No Retreat, No Surrender is the perfect companion to last night’s movie, The Dragon Lives Again. I knew Brucesploitation existed, but I did not know the extent of how much it heavily skewed towards bringing Bruce back from the grave. And Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave doesn’t count of course, because that actually has little to do with Bruce Lee. And by the way, have you noticed in all the world there has never been a Lee impersonator who looked one damn thing like Bruce Lee? Suck it, people who think all Asians look alike!
Meanwhile, in this movie, Bruce Lee returns as a ghost for some training montages with his biggest fan, a hot but sort of loser-y kid named Jason. Jason’s dad owned a karate studio in L.A. until the mob tried to take it over, and dad’s leg was broken in the fight by Van Damme (here playing a Russian in his film debut). Rather than let the mob use their dojo for a front, the family both retreats and surrenders to Seattle where Jason gets his ass kicked by bullies. He visits Bruce’s grave to beg for help and eventually prevails.
Besides the montages, this film also features some unknown but great 80s tunes, a Michael Jackson dance contest, and some of the worst acting I have ever seen. However, this is directed by Corey Yuen and choreographed by Yuen and Hoi Mang, which essentially makes this a Hong Kong movie. And do we care about acting ability in our Hong Kong actioners? I don’t. Basically, this combo of 80s teen underdog movie with HK fighting and a supernatural Bruce Lee subplot is the movie I’ve been waiting my whole life to see. I love you, movie!