Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No Retreat, No Surrender

The IMDB synopsis for No Retreat, No Surrender is the following:

Jason Stillwell summons the ghost of Bruce Lee, who teaches him how to beat people up.

That sounds amazing. Is No Retreat, No Surrender essentially The Karate Kid with the corporeal specter of Bruce Lee playing the part of Mr. Miyagi? Grab a seat and let the nanobots uncover the truth!

  • Offering free karate lessons by phone. = +2pts 
  • Chiding your son for using Jeet Kune Do instead of karate to beat up a kid in your dojo. = -4pts 
  • You know that the evil corporate dojo isn't messing around when they show up to a business negotiation with Jean-Claude Van Damme in tow. = +3pts 
  • Getting your leg nonchalantly broken by Jean-Claude Van Damme while he's wearing a white suit. = -4pts 
  • Introducing R. J., the token black friend, by having him dribble a basketball while riding a bicycle with a built-in boombox. = -12pts 
  • Also, he has a Jheri curl. = -3pts 
  • Introducing the token fat bully by having him eating from the ENTIRE FUCKING CAKE he's just carrying around. = -15pts 
  • Karate > rapping while popping and locking. = +7pts 
  • Ironing on a Bruce Lee decal to a wife beater. = +2pts (It's kinda awesome) 
  • Including a theremin in the soundtrack during a fight scene. = +3pts 
  • Using a power washer to knock a kid off of his skateboard. = +10pts 
  • Bringing flowers to Bruce Lee's grave and then awkwardly introducing yourself to the headstone. = -5pts 
  • The fat bully's intense hatred for R. J. is never explained, even when his cronies ask him point-blank, so we're assuming it's because he's a no-good racist. = -10pts 
  • Deflecting a kick with your moobs. = +3pts 
  • “No retreat, no surrender!” R. J. shouts seconds before he and Jason retreat. = -8pts 
  • Establishing your dojo as the douchey one by pitting a black belt against a red belt for shits and giggles. = -4pts 
  • '80s alert: the enormousness of your hair is proportionate to the smallness of your breasts. = -3pts 
  • That's a goddamn rooster-print couch. = +5pts (We seriously want one) 
  • Bringing your giant trophy to your sister's birthday in lieu of any presents. = -5pts 
  • Wait, how does Jason know this birthday girl? Didn't he just move to Seattle? = -6pts 
  • Getting the cutest bunny rabbit in the world as a gift. = +9pts 
  • Having your ass handed to you by a dude in a poncy pirate shirt. = -4pts 
  • Calling a man whose leg was shattered by Jean-Claude Van Damme a coward for running away. = -3pts
  • Driving a wedge further into the relationship with your son by tearing his Bruce Lee poster in half. = -6pts 
  • R. J. shows up wearing a shower cap so that he can let his soul glow later on in the film. = -2pts 
  • Breaking into an abandoned house to turn it into your makeshift martial arts studio. = +4pts 
  • Jason falls asleep before he can rub one out to the pages of his muscleman magazines. = -6pts (We hate it when that happens) 
  • Being a ghost means that everything you say sounds like it's been dubbed over in post-production. = -7pts
  • Pouring Diet Coke into water as a metaphor for how knowledge works. = -6pts 
  • Training montage! = +4pts 
  • R. J. jumping ass-first into Jason's lap. Get a room, you two! = -3pts 
  • After teaching a whiny suburban honky the true meaning of martial arts, the Ghost of Bruce Lee ascends back to his celestial home without asking after his loved ones. = -10pts 
  • In a scene that lasts for fifteen seconds, R. J. gleefully eats ice cream and listens to headphones while sitting on Jason's crotch as Jason thrusts into the air. We can't make this up. = +30pts 
  • Saving your wussy dad from getting beaten up by middle-aged hillbillies. = +4pts (Seattle hillbillies are a particularly ferocious bunch) 
  • '80s alert: breakdancing interlude! = +5pts 
  • R. J. shows up at the club dressed like Thriller-era Michael Jackson, complete with sparkly disco glove. = +4pts 
  • The evil corporate dojo squares off against the douchebag jock dojo in a tournament that no one cares about. = -4pts 
  • R. J. wearing a Playboy Bunny t-shirt ironically. = +4pts 
  • It wouldn't be a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie if he didn't do the splits for no reason. = -3pts 
  • In an effort to out-douche the representative of the douchey dojo, Jean-Claude Van Damme literally knocks him out. Twice. = -6pts 
  • Jean-Claude is a champion of karate and making ridiculous rage faces. = +4pts 
  • Strangling your opponent with top ropes and then punching out a teenaged girl when she tries to interfere. = -8pts 
  • Having Van Dammed each of his opponents, Jean-Claude rips off his shirt and goes full-zerker on Jason only to lose horribly. = +6pts 
  • '80s alert: the hero is victoriously hoisted into the air until the credits roll. = +3pts
Total score: -35pts
Available: Streaming on YouTube and on loop in McDojos across America

No Retreat, No Surrender is best described as a ridiculous coming-of-age story peppered with awesome karate fights. The plot is as over-the-top as the acting and the characters interact with one another in such bizarre manners that belief cannot be suspended, but the karate action can get entertainingly intense. In other words, you definitely need to be watching this movie right now.

Score Technician: T.J. Geise

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