Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins

"We need you. Our cops are corrupt, our judges bought, our politicians up for sale. Everywhere you look, slime is on the loose. You're going to be the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not get away with it."   - Smith

release year: 1985
genre: action/adventure
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/22/15 and 5/9/04

synopsis: An average guy gets recruited by a top-secret spy organization, and receives some mysterious but effective training.

impressions: This is based on the Destroyer series of action novels, which number in the hundreds and are written by several different people. No matter. This movie is fairly true to the original concept: take a tough cop with no family, fake his death, give him super training, and turn him loose on various bad guys. I really liked the training scenes - a good mix of almost-plausible feats and humor. The overall plot - something involving an evil weapons contractor and the Army - is a little weak, but this is excusable. This movie didn't do well and never launched the franchise it was intended to, and that's due to some random plot holes, but it's still a lot of fun to watch.

something this movie has that no other movie has: An ancient Korean man who can dodge bullets.

acting: Fred Ward is good as the title character, a guy who at first can't believe what's happening, but slowly and grudgingly comes to accept and enjoy it. Joel Grey is the star of the show, though, as the wizened martial-arts master Chiun; he's serious one minute, funny the next. Wilford Brimley appears as the head of their secret organization. Kate Mulgrew (later to be Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager) makes a pre-fame appearance as an inquisitive Army major.

early appearance alert #1: Reginald VelJohnson, who would go on to be the cop on the ground in Die Hard, appears for a few seconds as a bewildered ambulance driver here, at 13:00.

early appearance alert #2: Patrick Kilpatrick, who would go on to be the evil Sandman in Death Warrant, was an evil henchman here.

final word: A worthy book adaption, and a good action/humor movie in its own right.

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