So you’re a police officer out one night drinking coffee in your squad car after busting some punks when a truck comes along and pushes you and your car into the water. You wake up in a hospital, you’re officially dead, and a man reading off the back of a bed pan tells you your new name: Remo Williams.
That’s how the film introduces us to the titular character of Remo Williams (Fred Ward). He has been recruited into an organization of three, including himself. Williams is taken to an apartment and told to kill the man inside. That man is Chiun (Joel Grey), who after dodging a few bullets and kicking the crap out of Remo, turns out to be a fourth man in the organization.
Chiun agrees to take on Remo as a pupil and train him in Sinanju. According to Chiun, if the other martial arts are but shadows, then Sinanju is the sun. Remo ultimately does go on a little mission in the movie, but the majority of the film is his training with Chiun. It’s also what makes the film so enjoyable. Joel Grey, in yellow face, does a great job becoming the short, arrogant, Korean with a love of soap operas. Even if the makeup can be a little annoying. Chiun is a man of many talents and pearls of wisdom.
Chiun likes to put Remo through practical training exercises like an obstacle course in the house, the Wonder Wheel on Coney Island, and the Statue Of Liberty.
The film also includes Kate Mulgrew in an early role and one of my favorite baddies, the man with the the Tiffany tooth.
And who could forget the smartest dogs in world scene. They follow Remo from a courtyard up several flights of stairs and actually beat him to the roof, leaving him to fall through a window.
The battle on the State Of Liberty is the films action centerpiece and is a little eerie at times because you can see the twin towers in the distance.
The movie is campy action all around, but the chemistry between Fred Ward and Joel Grey combined with some nice action sequences makes the film fun. I don’t think I will ever outgrow it and have purchased the first book in the long running “The Destroyer” series that it is based on. And don’t believe those Mythbusters, Chiun can both dodge bullets and run on water!
I will always remember that Americans call it fast food because it speeds them on the way to the grave and that watches are a confidence trick invented by the Swiss. Thank you Chiun and thank you Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins!