NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER
No Retreat, No Surrender is shabbily made. It never moves (either in ambition or in physical location) out of the second-rate martial arts clubs it is set in why The Mob would have an interest in muscling in and taking over such clubs is one of the films major plausibility holes. The acting is vacuously bad, especially the appallingly giggly performance from Kent Lipham as the fat bully and Kathie Silenos utterly vacant playing of the love interest. The one good performance in the film comes from Jean-Claude Van Damme this is still a couple of years before Van Damme became a box-office name. Van Damme is cast in the type of role he does well, where all that he is required to do is be monosyllabic and where his impassive looks have been turned towards acting cold and emotionless. Once he gets into the ring at the climax, his moves have a physical poetry that show up the rest of the cast as the poseurs from the beginners martial arts classes that they are.
No Retreat, No Surrender produced a surprising number of sequels No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder (1989), No Retreat, No Surrender 3: Blood Brothers (1990), No Retreat, No Surrender 4/The King of the Kickboxers (1991) and No Retreat, No Surrender 5/American Shaolin: King of the Kickboxers II (1993) although none of these feature the ghost of Bruce Lee or any fantastic elements.
Director Corey Yuen has gone onto become one of the top Hong Kong action coordinators. He has also directed (or co-directed) other genre films such as Ghost Renting (1991), Saviour of the Soul (1991), Saviour of the Soul 2 (1992), The New Legend of Shaolin (1994), The Avenging Fist/Legend of Tekken (2001), and DOA: Dead or Alive (2006). In more recent years, he had a hit with the action film The Transporter (2002).
Full film available online here:-