Best of the Best II (1993)
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Judged by the standards of its genre, the movie isn't entirely terrible. Judging action movies on the same scale as more respectable fare is like expecting your 59 cent hamburger to taste like steak, and Best of the Best 2 is better than a lot of comparable movies I've seen. The fight scenes are refreshingly high-impact and plentiful, Newton is as deliciously slimy as Richard Dawson in The Running Man, and Moeller makes for a formidable bad guy in the ring. In these respects and others, this movie compares well with better-known movies like Bloodsport or the terrible Kickboxer.
The bad parts are definitely bad, however. The script, as is usual for the genre, consists of the standard tough-guy posturing, but is not even particularly clever at that. Roberts looks like he's being directed to think about his paycheck whenever he's supposed to act happy. Rhee (the real star) does a good job in the ring, but his transformation from calm martial artist to brutal vengeance artist is not really played at all. The bad guys, other than Moeller and to some extent Newton, are completely devoid of menace. The worst part of all - and one of the most cringe-inducing scenes I've ever witnessed - is the first scene with James, where a pathetic drunk's tragic fall is played for laughs. This scene will and should offend almost anyone who understands it.
On the ugly side, the movie's production design definitely reflects its budget. Best of the Best 2 looks and sounds at least 10 years older than it actually is. In style, form, and substance, it's well behind the curve. Some of the violence is really painful to watch, namely two close-ups of Rhee breaking limbs in hapkido arm locks. This is a cheap shot, but Roberts' girlfriend looks like she's about 70. All told, it is not a study in economy. Shot for about the same budget as a Star Trek: The Next Generation 2-part episode, this movie looks way worse.
Is it completely terrible? Well, don't be looking for The Godfather. If some cheesy fighting is your bag, however, you're looking at the right movie. Recommended for genre diehards and 12-year-olds, but not really for anyone else.
The 3 stars tommy Lee, Alex Grady and Travis Brickly is back and this time its against the brutal owner of a illegal fighting place The Collesium in Las Vegas.
The Fight scenes here are fantastic and a lot better that in the first movie. Ralph Moeller (Brakus) plays really great and I can´t figure out which actor could have played his role better that he.
Great scenes when Tommy and Alex is trained by a guy named James that lives at Tommy´s Granmother.
And a great end where Tommy Beat all 3 gladiators at the collesium and especially then he kills Brakus by braiking his neck followed by telling the crowd that "The Collesium ....Is Closed"
Its really worth to own..buy it .
This movie does not take place in a karate tournement,but instead in the coloseum which is a place where it is arranged illegal fights to the death. This movie has much more hardcore fighting and explicit violence than the original,but it misses those important moments that the original had.
Even though this movie does not show friendship and feelings like the original,it still is very entertaining.
So I advice all fans of the genre to go see this one,because it has some really impressing fighting scenes.
All that is thrown out the window in Best of the Best II, a sequel that to my amazement is not only cheaper but also more disgusting. Action movies don't have to be brainless, but Best of the Best II sure takes the cake with silly one liners and action that feels like it's on auto mode. Leaving off where the original ended, Alex (Roberts), Tommy (Rhee) and Travis (Penn) return home to the states to open up their own martial arts studio.
But Travis has other plans in mind when he decides to fight to the death in an unsanctioned fighting arena known as the Colosseum, where the champion is Brakus (Ralf Moeller). When Travis gets the chance to fight, he is unfortunately killed senselessly and dumped into a nearby river. After learning of this, Alex and Tommy confront Brakus but get thrown out while tearing up his place. To make things interesting Brakus sends some henchmen to kill them, but Alex, Tommy and Alex's son escape to Tommy's foster parents where they learn to fight like Brakus from Alex's foster brother James (sonny Landham). When Brakus finds the location, Tommy will have to fight Brakus to get not only his freedom but save Alex's life as well.
Best of the Best wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but it looks like it compared to the utterly idiotic nature of Best of the Best II. Cheaper than a Chuck Norris film, Best of the Best II mostly throws out the usual in any dumb action movie: thin characters, little plot and a lot of violent action that doesn't excite but rather disgust us with the way it develops. The first Best of the Best was something of a feel good movie, but this one made me want to vomit all over my lap when I saw it.
Usually if there's one good action sequence in any movie, then it can't be all bad. Sadly Best of the Best II has no redeeming value as an action movie, though it tries hard when it wants to be an underground gladiator movie. As dumb as Best of the Best II can be, it could have been at least watchable had the film emphasized the arena instead of the characters, who are so thinly drawn out that there is little attention as to how they actually get to the point of fighting their way out like that Bruce Lee wannabe did in Game of Death.
