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.


Diana Lee Inosanto (as D. Lee Inosanto)


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





Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Lee Inosanto ... Karen O'Neil (as D. Lee Inosanto)
Keith David ... The Minister
Melissa Taylor Melissa Taylor ... Lorna
Shane Weingardt Shane Weingardt ... Attacker #1
Mark Anthony Griffin Mark Anthony Griffin ... Attacker #2 (as Mark Griffin)
Ryan J. Parker ... Attacker #3 (as Ryan Parker)
Michael O'Laskey II ... McClain Evans (as Mike O'Laskey)
Ayo Fadeyi Ayo Fadeyi ... Policeman #1 (as Ayodeji Fadeyi)
Curtis Magee-Ortiz Curtis Magee-Ortiz ... Policeman #2
Jeff Liu Jeff Liu ... Matthew
Danny Lopez Danny Lopez ... Picture of Tim
Kerry Knuppe ... Brenda
Jonathan Camp ... Craig Beard
John Campbell ... John
Ben Perkins ... 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) See more »

Filming Locations:

Colorado, USA See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


ON SCREEN: "Civil Rights organizations today, like "The Matthew Shepard Foundation" lead the way in forming educational programs enacting legislation to address the persuasive problem of bullying and violence against gay youths and adults." 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 »


Karen O'Neil: [visiting McClain's hospital bed] We need to talk.
McClain Evans: Wow. We need to talk, huh? Are you sure you're at a safe-enough distance?
Karen O'Neil: McClain, I...
McClain Evans: Was... Was I just a poor, like, charity case for you, Karen? I mean, let's-save-the-homo type thing? I mean, I know my mom asked you to teach me...
Karen O'Neil: McClain...
McClain Evans: ...but, hey...
Karen O'Neil: Wait-wait, please...
McClain Evans: ...let's, let's, let's not get too close, okay, because YOU just might catch something, right?
See more »


References Kung Fu (1972) See more »


Whisper Without Warning
Written & Performed by SANCTION
See more »

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User Reviews

Flashbacks are a tool, not a weapon
9 March 2017 | by bousozokuSee all my reviews

I appreciate the thoughts behind this film. It makes points, if you can find them, that need to be seen and said and realized and remembered.

Following the story takes strong dedication as the numerous flashbacks injure the story and misdirect the message.

Diana Lee Inosanto and Michael O'Laskey II are good but not exactly convincing and they should be. Their fighting is more convincing than their acting.

Sab Shimono and Emily Kuroda delivered realistic performances but they were mostly in the background.

McClain's female friend needs acting lessons.

I admire the take on hate, ignorance, and discrimination.

This is definitely the opposite of a Hollywood movie, but that shouldn't kill it. Regardless of the flaws, it's worth watching two or three times to see what's happening. The ideas were worth making into a movie.

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