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The Martial Arts Kid (2015)

Not Rated | | Action, Family | 18 September 2015 (USA)
When a troubled teen from Cleveland experiences bullying in Cocoa Beach, he soon learns Martial Arts to gain confidence and self-defense skills.


Michael Baumgarten


Michael Baumgarten (screenplay), Adam W. Marsh (screenplay)
3 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Wilson ... Glen (as Don 'The Dragon' Wilson)
Cynthia Rothrock ... Cindy
Jansen Panettiere ... Robbie
Kathryn Newton ... Rina
Matthew Ziff ... Bo
T.J. Storm ... Coach Laurent Kaine
Chuck Zito ... Frank
Brandon Tyler Russell ... Lenny
Kayley Stallings ... Katie
Lorraine Ziff ... Peggy
Natasha Blasick ... Nika
Robert Peters ... Horace
Billy Smith ... Derek
Victoria Vodar Victoria Vodar ... Miss Criss
Danny Rawley ... Kevin


Robbie Oakes is a delinquent who has acted out after the death of his mother. Tired of his antics, his grandmother sends Robbie to Cocoa Beach, Florida to live with his Aunt Cindy and Uncle Glen. On his first night, Robbie meets Rina at a local convenience store, but is bullied by Rina's boyfriend Bo. The next day after school, Robbie meets Cindy at her beach-side restaurant, where they are confronted by another bully. Cindy reveals her martial arts skills and Robbie, deciding to turn his life around, turns to Glen to teach him martial arts to begin that change and learn to defend himself. As Robbie's attitude and fore manner truly changes, he still has Bo to contend with, especially after Rina decides to date Robbie. Things come ahead when Bo's martial arts teacher, Kaine, is revealed to be an old friend of Glen's, but their difference in what martial arts is about makes them enemies. When Rina is bullied by Bo, Robbie has had enough and decides to do something once and for all. Written by Albert Valentin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Family


Not Rated


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The movie was financed in-part by a Kickstarter campaign. See more »


Glen: [sees Robbie washing his car] Good morning.
Robbie: Morning.
Glen: Did Aunt Cindy ask you to do this?
Robbie: No.
Glen: You know, you can wash on, wash off all you want. But you're not driving any of our cars.
Robbie: I know. No wax, right?
See more »


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Written by Martin Blasick
Produced by Martin Blasick
Performed by Martin Blasick
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User Reviews

A Review from Black Belt Magazine
2 November 2015 | by anitaclaySee all my reviews

Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future Is The Martial Arts Kid a knockdown, drag-out fight flick in which Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock lay waste to gang bangers and drug dealers? Nope. It's more accurate to describe it as a family film in which an ordinary teen discovers the meaning of the martial arts.

However, because I'm a few years past being a teenager, it wasn't the movie's portrayal of the trials and tribulations of teen life in the 21st century that appealed to me most. What I really enjoyed was the way the movie paid homage to the men and women who helped spread the martial arts in America. Both in front of and behind the camera, the stars were out in force.

Wilson and Rothrock may have retired from competition decades ago, but they still can throw down — and they get a few chances to do exactly that. Among other encounters, Wilson takes on martial artist T.J. Storm, and Rothrock dispatches some baddies on the beach. The man who choreographed those close encounters is veteran martial artist, actor and stuntman James Lew, perhaps best known for his work in Big Trouble in Little China.

Another martial arts veteran contributed her expertise to the making of the movie: Cheryl Wheeler served as co-producer. You probably recognize her name. She's a former Black Belt columnist and WKA kickboxing champ who's done stunt work in scores of movies — including fight-doubling for Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 4, which featured one of my favorite male-on-female fights.

As I mentioned, Wilson and Rothrock are center stage in The Martial Arts Kid, where they're surrogate parents for troubled teen Robbie (Jansen Panettiere). Yes, critics fired a few shots at Wilson and Rothrock's performances in the early years of their acting careers, but their skills have improved substantially. In fact, their scenes with Robbie are among the most engaging parts of the movie.

I also loved the film's nods to history. I'm talking about things like Rothrock's character hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where the star actually grew up. And things like the dojo her character co-owns hosting seminars with real martial arts luminaries like Pete "Sugarfoot" Cunningham, Gerry Blanck, Christine Bannon-Rodrigues, Olando Rivera and Jeff Smith. And details like using old competition photos of Rothrock to adorn the walls of said dojo.

The positive messages that run through The Martial Arts Kid make it perfect for youngsters who are in the martial arts, as well as those who should be. But there are plenty of gems that make it fun to watch even if you're a generation removed from that target audience.

— Robert W. Young Editor-in-Chief, Black Belt magazine

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