The third entry in the No Retreat No Surrender series is a marked improvement over the previous sequel. The story this time around is a lot more fun and the film has a nice selfdepricating manner that adds to the enjoyment of this chop-sockey action picture. Returning star Loren Avedon is Will Alexander a karate teacher at odds with his brother Casey (Keith Vitali), a CIA Agent. After their father is brutally murdered by a rouge Terrorists known as Franco (Rion Hunter flaunting a bleached white mullet), the Alexander brothers begrudgingly form a loose partnership and track down their father’s killer. This leads to some unlikely events such as Will going undercover to infiltrate Franco’s organization and Casey convincing his girlfriend to reunite with her ex-lover in the hopes of gaining an inside track to Franco.
It’s a nice homage to Hitchcock’s Notorious and the screenplay by Keith W. Strandberg is bat-shit crazy on several occasions. How this simple revenge tale climaxes with an airport siege on the POTUS is unexplainable. The acting from Vitali and Avedon is adequate for this level of film and their physical likeness makes them a credible screen pairing. Yet Vitali goes through the picture sporting a cast on his left hand with no explanation as to the cause, it even becomes a plot point later in the film. Even though this was Avedon’s second starring role it is apparent he had the goods to become a bigger ‘star’ in the genera, his relaxed screen presence and fluid fighting style are much more appealing than that of Viatli’s. While I particularly enjoyed Vitali in the little seen American Kickboxer 1, here he is a bit too theatrical and plays his scenes far too broad to really make much of an impression. Luckily he and Avedon are skilled Martial Artists. Their punch and kick combinations are put to great effect by the choreography of See-Yuen Ng and his team of wireworks experts.
Obviously you don’t watch a film titled No Retreat No Surrender 3 and expect Shakespearean acting or Oscar winning production design. The fights are the main draw for most viewers and on that level the movie doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately the ‘look’ of the film is shoddy and the sets seem like practical locations the filmmakers used in a hurried rush. Also this movie seems very dated due to the fashion styles and musical score that has 1990’s written all over it. Taken on it’s most basic elements NRNS 3 is a pleasing enough time-waster yet unremarkable in almost every manner. Those already familiar with the series may find pleasure in the abundance of action all others be warned.
Director: lucas Lo
Stars: Loren Avedon, Keith Vitali, Joseph Campanella