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Review The Perfect Weapon (1991): Wonderful martial arts film!

genre: martial arts, action, crime

In a time where Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and many others reigned you had a few genuine martial artists trying to make it in Hollywood as well. One of them was Jeff Speakman. And he wass magnificent in one movie and then just fell into B film oblivion. The Perfect Weapon is that one movie.

As you might expect the plot of this martial arts film is pretty standard stuff. Jeff's mentor Kim (played by Mako) is being threatened by one of the families of the Korean mafia. Jeff Sanders (Jeff Speakman) comes into action to help out his mentor and gets more than he bargained for. Like always Hollywood resorts to the usual Asian actors to play Koreans whether they are or aren't. This story naturally is quite predictable. However underneath there is a more interesting plot line involving the spirit and philosophy of Kenpo Karate. It's this plot that appealed to me the most and ends up being the most rewarding. The standard stuff is just to tie together the many excellent fights featuring Jeff Speakman showing what Kenpo Karate is about. These fights are truly exhilarating and exciting to watch. Especially when the sticks are used. Such speed and force! 

Of course one could say that this film could have deepened the plot and the drama but in a way I liked this more since it is more realistic. Estranged families don't suddenly make up and everything is OK. It takes time to build up trust and more. Plus it would not have added that much more to the film. I like that the duration of The Perfect Weapon is short. At least back then they knew not to artificially fill up the film with unnecessary elements that in the long run could hurt the film more than benefit. I think we can credit director Mark DiSalle to keep it tight and strong like Kickboxer.

Overall The Perfect Weapon is a wonderful martial arts flick that has aged quite well and perhaps even can be considered a cult classic. Although it is far less iconic than Kickboxer. Still definitely a must watch for action fans.

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