Friday, August 26, 2011

365 Movies Day #151 "Only the Strong"

It's "Lean on Me" meets "Karate Kid". Staple 90s action writer/director Sheldon Letti ("Lionheart", "Double Impact") brings us this CAPOEIRA classic about a former special forces sergeant who returns home to Miami to find his former high school overrun with gang members. With the help of his old teacher, he sets out to clean up the school by teaching capoeira and providing discipline to it's students. If not for the somewhat stylized villains and a few minor plot points this would have been a fantastic drama as well as an action film. As it stands, it's still one of the best martial arts films of that decade and one of the only films to really feature the Brazilian fighting art.

The film stars Mark Dacascos as the protagonist. Mark has had an interesting career filled with mainly B films and unknown stuff which is sad considering he's a gifted martial artist and a pretty decent actor. He's probably best known as reprising Brandon Lee's role for the "Crow" TV series and his recent role on "Hawaii Five-0". You may also recognize him from "Brotherhood of the Wolf" which I'm sure we'll talk about later. Stacey Travis ("HARDWARE", "Earth Girls are Easy") plays the love interest in this one and Geoffrey Lewis, veteran character actor and easily recognizable face, plays Dacascos' mentor. Lewis has been in productions like "Maverick", "The Devil's Rejects" and basically every major TV show for the past 20 years or so.

This film is a fun action film and watching the fight sequences alone is worth the view. Capoeira is such a beautiful style to watch, mixing dance with combat in a way that is elegant and deadly. If you want entertaining and visually cool, check this film out.


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