Based on the popular pulp series "The Destroyer," by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. (At least 130 titles. I had heard that one of the authors had "burnt out" and his wife had taken over the job, with no noticable change in style or content.) When I was in High School these books provided the testosterone filled, martial arts mysticism fantasies of my life. The movie seemed very watered down to me, leaving a desire to taste more of the adventure that was Remo Williams life. I still stop and watch at least a few minutes of it when I come across it on TV. What the film lacked was some of the graphic violence that made the books "pulpish". I recall a scene from one of the books were Remo was routing a nest of Neo Nazis. After dispatching the lone guard on the porch of the house where the baddies were hanging, Remo knocks on the door. In my memory this is what follows.

Bad Guy - "Who is it?"
Remo - "Um...Hans."
Bad Guy - "Slide your ID under the door."

At this point Remo starts to slide the hand of the dispatched guard under the door, crushing the knuckles as he goes to allow for easy sliding. Remo busts the door down, more violence ensues and the scene ends with Remo walking away after leaving the six baddies that had been in the house embedded in the wall of the living room in the shape of the Star of David. The disdain that Chiun feels for all things american, except for soap operas, is also missing.
Joel Greys portrayal of Chiun and his non PC views is one of the best things about the movie. He has some great lines, one that sticks in my mind is when Remo is training and Chiun admonishes him thusly,

"You move like a pregnant yak."

Grey pulls of playing an Asian role with great aplomb. Ya just can't hate a guy that watches soaps and is convinced that American food is made of rat droppings! The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Make Up. I have to think this was for the great job they did turning Grey into a convincing Asian gentleman. Fred Ward delivers a good performance as the flippant Remo. The interplay twixt Remo and Chiun are funny at worst. The stunts are great, especially the scene at the Statue of Liberty where Remo has to jump from scaffolding pole to pole. As with most movies there are some errors in the shooting/editing of the film. 1. At the Coney Island Ring Toss, Remo and Chiun pay a dollar for seven rings. The man behind the counter hands Chiun only five rings. When Chiun tosses the rings we hear six hit the bottles! (Maybe that's just the good ole fashion of Sinanju at work.) The scene ends with Remo and Chiun walking away with a giant stuffed animal prize between them. 2. Remo and a baddie with a diamond studded tooth are locked in a room filling with deadly gas. Remo rips of the bad guys gas mask and makes good use of the diamond. He grabs the guy by the back of the head and uses the diamond to score the observation window in the room. {Resourceful boy, our man Remo.) Remo measure off and leaps at the window, which shatters before he reaches it. (The mystical art of Sinanju again?) 3. In one scene Chiun runs across water to get to a boat. You can see the track/platform that he is running on, the ripples give it away! (Who's to say that this isn't the way Sinanju works?) Synopsis of film:
Set in New York City, a cop is recruited by a secret government agency and is trained in the art of Sinanju by a soap opera obsessed martial artist, then battles a corrupt arms manufacturer. Genre: Adventure/Drama/Action
Rating: MPAA PG-13
Distributor: Rank Film Distributors Ltd (United Kingdom)
Orion Pictures (USA)
Theatrical Release: October 11, 1985
Running Time - 125 Minutes Guy Hamilton Director
Dick Clark, Peter Greene Executive producers Cast:
Fred Ward - Remo Williams
Joel Grey - Chiun
J A Preston - Conn MacCleary
Kate Mulgrew - Major Rayner Fleming
Wilford Brimley - Harold Smith
Jeff Allin - Lieutenant Fox
Michael Pataki - Jim Wilson
Michael J Ryan - Sergeant Sullivan
Patrick Kilpatrick - Stone
Cosie Costa - Private Damico
George Coe - General Scott Watson
Ray Woodfork - 1st Hood
Webster Whinery - 3rd Hood
Reginald Veljohnson - Ambulance Driver
Suzanne Snyder - Nurse--Soap Opera
Frank Simpson - Senior Police Officer
Jon Polito - Zack
Phil Neilson - 2nd Hood
Davenia McFadden - New York Traffic Control Cop
Tom McBride - Jim--Soap Opera
Andrew Macmillan - Doctor--Soap Opera
Sebastian Ligarde - Private Johnson
Gene LeBell - Red
Joel J Kramer - 2nd Boomer
Dodi Kenan - Nurse
Will Jeffries - Young Captain
Wendy Gazelle - Linda--Soap Opera
Frank Ferrara - 3rd Boomer
Phil Culotta - Soldier Driver
Roger Chudney - Captain Young
Duane B Clark - Logger
John Christianson - Logger
Charles Cioffi - George S Grove
Marv Albert - Sports Announcer
J P Romano - 1st Boomer
Jon Polito - Zack
William Hickey - Coney Island Barker
Sources:
www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/4619/remo/remowill.htm
Hollywood.com
filmsandtv.com
eopinions.com
slipups.com

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