For the MST3K production, see MST3KL - No Retreat, No Surrender.

No Retreat, No Surrender is a 1986 martial arts/action film directed by Corey Yuen. It was used as the main feature in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live - The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour.

Plot

Jason Stillwell is a young karate student and Bruce Lee fanatic who trains in his father Tom's dojo in Sherman Oaks, California. One night after a training session, the dojo is visited by members of an organized crime syndicate looking to take over all the dojos in the country. After refusing to join the organization, Tom's leg is broken by a Soviet martial artist named Ivan Kraschinsky, one of the boss' hired thugs.

The Stillwell family relocates to Seattle, where Jason meets R.J. Madison and they become good friends. Jason reunites with his old girlfriend Kelly Reilly, who lives in the neighborhood with her brother, local black belt Ian. Despite this, Jason has a hard time adjusting, as he and R.J. are constantly beaten and harassed by the local bullies led by an obese boy named Scott and arrogant martial artist Dean Ramsay. After getting beaten up and humiliated by Scott and Dean at Kelly's birthday party, Jason visits the grave of Bruce Lee and beseeches him for aid.

Later that night, Jason and Tom have a heated argument over Jason's involving himself in fights. When Jason calls his father a coward for running away from the syndicate, Tom destroys some of Jason's Bruce Lee memorabilia in the garage. Distraught, Jason consults with R.J., who suggests that Jason move all of his training gear into an abandoned house nearby. Exhausted from the move, Jason falls asleep at the house, but is suddenly awakened by the soul of Bruce Lee, who appears to Jason and begins to train him. Under Lee's tutelage, Jason goes from a below average fighter to a superior martial artist, at one point able to fend off several thugs who are assaulting his father in a parking lot.

Later on, Jason, Tom, and R.J. attend an annual full-contact kickboxing tournament featuring teams from Seattle and New York. Before the contest can get under way, however, the crime syndicate interrupts and makes a wager that none of the Seattle fighters can defeat Ivan. While Dean and Frank are easily dispatched by the Soviet, Ivan's last opponent, Ian, makes an impressive showing, forcing Ivan to resort to dirty tactics to defeat him. With Ian helplessly entangled in the ring ropes, Scott attempts to bite Ivan in the leg, but the Soviet dispatches him with a headbutt. Kelly tries to stop Ivan by hitting him with a stool, but the Soviet easily disarms her and grabs her by the hair. Angered by this, Jason spurs into action, charges to the ring and attacks Ivan by kicking him in the face much to the delight of the crowd. Utilizing his advanced training, Jason is finally able to conquer his nemesis and earns the respect of his peers and family. The frustrated crime syndicate members leave Seattle, leaving Ivan behind as he suffers from humiliation from his loss against Jason.

Cast

Notes

  • This was Jean-Claude Van Damme's feature film debut.
  • Kurt McKinney learned about auditions from a notice in the now-defunct Drama-Logue newspaper. By the time he arrived at the studio, the lead character was the only role left.
  • The scene with Kurt McKinney doing two-finger push-ups was filmed with wires to hoist McKinney up and down. The trees in the background cover up the wire.
  • Tai Chung Kim had been a stand-in for Bruce Lee in the films Game of Death (1978) and Game of Death II (1981).
  • In one scene scripted but not filmed, R.J. accidentally trips Scott in the school cafeteria causing Scott to spill his food. This would explain why Scott hated R.J.
  • Jason calls Bruce Lee's ghost "Lee Dai Goh", "Big Brother Lee" in Cantonese.
  • This film became a RiffTrax presentation in 2015.

References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.