The Perfect Weapon (Arrow Recommends)

The Perfect Weapon (Arrow Recommends)
7 10

"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: When the Korean mob whacks out Jeff's (Jeff Speakman) old friend and mentor, he takes it upon himself to Kenpo the shit out of all kinds of goons to find the baddie responsible.

"I wonder if I could kick your ass. No, not just you. All three of you. " – Jeff

LOWDOWN: Being that Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were doing fairly well at the box office in the early 90's with their fine displays of cinematic ass kicking, Paramount decided to jump on the bandwagon by snagging Ed Parker student and Kenpo master JEFF SPEAKMAN and giving him his own film. Yup, they wanted to have their own in-house chop sockey star. Alas, THE PERFECT WEAPON (FINALLY ON DVD) did "borderline okay" at the box office and after that peak, Speakman's film career started its down hill trek way too early. The 1993 STREET KNIGHT was his follow up. It was actually Cannon's last theatrical release and it could've owned if the budget wasn't slashed throughout the shoot but that's another story for another time... 

But even though things didn't go as planned, Paramount and Speakman still left us with a tight little martial art flick to feast on, one that survived the test of time to still round kick that derriere today. At the end of the limb snap, THE PERFECT WEAPON was really a slew of martial arts film clichés strung together and acting as a springboard for a series of often eye popping hand to hand fights.  We've seen the "you killed my mentor now I f*ck you up" plot device in martial arts films a gazillion times, the indestructible henchman device has been done to death too (then again, Toru Tanaka's Oddjob on steroids performance definitely stayed with me - scary ass dude) and our hero's background as to how he entered the wonderful world of martial arts owed as much to Bloodsport as it did to The Karate Kid. "

But hey! It's a movie called THE PERFECT WEAPON not Gone with the Wind over here! And being that the clichés were executed with more sincerity and flair than the usual martial arts movie norm, they didn't bother me none. Sometimes, the "familiar" is all good if done right - this was one of those times. It surely helped matters that the supporting cast was strong for the most part (you can't go wrong with Mako yo!) and that JEFF SPEAKMAN held his own like a champ acting and martial arts wise. 

Unlike the "mean machine" Steven Seagal or the "flamboyant/funny" Van Damme, Speakman's persona came across as a low key, kindhearted, "good guy". His subdued/quiet strength inclined screen presence reminded me a bit of Chuck Norris and actually helped in selling the drama at hand (which hit home even though it was at times overtly manipulative). Speakman seems harmless, the kind of dude that doesn't want to fight, until he reveals his well oiled up pecs or/and unleashes serious tin-cans of whoopass onto his enemies.

Which brings me to the REAL reason to see THE PERFECT WEAPON - Jeff Speakman doing Kenpo. Seagal introduced Aikido to celluloid and Speakman did the same here for his art. Kenpo is a martial art that mixes rapid-fire blows and fluidity of movement and witnessing Speakman put his "art" into motion was BEYOND impressive. It blew my mind when I saw the film in theaters in 1991 as punk kid and it still blew my mind when I saw it  today to jolt down this drivel as a punk "adult". WOW! 

Granted THE PERFECT WEAPON, kind of lost its steam during its last act, having a hard time topping the KICKASS FIGHTS that it had already put out during the first two blocks. Stupid moves also came into play (throwing a chunk of chain to have a fire torch erupt... please...) and I easily could've done without the 'hip talking" kid sidekick.

Furthermore, some of the acting from the smaller roles left a lot to be desired (that "good" mobster boss...yeesh) and some of Jeff's uber nobleness got a tad on my nerves in places (he hardly kills anybody - he's too noble for that shite) but on the whole, this one rolled out fast, blessed me with astounding fistifcuff bits and sported a likeable, fit and melon bashing lead in Jeff Speakman.

It's a tad of a shame that Speakman never blew up. I know he had health issues at some point (throat cancer) and a planned come back movie called Lido (starring Mickey Rourke and Laurence Fishburne) fell through. On that he at least left us with one solid flick and he should be proud of that. You dig on martial arts flicks, this ones for you!



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