“No Retreat No Surrender” forever will have a place in martial arts cinema history because this was the debut of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Director Corey Yuen gets credit for introducing the world to the signature Van Damme spinning split kick, along with his incredible flexibility.
The plot begins in a California Dojo where sensei Tom Stillwell (Timothy D. Baker) is approached by gangsters who want to take over his school. When he refuses, he’s attacked by the gangster’s henchmen. After defeating one henchmen, Ivan Kraschinsky (Van Damme) steps in and cripples Sensei Stillwell in front of his students and teenage son Jason (Kurt McKinney). Prompting Stillwell to move to Seattle with Jason, who continues training in secret, despite his father’s disapproval. When Jason gets bullied by local martial artists, the spirit of Bruce Lee (Kim Tai-chung) appears to Jason and teaches him Jeet Kundo. But little does Jason know he will cross paths with Kraschinsky again.
Look to see plenty of steady long-shot (full body) camera angles showcasing fabulous martial arts technique. Van-Damme comes out in his rookie outing like a hungry blue-chip contender. Plenty of spin-hook kicks, side-kicks, sweeps, elbows, and punches. Truly Van-Damme has an intensity that is rarely seen on the screen.
NYX of beyondhollywood.com gives N.R.N.S : “a good grade for being incredibly entertaining”
“No Retreat No Surrender” is an awesome martial arts classic. If you love eighties action cinema, this classic is for you!