Roberts does try so desperately hard to inject some kind of drama or passion in this sequel, but even his minor talents can't do anything for him and the others. He sure looks fit here, which is why Best of the Best II feels like Rocky IV. From the montages to the cheesy dialogue to cold hearted villain, Best of the Best II is your basic ripoff of Rocky IV or any movie involving overcoming the odds. Rocky IV at least had good music to accompany the montages. Best of the Best II has some cheesy rock n roll score that couldn't be more simplistic if it tried.
Getting back to Roberts, he does what he can to not be involved in his character. That's where the motivation for Best of the Best II falls apart, leaning on a flat personality like Rhee to carry the film when he has to fight Brakus. While he fights well, his acting is something of a disappointment, lacking much of a larger than life persona that should fit this movie. Even the additional screen time for Alex's kid doesn't help, giving us a lot of hokey sentiment that doesn't fit such a gratuitously violent sequel. Yeah Walter distracts a henchman so that his dad can beat him up, but so what?
Even Moeller as Brakus seems largely forgettable, though his accent might be the only thing that makes his character stand out. He's given a lot of bad one liners that really make me cringe, and the only thing that makes him remotely compelling is that his muscles might be bigger than his head. Wayne Newton was fun to look at in Licence to Kill, but here he overstays his welcome and becomes something of a nuisance for those wanting a good scene stealer for the movie. Sadly he isn't, and as Brakus' manager he really is an egotistical jerk without a soul.
The action is where Best of the Best II lives and dies, but unfortunately it dies before it lives up to its expectations. Various people get killed for no reasons, and what's with the guns? If Best of the Best II wanted to stick with some resemblance to the original, it should have been all martial arts and no guns. This is where Best of the Best II fails: when it tries to be something of a no win situation for the main characters. The finale is moderately entertaining, but it is more disgusting than exciting as with the rest of the film. People get their heads blown off, get their limbs broken, but not much of it seems to make sense as with the rest of Best of the Best II.
*1/2 out of 4-(Poor)
After the events of the first film, the American 'champions' (by heart), Alexander Grady (Roberts), Tommy Lee (Rhee) & Travis Brickley (Chris Penn) set up a martial arts Dojo in Vegas. Troublemaker Travis is secretly fighting at "The Coliseum", a bloody underground full contact competition ruled by the undefeated champion, Brakus (Ralf Moeller) and his ruthless partner Weldon (Wayne Newton). When Travis is merciless killed by Brakus in the arena and Alexander's son, Walter (Edan Gross) witness it, he became a target and the survivors must fight back to protect themselves and revenge their friend...
"Best of the Best 2" offers a change of pace from the previous film, it's less drama oriented and more focused on the action and the displaying of skilled martial arts choreography, once again courtesy of the brothers Rhee. Phillip Rhee looks even in a better shape here and his moves and techniques are a joy to watch.
Eric Roberts' role, besides the top billing over the title, is less prominent than the first, he's merely a sidekick to Rhee, and in the 4 years gap between the two movies he forgot how to move (and the writers forgot his shoulder injury...), but he was still in great shape to a 37 years' old when this movie was made.
The late Chris Penn was in just for the extended cameo and the new addition to the cast, James (played by the late great Sonny Landham from "48 Hrs.", "Predator" & "Firewalker") is one of the best things about this sequel, he stole all the scenes he was in.
The villains are excellent in their wickedness: an impressive debut movie for the former German competitive bodybuilder. Ralf Moeller ("Universal Soldier" and later became Russell Crowe's protector in "Gladiator"); the always sleazy Patrick Kilpatrick; Nicholas Worth and the actor, singer and entertainer, Wayne Newton in a similar role that he played in "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" ('90).
Meg Foster plays Eric Roberts' love interest, but her role is as much important to the plot as Louise Fletcher's playing Roberts' mother in the original, almost non-existent. Simon Rhee appears briefly, and more towards the end, but this time as an allied to our protagonists.
"Best of the Best 2" moves at a nice pace and keeps the viewer fan of this genre entertained, it's much more 90-ish in tone, attitude, atmosphere and fashion than the original, in the course of 4 years the world changed and the 80's started to disappear (even Roberts sports a short hair in this one). I give it a 7,5, because it lost the 'freshness' of the original film and the absence of some of the main cast (they aren't even mentioned like they didn't exist), but the producers compensate the lack of James Earl Jones, Sally Kirkland and Louise Fletcher with a roll of new characters played by some charismatic 'bad ass' actors.
Followed by two 'direct-to-video' sequels with Phillip Rhee returning as Tommy Lee and serving as the producer and director.
Eric Roberts, Phillip Rhee, and Chris Penn all return from the first film, although Roberts and Penn have relatively limited screen time. Rhee is the real star here and he holds his own in a series of brutally violent fight scenes. I love the over the top sound effects and explicit violence of these '90s fight flicks and BEST OF THE BEST 2 doesn't disappointment. The German Ralf Moeller (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER) makes for a convincingly tough opponent and the film as a whole is replete with violence and beatdowns.
