Tag Archives: Jean-Claude Van Damme

No Retreat, No Surrender

Jason Stillwell, a Bruce Lee fan, is beaten numerous times and trains from the ghost of Lee. Jason then must use his newly acquired skills to save Seattle from a crime syndicate, whose top martial artist is the deadly Ivan

Rating: 2 out of 10

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where terrible movie begins, and movie camp ends. Such is the case with “No Retreat, No Surrender.”

This is truly a laughably bad movie. A boy’s father has his dojo taken from him, they split town to Seattle, only to find he runs into trouble with local kids. Stop me if you’ve heard this one… cough… Karate Kid… cough. So he takes up karate lessons with the ghost of Bruce Lee after visiting his grave and begging him for guidance. Yup, couldn’t make this up.

Throw in terrible acting, unfocused directing, and a love story wedged in with a montage of corny cliches, and you have a mess of a movie. No bad movie would be complete without a stereotypical, token black best friend who raps and break dances, a fat bully who shovels down burgers and cake, along with a Russian bad guy played by Jean Claud Van Dam who he fights in an anti-climactic ending. It’s the perfect a wretched movie that jumps the boundaries of skill and storytelling into a place where there is a complete lack of imagination and narrative.

There are moments that are really funny because of how bad they are, especially when the token black friend busts some cheesy-ass rhymes while the scene cuts to break-dancing sequences that obviously use a dance double. This is the poor man’s “Karate Kid,” without any endearing qualities. I with  I could give “No Retreat, No Surrender” a roundhouse kick to the face.


Policeman Max Walker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) just watched his wife (Mia Sara) die when their home is blown up by criminals. When he goes back in time to stop a corrupt senator (Ron Silver), he learns that his wife’s death was actually an attack on him — for something he hadn’t even done yet. Peter Hyams (End of Days) directs this action-thriller centered on time travel, specifically from 1994 to 2004.

Rating: 6 out of 10

I learned a valuable lesson during this film that may one day save my life. If I am ever in a position where I decide to defend the world by traveling back in time and preventing time criminals from stealing and killing and am somehow double crossed by a politician that thinks I’ve gotten too close to exposing his secret agenda and he sends goons to my house to kill me, the most effective way for me to avoid electrocution from spilled water on the floor about to get hit by a taser gun is to jump up while in my boxers and do a full split across the counters in my kitchen. So, thank you Jean Claude for providing me with this valuable information.

All kidding aside, this is actually a pretty decent action film despite some of its cheesy ridiculousness. It moves along at a brisk pace and has a better than average script as far as these campy flicks go. So, if you’re in the mood for dumb fun, here you go.

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Why film adaptations of video games don’t work

With the release of “Price of Persia: the Sands of Time,” we were left with the question: Why in God’s name would you make a movie about a Middle Eastern guy with an enchanted knife that can climb walls?

The games are cool, but this was not a game that left us yearning for anything more than a sequel to the game, which they did. And this was by far the biggest film production adapted from a video game with a $200 million budget, name recognition from Jake Gyllenhaal, and production by Jerry Bruckheimer. They’re either going to lose their shirt on this movie or a lot of respect, but they wouldn’t be the first.

Video games work in and of themselves because you can stretch the imagination and dumb down story lines a bit because it’s a game. It’s is not a transcendent medium that will work in books or film because we expect more from them — or at least some of us do. The dialogue in games is cornball at best, and the story lines are a means of getting us through a game, but don’t challenge us with a narrative the same way film and books do.

But for whatever reason, there is a host of directors and studio executives who want to cash in on the popularity of a video game without considering that audiences won’t pay to see a bad movie. Sure, there will be some die-hard fans of the game that will pay to see it, but the rest of us need a reason — like good plot, direction and acting.

We’ve been given a laundry list of video game movies that don’t work, and many have had big names but became even bigger flops, like “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” ” Super Mario Bros.” “Resident Evil,” “House of the Dead,” and “Bloodrayne,” just to name a few. Please, please, please stop making these movies! Give the money to a charity, like scholarships for acting schools or the Please Assassinate Michael Bay Fund. Don’t give us any more movies like “Wing Commander” starring Freddie Prinze Jr. or “Street Fighter” starring Kylie Minogue and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The following clips pay tribute to the fine filmmakers that brought us classics like “Mortal Kombat” and “Postal”:

Mortal Kombat: Epic fail. Here’s a tasty clip with awesome dialogue and a monster that grunts for several minutes at a time.

Super Mario Bros. Movie… sigh. Can’t believe they got Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper.

Postal…. ugh. I think of all the hungry people that could have been fed with the budget of this movie.

Here’s a nice Top 10 Worst list of video games from GameTrailers.com