13 user 15 critic

The Sensei (2008)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Sport | 4 May 2008 (USA)
2:11 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

In 1985 Colorado, a long-absent woman, proficient as a black belt in martial arts, returns home where she agrees, secretly, to train a bullied gay teen.


(as D. Lee Inosanto)


(as D. Lee Inosanto)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Karen O'Neil (as D. Lee Inosanto)
... The Minister
Melissa Taylor ... Lorna
Shane Weingardt ... Attacker #1
Mark Anthony Griffin ... Attacker #2 (as Mark Griffin)
... Attacker #3 (as Ryan Parker)
... McClain Evans (as Mike O'Laskey)
Ayo Fadeyi ... Policeman #1 (as Ayodeji Fadeyi)
Curtis Magee-Ortiz ... Policeman #2
Jeff Liu ... Matthew
Danny Lopez ... Picture of Tim
... Brenda
... Craig Beard
... John
... Buck


After punks at school hand him multiple savage beatings, gay teen McClain Evans, discreetly begins martial arts training with Karen O'Neil, a mysterious woman who had her own cross to bear with the prejudiced and bigoted small town community. As McClain learns to defend himself from hatred and bigotry, the student and his teacher expose several raw nerves in their rural Colorado community. Written by trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You have the right to defend yourself against hatred, and self hatred! See more »


Action | Drama | Sport


Not Rated


Official Sites:

MySpace site | Official site



Release Date:

4 May 2008 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


ON SCREEN: "This film is dedicated to Gilbert L. Johnson and to the Family and Friends of The Sensei Cast and Crew who have been directly affected by the AIDS epidemic." See more »


BNSF locomotives are seen in a sequence set in 1985. This railroad was formed by a merger that took place in 1996. See more »


Mark Corey: I swear I'm no fag, okay? You gotta know this. I'm no homo, okay?
See more »


References Kung Fu (1972) See more »


Whisper Without Warning
Written & Performed by SANCTION
See more »

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User Reviews

Hard hitting in more ways than one
4 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

This film doesn't pull any punches when it comes to calling its characters out on their prejudices. It's title applies to many concepts beyond the simple idea of a martial art mentor as in Karate Kid. The cast is strong and clearly committed to this project that had its challenges in getting completed because if its tenacious story. I have seen this movie at film festivals in New York and Dallas and saw many men and women be entertained, amused and deeply moved to tears as I was. It is sometimes hard to watch the truth on screen and I wouldn't bring a youngster to see it though teenagers are exactly the age that does need to be exposed to this subject. I also really enjoyed the extra features on the DVD because the cast speaks so honestly about why they did this project, about what it meant to them. Their feelings about the subject seem to have inspired their acting which required many of them to play ugly characters, when the interviews reveal they are the opposite in real life.

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