly Raymond Vonn (Zabka). Vonn desperately wants
the other half of the ring so he can control the world. Will Stan
defeat Vonn and make it to the prom? Find out today! TJ has formidable
martial arts ability. He does impressive kicks and can knock out many
baddies at once. Before Stan gets the Power Within, he is failing all
his classes in school. After he gets it, he begins to ace his classes
and is quite knowledgeable about the cold war, easily discussing
"Gorby" with style and aplomb. At the prom, in the vein of Corey
Feldman, with whom he co-starred in A Dangerous Place (1995), Stan
strikes a Michael Jackson-like pose. Maybe The Power Within isn't ALL
Zabka as Vonn puts in a fun, over-the-top performance. He adds a lot of life and energy. He wears a blue kimono numerous times and chops cinderblocks with his hands. He has some memorable quotes, such as "If you keep pestering me, I'll send for your soul!", "Obey me or die!", and the strangely homoerotic "Remember me, Stan? The man of your dreams!" (Stan has weird dreams that feature Vonn, usually laughing maniacally). Also, one of Vonn's henchmen resembles Gene Simmons sans makeup. That is pretty intimidating.
Stan's brother Deke is the obnoxious little brat who likes to play his Game Boy and yell "Yeah!" He also admonishes his brother that he's "missing Magic Kid!" For those who don't know, Magic Kid (1993) and Magic Kid II (1994) both feature Ted Jan Roberts. How meta.
There is an inexplicable cameo by Don "The Dragon" Wilson. He is introduced, as himself, to a martial arts class. He gives Stan some life lessons. It's always nice to see the fan favorite, even if there is basically no reason to. He must have been on break from filming the PM vehicle CyberTracker (1994).
In all, "The Power Within" is a fun action/martial arts romp meant for teens. If you can find it, see it! For more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com
This here's the first film adolescent karate star Ted Jan Roberts
starred in after beginning his MASKED RIDER TV show, and his first
feature following the same year's superior A DANGEROUS PLACE. THE POWER
WITHIN isn't a bad movie but it's far from great - more of a
middle-of-the-road thing, mixing magic and martial arts on a B-movie's
budget with unsteady results. There's an interesting cast here and some
decent fight scenes, but for all this one's potential, it still sort of
comes up short.
The story: When one of two ancient, magic rings comes into the possession of a timid high schooler (Roberts), he acquires not only impressive new abilities but also an adversary in a dangerous thief seeking the ring (William Zabka).
The screenplay by PM Entertainment regular Joe Hart is a bit problematic. I don't think it's very effective in getting its point across. The lesson it imparts is that you ought to fulfill your potential, something which Ted's character eventually learns he can do even without magic jewelry, but the setups used to illustrate this are unrealistic and unfair. Prior to acquiring the ring, Ted gets chastised by everyone from his martial arts instructor (Michael DePasquale) to his little brother (the kid from EVENING SHADE) for getting beaten up by no less than five bullies, and after he gets the ring, a teacher challenges him with ridiculously complex history questions as though purposely trying to make him fail. Later he's arrested for beating up a load of goons in self-defense. Lighten up, folks!
Gerald Okamura, the wise old man Ted receives his ring from, plays a pretty strange character who introduces the inexplicable magical feats seen in the movie (e.g. teleporting, projecting visions, shooting explosive lightning), but I don't mind him since he delivers what might be the best fight scene of the movie, using smooth kung fu to take on a group of thugs. This is one of the few fights unmarred by unnecessary editing, which hurts the remaining six brawls to varying degrees. They're still watchable, especially the one wherein Ted gets back at the aforementioned bullies, but disappointingly, the worst fight is also the most important one: the final showdown between Ted and William Zabka. Zabka's fun to watch throughout the movie, with his crazy sunglasses and English accent, and by all means it should be intriguing to see him antagonize another karate kid, but it's all for naught when their only battle is a short, one-sided little thing that takes place in front of an unconvincing backdrop. I've definitely seen better.
