Today not only marks 20 years of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s directorial debut The Quest but it’s also the 30th anniversary of the cheestastic classic No Retreat No Surrender which was one of the first movies to star JCVD.
The story tells the tale of an American teenager named Jason Stillwell (McKinney) who learns martial arts from the spirit of Bruce Lee. Stillwell uses these lessons to defend his martial arts dojo against the Russian martial artist Ivan Kraschinsky (Van Damme).
In the movie Jean-Claude’s villain is only one of the many highlights of this little gem.
Let’s not forget that it also stars ‘Bruce Lee’ as Jason Stillwell’s mentor who trains him to become a better fighter so he can not only take on bullies but beat up the Muscles from… Russia in the ring.
It was never a “good” film per se but No Retreat No Surrender sure is entertaining, especially after a few beers. It’s a great ‘Us vs. Them’ movie like Rocky IV and many other movies of this type from the 80’s and surprisingly the fight scenes are actually still pretty decent.
Jean-Claude Van Damme has some fantastic facial expressions (see below) which are up there with some of the best of the 80’s.
I recently bought the extended Blu-ray which I’ve yet to watch but I think I’m in the mood to watch it now.
“This time it will be different. Russian!”