The supporting cast contains appearances from a number of familiar faces, not least the unmissable Meg Foster (THEY LIVE) who contributes a cameo. Sonny Landham (PREDATOR) has a small but violent role as the man who trains the team. Simon Rhee, Phillip's real-life brother, also returns from the original, and Wayne Newton (LICENCE TO KILL) plays a weaselly fight promoter. Personally, I was more than happy to see Patrick Kilpatrick (ERASER) and Nicholas Worth (GABRIEL KNIGHT 2: THE BEAST WITHIN) in minor roles as thugs.
Tommy Lee, Eric Roberts, and Chris Penn are back as our Tae Kwon Do trio, now running a martial arts school. Chris, however, is bored of the antics and heads off to a place called The Coliseum, where folks basically fight for cash. Chris reckons he can take on the owner, a man so muscly he looks like a rubber glove filled with walnuts. This is Brakus, who thinks guns aren't manly enough. Chris doesn't do too well in the fight and the last time we see him he's being lowered into the ground in a box. Luckily he was stupid enough to take Eric's kid along to the fight so now Tommy and Eric are all out to get Brakus.
It gets better when Tommy smashes Brakus' face against a mirror and now Brakus has a scar on his face and ends up pouting around the place in a dressing gown staring into a mirror and just getting madder and madder. So Tommy and Eric want to kill Brakus and Brakus wants to kill everyone related to Tommy and kill Tommy in the ring at the Coliseum.
If you hadn't guessed already Tommy was raised by native Americans and everyone heads off to stay with them for a while a get trained up to fight Brakus by Sonny Landham of all people! That'll be Billy from Predator to you and me (before I looked up his name). Before I knew it I was shouting "Jeez you got a big pussy!" which is why my neighbours now look at me as if I'm nuts.
They all have a friendly punch up and then it's montage time! This time round the film get it right, and just in time too before some of Brakus' men arrive in a helicopter and seemingly kill everyone except Tommy (Billy himself goes down fighting in an impressive Massimo Vanni style shoot-out). There's also a massive explosion for all those massive explosion fans out there.
So now Brakus has Tommy to fight in the ring and Tommy thinks everyone's dead, so all he's got left is the motivation to kick Brakus in the face several thousand times. Didn't feel like Brakus thought that one through too much.
This film is a lot more fun that the last one and is non-stop action and cheese from start to finish. A total winner! Even Eric's hair is more dynamic and manageable this time round.
First off, if you hav'nt seen the first movie, go watch it! Its one of the all-time best in the Martial Arts genre. Then come back and watch this one because it is pure, undiluted awesome! The second movie may have deviated in a big way from the drama format of the original, and crossed into typical 90's action formula but, its still a well-made sequel. Despite its differences, it pays enough respect to the first movie that it doesn't (or shouldn't)alienate fans of the first.
Excellent cast, well-done fight scenes, good performances, a great bad guy, and spiffy 90's music.
I'm just sad phillip rhee's career didn't go further. He clearly had potentiol. At least he has two classic fight movies under his belt before he exited Hollywood. Which is something many wannabe-action stars cannot say.
If you're looking for an early 90's martial arts action film, you really cannot go wrong with this gem. Not much else to say, this flick DELIVERS the goods.
Making their returns are Alex Grady, Tommy Lee, and Travis Brickley (Roberts, Rhee, Penn) who now run a karate studio. Funny how they are taekwondo guys in the first and are now karate guys. Travis thirsts more money and enters an illegal fight tournament in Las Vegas where death can happen. Wayne Newton (as a different character) is the sponsor and the audience are rich high rollers that love to see death. That is sickening. Why would people like that want to see people beat each other to death? Who wants to see death in general? All the Las Vegas hotshots love to see it! I know this is just a cheesy movie, but I did not buy it. When Alex's young song, Walter, sneaks in and witnesses the undefeated Brackus (Ralph Moeller) beats Travis to death, he is scarred and tells his father and Tommy right away. Sounds like Rocky IV when Apoolo was killed by Drago eh? The angry duo crash a fancy dinner and tear up the joint, then go on the run. Brackus wants Tommy, and Tommy must fight to the death in order to live another day. All the fights scenes are spectacular and the gunfights are cool too. The subplots are no as good as the ones from the first, but good enough.
This is a review of "Best of the Best 2," so I will keep my summary of the first one short, but here it goes: BEST OF THE BEST is one of the very few movies that has emotionally touched and moved me. I can watch that film any day of the week, and each and every time, it leaves me happy, inspired, feeling good. It is a PERFECT "feel good about yourself" movie, and it is just PHENOMENAL with its writing and storyline. It has morals of brotherhood and teamwork, and it is just a FANTASTIC film.
