This week we watched the 1986 Corey Yuen film No Retreat, No Surrender, and it was amazing.
First of all, we forgot to mention what an amazing soundtrack score this movie had. If you’re a fan of 80s synth, electro, or rousing rock anthems about doing your best, check it out.
Basically, organized crime is taking over dojos to use them as fronts. Here is the guy who is organized crime (although it seems like wardrobe thought the director wanted an organized crime costume from the 1920s) with his muscle, including a very young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is credited simply as “Ivan, the Russian.” They challenge the main character’s father to a fight, and it does not go well.
So, his family’s dojo fallen to the mob, the main character packs up and moves in a suspiciously familiar (within 80s karate movies at least) conveyance to … Seattle.
Here’s a fat guy, who you know is a bad guy because he’s fat. It was the style at the time. That is a whole cake he’s eating, along with his box of Ding Dongs and a Coke. Not even a diet Coke.
Here’s the main character’s new friend, who is wonderful. He breakdances, raps, plays basketball, skateboards, and repairs romantic kerfuffles.
They spend a lot of time whining at Jewish Bruce Lee’s grave.
When the party scene began, I realized this is my new favorite movie.
What’s that you say? It’s the eighties and if there’s going to be a pool in my movie I have to have a fat guy cannonball into it? Coming right up, sir.
The main character is not 100% likable. He gets a little handsy with his lady friend when things aren’t going his way.
But the ghost or hallucination or homeless guy who looks like Bruce Lee (at least in as far as they’re both Asian) helps our main character get his stuff together.
He also gives him some supplies.
After some hardcore training,
He gets his girl back.
The fat guy gets what’s coming to him (no, not a trans ischemic attack):
We get our Van Damme money shot:
And the good guy saves the day by smashing Van Damme’s face into oblivion.
Once you’ve enjoyed the podcast and written us a massively long and personal email that we can read on the air, head over the audio commentary tracks page and listen to us watch the movie, hopefully while you watch it. If you’re the slightest bit internet savvy, you might be able to locate this film on a certain u-shaped tubular video site.
When you’re all through with both, write us another email and then go play outside. Or go find your local Karate dojo and join up. Thanks for joining us!
P.S., Last week (or the week before?) Dave made a joke about a ‘laprador’ which was a dog that you could put your laptop on and use as a desk. My friend Cleo drew one for us: