Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best of the Best (1989)

"There is a kind of inner strength you never know you have until it's all you have"

Alex Grady (Eric Roberts) is a single father working at an auto factory and barely getting by. The only thing that matters is taking care of his son Walter. Grady, a former Tae Kwon Do/ mixed martial artist receives an invitation to tryout for the US National Team. With support from his mother and son Grady decides to give it a try. Coach of the team, Frank Couzo (James Earl Jones), sees talent in Alex and accepts him after a series of rigourus competitions. Alex is joined on the team with four others, Tommy Lee (Phillip Rhee), Travis Brickley (the late Christopher Penn), Virgil Keller (John Dye), Sonny Grasso (David Agresta), and assistant coach/spiritual advisor Catherine Wade (Sally Kirkland). All members of the team are completely different and each brings his own style of fighting to the table. Couzo's motto is " A team is not a team unless you give a damn about one another!" Team USA is set to face Korea for the title, a group that has spent their entire lives training to fight. For being made in the 80's this is one of the best mixed martial arts movies ever. You can't help but to connect with these characters. Roberts giving the best performance of his career, comedy relief from Penn, and Rhee playing his part with such conviction and who is undeniably concerned about facing his opponent, Dae Han who had killed his brother in a previous competetion while he was a child. The story is uplifting, the acting is genuine, and one of the best action movies of the late 80's that will make make you want to stand up and cheer. 4/5 -tom

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