"Best of the Best 2" on the other hand...different story. I normally am a HUGE action movie guy. I love action movies to no end. "Best of the Best" was one of the very few movies to be mostly a drama, centered around the characters, and to move me as it did. Best of the Best 2 takes everything about the first movie that did that....and DESTROYS it.
The plot, is basically just Rocky IV. Chris Penn of the first film is killed, so Phillip Rhee & Eric Roberts want revenge. Thats it. There is a completely over-drawn sequence where Tommy is being reunited with his family, and dealing with his alcoholic uncle James (Sonny Landham). That part is a bit too drawn out, and takes away from the films pacing. But basically, its a "fight for your life" movie, with ZERO morals and ZERO values, like the first one had. To me, that was an ENORMOUS disappointment, so see the likable characters from the first, emotionally driven movie, placed in a Gladiator-arena fighting movie.
As an action movie, it is not bad, some very grizzly scenes where Rhee breaks limbs of other "gladiators," but I HATED how the film destroyed everything that made the first one such a powerful film.
The end title song "(To Be) The Best of the Best" is a pretty inspirational, solid, soft-rock anthem performed by Mark Free, that is definitely a highlight of the movie...I just highly preferred the first film to this, because this delivers (besides fight scenes) close to NOTHING the original had to offer. Not a bad action movie, but I did not like it as the sequel to "Best of the Best." Perhaps if it was a stand- alone movie.
When the likable Travis Brickley (Penn) dies at the hands of the nefarious Brakus, only fellow fighter Alex Grady, his young son, inexplicably named Walter (Gross), and of course Tommy Lee (Rhee) can get to the bottom of this illegal Punchfighting operation. To do this, they head out to the desert so James (Landham) can help them train. Oh, and one more thing...WAYNE NEWTON is the head of this evil hydra.
Only in the early 90's could a mix of utter silliness and brutal violence come together like this. Not only that, but we feel this movie was instrumental in promoting the Punchfighting genre. The Best of the Best series was surprisingly popular in video stores and on cable channels, and many people first got their taste of Punchfighting because of them. So for that, they deserve a lot of credit. Additionally, this was a time in which filmmakers felt that they should get quality actors and teach them to fight, instead of the other way around. That they should get Eric Roberts and Chris Penn, instead of any old meathead. And at least here, the formula works great.
And when I think "action movies" I immediately think "Wayne Newton". Newton is a showbiz professional and gives his all here, and he, for whatever reason, really seems to care. he gives an energetic, big performance, and his presence sets the movie apart and makes it really enjoyable. And while it's great to see Chris Penn, Wayne Newton, Walter the kid (who looks more like a 35 year-old stunted adult), who loves his Tetris, and Eric Roberts, complete with his tomato apron, AND Phillip Rhee, Sonny Lanham, Meg Foster and Nicholas Worth, lest we forget....BRAKUS? The writers of this movie must really be proud that they came up with the name Brakus, because it is said a minimum of 36 times throughout the movie. Ralf Moeller plays the classic German baddie, and a lot of Best of the Best 2 is lifted from Rocky IV (1985). The invincible Teutonic muscleman is the antagonist, and our heroes must go out into the wilderness to train to beat him (why are Phillip Rhee's relatives Indians for some reason?), and of course the parallels between Apollo Creed and Travis Brickley.
There are many funny bits, Eric Roberts seems tipsy (if not drunk) throughout the movie, and all is well and good, but even as lovable as it is, it is a bit overlong. If the movie had been chopped down by about 10-15 minutes, we'd be dealing with an even bigger classic. But this is one David and Goliath tale that can certainly withstand multiple viewings.
Featuring the memorable title song by Mark Free, Best of the Best 2 just narrowly makes it into the ranks of a must-see.
I came back to Martial Arts movie a couple years ago, first me and my cousin wanted to see Kickboxer again, we got on a quest to find it at video store on VHS, yet no video store had it anymore. The movie was never made in quebec on DVD in french.... and my cousin dosen't speak much English, so well i finally got it by ordering a Korean version(lol yeah i know) that had the 3 tracks on it. It immediately started back the fire in me and i got on a rampage to grab every American kickboxing movies of the 90s... Now i have hundreds of them. Yet BOTB2 will always have a sweet spot. I like the first one, but this one is even better, the story yet classic is well written, the characters are believable, the soundtrack is AMAZING. Both Wayne Newton and Ralph Moeller are superb as the bad guys in this, not to mention Tommy Lee(Phillip Rhee) is dress exactly as Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat in the final part of the movie even performing Liu Kang traditional finishing move. I know MK actually got JCVD bloodsport character for inspiration of the character Johnny Cage, and that Sonya is based on Cynthia Rothrock, but since MK is from 92, when BOTB2 is 93, i would say BOTB2 had Tommy looked like Liu. Anyway i love everything about this movie, action sequences, the acting , the story, its a true classic. You have to see this if you like American Martial Arts movies of the 90s