6.4/10
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85 user 45 critic

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)

An officially "dead" cop is trained to become an extraordinary unique assassin in service of the US President.

Director:

Guy Hamilton

Writers:

Richard Sapir (novel), Warren Murphy (novel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Ward ... Remo Williams
Joel Grey ... Chiun
Wilford Brimley ... Harold Smith
J.A. Preston ... Conn MacCleary
George Coe ... Gen. Scott Watson
Charles Cioffi ... George Grove
Kate Mulgrew ... Maj. Rayner Fleming
Patrick Kilpatrick ... Stone
Michael Pataki ... Jim Wilson
Davenia McFadden Davenia McFadden ... N.Y. Traffic Control Cop
Cosie Costa Cosie Costa ... Pvt. Damico
J.P. Romano J.P. Romano ... Boomer #1
Joel Kramer ... Boomer #2 (as Joel J. Kramer)
Frank Ferrara ... Boomer #3
Marv Albert ... Sports Announcer (voice)
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Storyline

An NYPD cop is 'killed' in an accident. The death is faked, and he is inducted into the organization CURE, dedicated to preserving the constitution by working outside of it. Remo is to become the enforcement wing (assassin) of CURE, and learns an ancient Korean martial art from Chiun, the Master of Sinanju. Based on the popular pulp series "The Destroyer," by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is an Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not get away with it." This Commandment has a name: REMO WILLIAMS. See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Remo Williams and the Secret of Sinanju See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$14,393,902, 31 December 1985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joel Grey was offered the role of Chiun several times before accepting it. He kept turning it down because he didn't think he was the right kind of actor for the part, and he had no previous martial arts experience (and received none once he was cast). What changed Grey's mind was a meeting with Carl Fullerton, the film's make-up artist. Grey said he would take the part if Fullerton could successfully make Grey look like an 80-year-old Korean. Fullerton gave it his best shot. He got an Oscar nomination for his work. See more »

Goofs

In the pressure chamber at Mount Promise, Remo thrusts a finger through the center of Stone's gas mask; in subsequent shots, the gas mask is undamaged. See more »

Quotes

Chiun: Place your hands behind your head.
[Remo complies, then doubles over from a blow from Chiun, too fast to be seen ]
Chiun: I did not say keep them there. Your reflexes are pitiful! The seasons move faster.
See more »

Connections

References Saboteur (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Remo's Theme (What If)
Performed by Tommy Shaw
Written by Tommy Shaw and Richie Cannata
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very entertaining, yet often misunderstood.
10 July 2003 | by antigravitonSee all my reviews

This movie inspires different reactions from people, depending on the expectations they bring to their first viewing. It's a semi-serious, semi-spoof Action/Comedy/Crime/Thriller/Martial Arts movie that doesn't fit neatly into any category. It is tremendously entertaining, as long as you aren't expecting something totally serious or totally comical. This movie is often misunderstood, and that, coupled with its somewhat-lower-than-average-budget look, may explain why there was no sequel to the movie, which was subtitled in the US "The Adventure Begins." It wasn't quite big-budget enough to satisfy people wanting to see a competitor for James Bond, and it wasn't quite like any other movie enough for people to "get it" right off. Taken at face value as an action movie, therefore, Remo Williams isn't all that noteworthy. However, viewed as an entertaining mixture of action and fun, the movie delivers quite well.

Fred Ward does a fine job as Remo, especially in his scenes with Chiun, his Shinanju master played fantastically by Joel Grey. Some have argued that Ward was too old for the role, which would be debatable even if this were a straight-out action movie; given its true nature, Ward was an excellent choice, and the dynamic between him and Grey makes for some of the most entertaining sequences in the movie.

Joel Grey's Asian "sensei" character stereotype can be forgiven in the context of the semi-spoof, tongue-in-cheek nature of the movie. Chiun's humor shines through his sarcastic commentary about America and Remo; the success of the humor relies on the Korean Shinanju master's strength and ability. Chiun is the most powerful, competent, intelligent, and witty character in the movie. There is also the pleasant story line of Chiun passing on to Remo the legacy of his Shinanju wisdom and knowledge... and wit.

People have also criticized Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager) for her performance of Major Rayner Fleming. Overall, her performance is very good, and appropriate for the character, especially before her character meets Remo at Mount Promise. I am still somewhat disappointed, however, to see Major Fleming change from a competent military career-woman into a bewildered character smitten by Remo and Chiun and carried along in their wake. In the role of the army major, Fleming is competent, witty, and believable: an appropriate portrayal of a mid-1980's woman military officer. The directors could have let the character carry that competence through to the end of the movie.

The movie does have some great action sequences, especially the chase around the scaffolding surrounding the Statue of Liberty (remember when they were remodeling it, back in the 80's?), and it is very funny in many places. (See the "memorable quotes" page.) If you watch the movie expecting to have fun and to be entertained, if you suspend your disbelief just a little and don't take it too seriously, you will really enjoy it. It has just enough action, just enough "buddy movie" dynamic, just enough tongue-in-cheek humor, just enough spoof, just enough comic-book type fantasy elements, and just enough enigmatic and amusing martial arts to make it terrifically entertaining. Watch it with your friends on a lazy Saturday afternoon, have some laughs, and be entertained. You'll be glad you did.


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