Ex-Special Forces soldier Louis Stevens (Mark Dacascos) returns to Miami to find his former high school overrun by drugs and violence. A master of the Brazilian martial art, capoeira, Stevens pledges to straighten out a do... more »zen of the school's worst students by teaching them this demanding and highly-disciplined fighting style. Slowly, his program begins to work, giving the students new hope and purpose. But the local drug lord, himself a martial arts expert, vows to stop Stevens' positive influence. Now Stevens must fight to save his own life, as well as the lives of his rebellious young students.« less
Sylvia W. (cambray) from JOHNSTOWN, PA Reviewed on 9/15/2009...
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Formulatic Movie Delivers a Strong Kick
K.H. | 10/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film, directed by Sheldon Littich and starring martial artist Mark Dacascos, is a fine piece of work despite formula script. There are several reason why it works so well: 1: Dacascos, is not only a bonda fide martial artists, learning the martial arts as a child from his famous martial artist father Al Dacascos, but he is also a very good actor.
2: Littich takes a simple movie and is able to focus on a couple of main characters where we begin to sympathize with their social condition and the "hero's" attempt to see that they have choices and can change the conditions.
3: Littich picks for this film the martial art caporia. This little known art (compared to karate, kung fu, judo, etc) is flashy and exciting to watch if performed well. The fight scenes are different and well staged.
Yes, this plot is formulatic, but it is still an impressive movie."
neonxaos | Denmark | 05/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a charming movie with a stupid storyline like those seen in most martial arts movies. But hey, the point is to see the hero beat the bad guys with some sweet moves, right? And this movie delivers just that. So why bother analysing it any deeper?Mark Dacascos plays a young capoeirista (a guy who practises capoeira) who gets some misfit students onto the right side of the law by teaching them capoeira. Of course this leads to some showdowns between him and various criminal elements. And that's it, really. But capoeira is a beautiful sport to watch, and the movie is a good teaser for the real thing.But Dacascos isn't really a capoeirista, and the movie misinterprets some of the basic elements of the sport. If you become interested in learning more after watching the movie, look up the nearest capoeira club in the phonebook and try it for yourself. I guarantee it will be an experience well worth your while! I speak from personal experience."
Better watch this in slow motion!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was by far one of the best martial arts films ever. Even in the first few minutes of the movie I could feel the urge to go out and try these moves for myself. The music is awesom! You may need to slow your VCR down so you can take in all the action in the fighting sequences. This movie introduced me to Capoeira and I am now a student under Mestre Almira. Axe!"
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is excellent. The fight scenes have incredible fluidity, and the movie in general has a lot of color, light and motion. Some of the scenes in Brazil are just very beautiful to look at in addition to the scenes where people play capoeira. The absolutely best part of the movie besides the visual sequences of capoeira is the music. Once you hear this music you just spontaneously feel like dancing capoeira. The story might be cliche but this is raw action at its best. Does anybody know if it will be published on DVD? If it is I am sure it would be awesome."
Unassuming B-movie, great fun
Libretio | 04/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
ONLY THE STRONG
(USA - 1993)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Stereo SR
Upon returning home to Miami, a former Green Beret (Mark Dacascos) is employed by his local high school to rehabilitate some of its worst students by teaching them the art of capoeira (a form of martial arts from Brazil, using dance-like moves). But his work brings him into conflict with a local drug lord (Paco Christian Prieto), whose operations are threatened by Dacascos' interference...
A predictable B-movie plot is elevated above the routine by virtue of its slick presentation and interesting cast, all of whom turn in creditable performances under the assured direction of Sheldon Lettich (former scriptwriter of RAMBO III who went on to helm some of Jean-Claude Van Damme's most popular entries, including LIONHEART and DOUBLE IMPACT). The script - co-written by Lettich and Luis Esteban - provides a showcase for the visual artistry of capoeira, practised with genuine flair by DTV favorite Dacascos (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF), whose mastery of the form helps to win over some of the most problematic students at his former high school, now a crime-ridden wasteland whose faculty (led by Geoffrey Lewis, acting everyone else off the screen) is clearly at the end of its collective tether.
A faint air of camp hangs over the entire enterprise, as ultra-buff Dacascos flaunts his pumped-up torso through a variety of tight-fitting vests (drool! slobber!) while facing off against ultra-butch Prieto (a real life martial arts instructor, making one of his first screen appearances), though ultra-cute Stacey Travis hovers around just long enough to blunt the film's relentless macho swagger and provide a fleeting romantic interest for Dacascos, thereby reassuring the movie's target audience that his character is entirely heterosexual. The film is naive, obvious and predictable, but it moves at a rapid clip and is well-staged thoughout, and the bone-crunching fight scenes manage to live up to every expectation. Good, catchy music score, too. "