(director/writer: Y. K. Kim and Richard Park; screenwriter: story by Y. K. Kim and Richard Park/Vincent Hirsch/Joseph Diamond; cinematographer: Maximo Munzi; editor: ; music: Jon McCallum; cast: Y. K. Kim (Mark), Vincent Hirsch (John), Joseph Diamond (Jack), Maurice Smith (Jim), Angelo Janotti (Tom), Kathy Collier (Jane), William Ergle (Jeff), Siyung Jo (Yashito); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Y. K. Kim; Drafthouse Films; 1987)
“Just a dreadful but naively entertaining made in America martial arts film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Just a dreadful but naively entertaining made in America martial arts film. It’s directed, produced and starring immigrant Korean filmmaker Y. K. Kim(who runs a Martial Arts school in Orlando Florida). It’s poorly acted (but hilarious because the actors are so serious over this nonsense). The cornball story is by Y. K. Kim and Richard Park is a mess. The muddled screenplay is written by Kim, Vincent Hirsch and Joseph Diamond. It climaxes with a deadly street fight between the rock band called Dragon Sound and a drug-running motorcycle ninja gang from Miami. The tagline is: Survival is the ultimate test. I’d be hard pressed to point out a more absurd and brutal tae kwon do film. It’s message, after showing gratuitous violence throughout, is “Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace.”
The action takes place in Orlando, where the popular night spot’s scummy drug-dealing owner Jeff (William Ergle) fires a band and replaces them with a local band, into tae kwon do, called Dragon Sound. Their older Korean leader Mark (Y. K. Kim) is a tae kwon do blackbelt. The other members are his martial arts students and attend college during the day: Jack (Joseph Diamond), Tom (Angelo Janotti), Jim (Maurice Smith) and John (Vincent Hirsch). Everyone in the synth rock group is an orphan and they live together. The close-knit group of multiracial youngsters stick together no matter the danger. Their new singer is college coed Jane (Kathy Collier), the boyfriend of John and the sister of the vile Jeff.
The fired rival gang hires a biker gang to beat Dragon Sound up, but instead get their asses kicked. The dramatics take us to more street battles and of Jeff killed by the Dragon Sound in one such street fight. Jeff’s Miami connected ninja gang ally vows revenge and goes biker-style to Orlando for the rumble.
Besides the terrible pop music and the dumb dialogue, one gets to see a head decapitation by a samurai sword wielder. It’s the sort of film that proves that just because you think you can make a film, doesn’t mean that you can.
REVIEWED ON 6/15/2015 GRADE: C