Not unlike Roberts' previous MAGIC KID, a good portion of the film takes place in and acts as a pseudo-advertisement for the Universal Studios theme park, which is fun in a campy and corny way. Karen Valentine is interesting as Ted's on screen mother, and there's a lot of enjoyable weirdness throughout the film, like the unexplained presence of a chimpanzee in Gerald Okamura's house and Ted's inexplicable ninja dream. However, it's not crazy enough to be great on that leg alone, and as a fantasy/martial arts flick it doesn't deliver entirely either. If this sounds like your kind of thing, go for it, but I've seen better from the boy action hero.
Art Camacho's 1995 martial arts fantasy flick "The Power Within" is
good at what it wants to be - a martial arts fantasy flick with a good
message about believing in yourself and your own abilities, and
fulfilling your own potential.
Stan Dryer (Ted Jan Roberts) is an average teenager who's having trouble making the grade in school, gets beaten up by the bullies on the school's football team (despite the fact that Stan is taking lessons in Karate and is not very good at it), and is being urged by his best friend Eric Graves (Keith Coogan) to ask pretty popular girl Sandy Applegate (Tracy Melchoir) out to prom - but he's too scared to do so. In other words, he lacks any sense of self-confidence.
To top it off, one day, Stan manages to save the elderly martial arts master, Master Yung (Gerald Okamura), from thugs. Master Yung dies not long after the struggle, but not before having passed the mysterious and mystical Ring of Power onto Stan, who now finds himself in possession of incredible strength and martial arts skills. It turns out that the Ring of Power is actually the SECOND of two Rings of Power, the other belonging to Raymond Vonn (William Zabka, of "The Karate Kid"), an art thief and master criminal, who now wants both rings for himself.
"The Power Within" is very much a "B" movie for teenagers with some after-school special trappings, though it's not one without a good message about believing in yourself and your abilities. The acting is a mixed bag; Ted Jan Roberts, a kiddie actor known for his martial arts skills in Tae Kwon Do, is easily identifiable as the Everyman that the audience can latch onto, even if his performance is a little bit hammy at times. William Zabka is by far the film's strongest performer, even if he comes off as nothing more than just a standard movie bad guy (which is not too far removed from the violent teenage black belt he played in "The Karate Kid").
P.S.: International Kickboxing legend Don "The Dragon" Wilson makes an inspiring walk-on cameo as himself...
Attractive sixteen-year-old Ted Jan "T.J." Roberts (as Stanley "Stan"
Dryer) is urged to hook up with older pretty woman Tracy Melchior (as
Sandy Applegate) after the senior prom, by chubby pal Keith Coogan (as
Eric). Although Ms. Melchior seems ripe and willing, Mr. Roberts is too
shy to get up the nerve. Meanwhile, martial arts badass William Zabka
(as Raymond Vonn) is looking to acquire, by any violent means, an
ancient Chinese ring to match the one he wears - the wearer of both
rings is promised incalculable power.
Roberts' mother, actress Karen Valentine (as Clyda) worries that her son might be a wimp, but worries more when he is given the other ring of power, which is formerly worn by his mystical guardian angel, Gerald Okamura (as Yung). Wearing the ring, Roberts becomes a martial arts master, and gets his girl. But, he must also battle Mr. Zabka, who wants both rings of power. Nice to see "Griffith Observatory", Roberts as a smaller guy with a killer kick, and Ms. Valentine aka "Pigtail Peggy" - or was it "Alice Johnson"?
***** The Power Within (10/24/95) Art Camacho ~ Ted Jan Roberts, William Zabka , Karen Valentine, Keith Coogan
As a Martial Arts Movie The Power Within is not a badly put together
of moves. It gives you a sense of self awareness you didn't know you had.
It teaches you not to think of yourself a failure all the time but to put in what you've got. To be able to show others I CAN DO IT.
This film shows what you can do with little money and lots of imagination. The story is simple and well told. The action is not high tech or computer animation driven. It is exciting never-the- less. The martial arts choreography is very strong without being too campy or gimmicky. TJ Roberts is the real McCoy in his martial arts. I think the title says it all. It's a fun adventure into discovering your true potential.
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