Bullet Points: No Retreat, No Surrender 2
What exactly are you looking for in an action movie? That is a good question you should ask yourself before you head over to Redbox or wherever it is that you get movies nowadays. I like to see a charismatic hero take on a badass villain surrounded by unique landscapes and nameless people to get annihilated. I’m a man of simple tastes. It’s because of these tastes that I’ve developed a deep admiration for action movies of the 1980’s. They adhered to some very simple rules and they produced some really amazing action stars. Whether you know him or not, Loren Avedon is one of those action stars. He hasn’t made any classics like First Blood or Predator but the man can really carry an action scene. So it’s with great pleasure that I wish Loren Avedon a happy birthday by reviewing a classic rescue mission film which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, it’s No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder!
The Gist: When American Scott Wylde travels to Bangkok to meet his girlfriend and her family for the first time, he finds himself smack dab in the middle of a war between her rich father and a Cambodian group aligned with the Soviet Red Menace. When his girlfriend gets kidnapped, Scott teams up with his old friend Mac and a fast-talking woman named Terry to get her back.
The Cast: While this movie is title No Retreat, No Surrender 2, it has absolutely nothing to do with the first film in the series when it comes to the cast or the story. Say what you will about the departure of Jean Claude Van Damme and Kurt Mckinney but I, for one, and glad that they moved on and allowed for Loren Avedon and Matthias Hues to step in and make a damn good 80’s action flick. As the poster says, “It’s not a rematch…It’s WAR!” If that line doesn’t get you excited, then I don’t know what will. There is something downright charming about Avedon in all of his early films. He isn’t what I would consider a “good” actor but he’s very entertaining and his fight scenes are pretty awesome. Max Thayer plays his good buddy Mac Jarvis and he is absolute gold. He seems to be the only really talented actor in the bunch. His character reminds me of the “Winston Taylor” character in the movie Kickboxer; a Vietnam vet who stays in the area and runs guns and whatever else might make him a dime. Cynthia Rothrock is great too. Her fighting is amazing and even with all of the stunt women and CGI in the world, she still kicks the shit out of any of these pretend female action stars of today.
I just wish this kind of stuff was still in style…
The Villain: It takes a while for the main villain to appear in the film but once he does he really makes his presence known. According to writer Roy Horan, Matthias Hues couldn’t fight a lick when he was originally cast but he worked day and night with Hwang Jang Lee and by the time he was to film his fight scenes he was moving like a pro. The role of the Russian was originally meant for JCVD, a Belgian, but when he declined to take on the role it was filled by Hues, a German. That right there is pure 80’s gold! The Soviets kind of pop up out of nowhere in the movie. Sulin is kidnapped by some Thai or Vietnamese guys, and then all of a sudden she’s in some Soviet encampment in the jungles of Cambodia. Just accept it. How evil is Matthias Hues as the Soviet leader Yuri? He beats the crap out of a guy, pretends to release him, them tosses him into a pit filled with crocodiles! That is some evil shit!!
Hues definitely wasn’t afraid to pop his shirt off at a moments notice.
The Action: I had been in a real movie watching funk as of late but this flick really brought me out of it. Was it that good? No. But it was as entertaining a film as you’ll find based on the subject matter and in recent years Loren Avedon has become a real favorite of mine. The action scenes take this film into awesome territory for me. The fights between Avedon and everybody else are really fun and Hues is an absolute monster in his three fight scenes. The runtime is surprisingly long for a movie like this and there are a shitload of explosions! The budget for explosives must have been pretty high cause everything from boats, to buildings, to canvas tents explode in fiery balls of awesomeness. There is one other thing in this movie that won me over from the moment it appeared on screen; grappling hooks. I thought that I’d have used them way more in my adult life than I have to this point.
There is some truly excellent action to be had in NRNS 2.
Take it Home:
- Finish Him: Is there any better way to kill the main baddie than to drag him behind a jeep draped in a Soviet flag directly into a pit filled with man-eating crocodiles? It was rhetorical but the answer is yes, you then have him attempt to pull himself out, thereby pulling said jeep onto him before shooting it until it explodes. Genius!
- MORTAL KOMBAT!!: Cynthia Rothrock’s character was the primary inspiration for the character of Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat.
- My advice: In the event of a mano a mano showdown in the finale of your film, feel free to pick up any one of the rifles littering the battlefield and shoot the other man instead of getting the shit beat out of your for 9 minutes.
- Favorite quotes: I couldn’t quite decide which was my favorite, Cynthia Rothrock’s character tells someone to “eat shit and die” at one point but early in the film a pimp tries to get Avedon to take one of his girls and mentions something about a “special price for your big dong”. Both are great.
- Is it just me?: 1987 Cynthia Rothrock puts me in the mood to bone.