A connect-the-dots script and charisma-free cast doom MY SAMURAI, a forgettable martial-arts picture that went straight to video.
12-year-old Peter McCrea (John Kallo) rarely spends time with his widowed father James (Terry O'Quinn), a busy businessman. To make a man out of Peter, dad makes him take tae kwon do lessons from local master Young Park (Julian Lee). Peter hates his classes, and as he sulks outside the dojo, has
the misfortune to glimpse corrupt cops and their criminal pals dumping an informant's body. The bad guys' boss, the nefarious Mr. Tszing (Mako), orders the boy witness eliminated, but noble Young Park fends off the attack. He and Peter go on the run, along with McCrea's pretty, prissy secretary
Deborah (Lynne Hart).
They hide out in an unconvincing L.A. ghetto, clashing repeatedly with the Tszing mob and the Birds of Paradise, a street gang of uncertain sexual orientation who look like future barbarians from some MAD MAX ripoff. Our heroes find allies in a hip inner-city priest (former NFL star Charles
"Bubba" Smith), a hooker with a heart of gold, and the dozen or so remaining LAPD officers who are still honest. Eventually, James McCrae learns to be a more attentive parent, Peter learns to respect tae kwon do, and Tszing and his minions are defeated.
This is the sort of movie in which the villains repeatedly corner the good guys and, rather than killing them, stage one-on-one showdowns between the resident martial-arts champ and various high-kicking henchman. Though a succession of big, mean thugs spar with Young Park, the only truly
fearsome character is a razor-sharp West Indian killing machine named Jimmy Bongo (Christophe). So quick and lethal are his moves that they're not even made silly by the dubbed-in whooshing noises when his long arms and legs scythe through the air. The filmmakers wisely show Jimmy thwarted by the
diminutive Young Park through underhanded cunning rather than strength.
Julian Lee's fighting skills outweigh his acting gifts, but the performances by established players, Mako and O'Quinn included, are equally undistinguished. During breaks in the action, Lee gives the usual sermons about the martial arts--they aren't about violence, but self-fulfillment,
spiritual authority, and so on--before clobbering more bad guys. The bloodbath quotient isn't high, though, and one suspects the filmmakers had a family audience in mind for this bland concoction. (Violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: A connect-the-dots script and charisma-free cast doom MY SAMURAI, a forgettable martial-arts picture that went straight to video. 12-year-old Peter McCrea (John Kallo) rarely spends time with his widowed father James (Terry O'Quinn), a busy businessman.… (more)