Best of the Best
Time Out says'No women, no alcohol, no drugs. You will eat, drink and shit competition' warns coach James Earl Jones, pretty much summing up the attraction of this particular 'entertainment'. The perfunctory plot concerns the selection and training of a five-man US karate team to take on the formidable Koreans. This might have made an interesting documentary, but the film-makers opt instead for hokey drama. The squad includes Penn's two-dimensional red-neck Travis Bickley (!), Roberts as a comparatively enlightened old hand, and Phillip Rhee as the young hopeful with the obligatory revenge motif. This surprisingly heavyweight cast - Louise Fletcher and Sally Kirkland lend spiritual support - manages to lower itself to the exploitation level material without apparent strain; indeed the performances are all truly atrocious. After much fist-clenching, the movie closes to a draw - a small mercy to be grateful for, though kamikaze kids inclined to stay the course will probably be disappointed by the shallow sentimentality.