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No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)

PG | | Action, Comedy, Crime | 2 May 1986 (USA)
Jason, a Bruce Lee fan, sees his karate instructor/dad beaten by martial art thugs. They move to Seattle where, after humiliations, he trains with Bruce Lee's ghost so he can defend himself and others against thugs.


Corey Yuen


See-Yuen Ng (original story) (as Ng See Yuen), Corey Yuen (original story) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt McKinney ... Jason Stillwell
Jean-Claude Van Damme ... Ivan Kraschinsky the Russian
J.W. Fails J.W. Fails ... R.J. Madison
Kathie Sileno Kathie Sileno ... Kelly Reilly
Tae-jeong Kim Tae-jeong Kim ... Sensei Lee (as Kim Tai Chong)
Kent Lipham ... Scott
Ron Pohnel Ron Pohnel ... Ian Reilly
Dale Jacoby Dale Jacoby ... Dean Ramsay
Peter Cunningham ... Frank Peters (as Pete Cunningham)
Timothy D. Baker Timothy D. Baker ... Tom Stillwell (as Tim Baker)
Gloria Marziano Gloria Marziano ... Mrs. Stillwell
Joe Verroca Joe Verroca ... New York Agent (as Joe Vance)
Farid Panahi Farid Panahi ... New York Assistant #1
Tom Harris Tom Harris ... New York Assistant #2
John Andes John Andes ... New York Boss


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 martial artist is the deadly Ivan. Written by Albert Valentin <albval@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Tonight, He either fights for his life or he'll be running for the rest of it. See more »


Action | Comedy | Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jason calls Bruce Lee's ghost "Lee Dai Goh", "Big Brother Lee" in Cantonese. See more »


When Jason's father is beaten up behind the bar, his jacket is in his hands. It's gone in the next shot. See more »


RJ Madison: Alright. No retreat, no surrender!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jean-Claude Van Damme's character is Ivan, but in the ending credits, next to his name reads, "Karl Brezdin". See more »

Alternate Versions

When released in Britain, this title received the following cuts:
  • The cinema version was cut by 7s:
  • A Bruce Lee poster is unrolled by Kurt McKinney which clearly shows 'The Little Dragon' holding a pair of nunchaku. Two shots of this were ordered cut by the BBFC.
  • The video release has been further cut by 37s. These cuts were imposed to get the film a 15 rating:
  • Two additional cuts were made to the fight between Jean-Claude Van Damme and his opponent towards the end of the film. These were: an elbow to the fighter's throat and repeated punches to his stomach.
See more »


Featured in The Stars Caravan (2000) See more »


Ask Me to Stay
Music and Lyrics by Frank Harris and Jo Mortensen
Produced by Frank Harris
Sung by Kelli Stiles
See more »

User Reviews

The Karate Kid: The Sweded Version !
2 September 2011 | by elshikh4See all my reviews

Let me begin by saying that the evil boy was too comic to be evil. And the mike, while being so visible, was too evil to be comic!

The acting is dead in this movie. I don't know why everybody was smiling all the time?! The movie's Bruce Lee is a shame. Any fan of him must feel rage for the idiot way he's honored in this. Kurt McKinney looked like a young Jim Carry yet dull. The actor who played his father looked 2 years older than him (you can't give birth while you're 2!). So according to this cast, I couldn't tell who was funny and who wasn't, because frankly.. they were all FUNNY!

The direction is beyond the Razzie, it's more primitive than (Foxy Brown - 1974). On second thought, (Foxy) shines as a classic compared to this! There are just cadres with people somehow talk and move in them. The smell of arty is anywhere but here. However, the black rectangles, to cover the mike's many appearances, proved to be something that I didn't watch in any cinema to date!

I kept telling myself during the whole movie: was that (The Karate Kid), released in 1984 to great success, but with no budget, no artwork, and lousy Bruce Lee's impersonator instead of Mr. Miyagi?! It's now proved that the director of (No Retreat..), Corey Yuen, had watched (The Karate Kid), liked it, but thought that the fight sequences could have been a lot better. So why not remaking it within 2 years of it, with better fight sequences and worse EVERYTHING. FYI, it was released in Europe under the name of (Karate Tiger)!

I couldn't stand what's called authentic fighting, since the movie itself was evicting me successfully. To tell you the truth, I went laughing all through it. I recalled (Be Kind Rewind - 2008), as if I was watching one of its Sweded versions; which were cheesy remakes of famous Hollywood movies, unbelieving its homemade-like movie-making. It's a rare time when such a movie with low quality spawns sequels like that (4 movies till 1992). So why did people, in 1986, love this Sweded Karate Kid?!

In fact, it was the age of the American Martial Arts movies. After being used to be made in Asia of the 1970s, it turned into a fashion in America of the 1980s. Rocky (1976) started it, then the boom came with The Karate Kid (1984), American Ninja (1985), No Retreat, No Surrender (1986), Bloodsport (1988), Best of the Best (1989), Kickboxer (1989), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) with, save Kickboxer, at least 2 sequels for every movie.

Moreover, the Americans, in that era, were desperately hungry for this type of movies. Because after many hippie existential anti-heroes in the 1970s, there was a need for a tough hero who acts more than thinks. Notice too that it's mostly starring teens, which is a (Star Wars - 1977) & (E.T. - 1982) effect that clicked rightly. And it mirrored a desire for different taste of action, the Martial Arts, as something else the usual goods of Hollywood back then. Add to that a possible extra reason; concerning how during the 1970s the Asian Martial Arts movie had established some kind of fan base in America, so by the mid-1980s, it was about time to produce it by American money and talents.

On the other hand, it assures that sometimes, some desperate times, success has nothing to do with things like artistic level. Or maybe the 1980s was the time of innocence, so simply the innocent viewers loved an innocent movie; however, in this case, it's not "one for the 1980s" in my book. Because when I watched (No Retreat..) for the first time, in 2011, while being in my thirties, I got turned off utterly, seeing nothing that could intercede for it. It's for an American-teen-in-the-1980s exclusively I think!

P.S: It's hard to believe that its director, Corey Yuen, partially directed (The Transporter - 2002). Not too hard when you know that he handled the martial arts and action sequences only!

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USA | Hong Kong



Release Date:

2 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ring of Truth See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$739,723, 4 May 1986

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (2004) (DVD) | (1986) (video) | (International Cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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