By: John M Jerva
Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
In this special post Thanksgiving episode of FOOT FIST FRIDAYS, John M Jerva brings you the classic dojo fight scene from 1991’s The Perfect Weapon, where one man strike force Jeff Speakman takes on a trio of Asian martial arts powerhouses in the quintessential fisticuffs fueled fight scene that was literally a burst of lightning!
Back in 1991, I had just graduated from high school and was looking to finally start taking Karate lessons as I had been a fan of all things martial arts especially the great movies and TV shows that had been released which featured the iconic names you all know and love like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. There was one man who was just about to burst onto the scene to forever cement himself in action movie history and that man was none other than Kenpo expert Jeff Speakman. Under the late, great Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker’s tutelage, Speakman had become a formidable martial artist and was on the verge of breaking into the big leagues with his first starring role in The Perfect Weapon.
I remeber it like it was yesterday, when I went to the theater on opening night and first witnessed the awesomeness that was The Perfect Weapon. Never before had I seen a man move his hands that fast as Speakman lit up the big screen with electrifying moves that seemed to break the sound barrier. Speakman was at the top of his game and Paramount Pictures wanted to strike first with this new martial arts action hero and immediately when the movie was over, I signed up at the booth in the theater lobby for an American Kenpo school. The rest as they say is history as 30 some odd years later of training in the art of Kenpo, I owe everything to that one faithful night and to this day I owe everyhting to that one man who dazzled me with his Kenpo prowess.
There are so many great moments in The Perfect Weapon, but the one that everyone seems to gravitate to is the classic dojo fight scene, where Jeff Sanders (Speakman) takes on three very formidable opponents in an attempt to find answers to who killed his good friend played by wonderful character actor Mako. The three fighters in question were played by top tier talent in James Lew, Leo Lee and Ray Sua. The scene was set up perfectly as Speakman would say the now famous words- “I wonder if I can kick your ass. No…not just you, all three of you.”
What follows is one epic assualt on the senses as Speakman manhandles all three opponents in a flurry of unrivaled Kenpo speed and power that has to be seen to be believed. It is in this very scene that Speakman lets loose with with his stunning hand techniques that just make the viewer want to rewind it and watch it all over again. I remeber thinking to myself when I first watched the film that… Damn! I wanted to do that. Not only does Speakman ignite the stage with his hands but he also utilizes his feet as well as he delivers brutal and lethal kicks with expert precision.
As the fight commences, all three opponents clearly realize after a certain point that they are in over their heads as they are no match for Sanders who toys with them and makes them all look like beginner white belts. The crowd can only look on in awe as Sanders dispatches each and every one of them with moves that they never see coming.
What makes this film great in my eyes to this day is that I know the techniques that Speakman is using so it is like knowing a really cool inside joke that only practitioners of Kenpo will appreciate. The fight choreography, handled by Rick Avery who is also a Kenpo expert, was also realistic in that when Speakman took on multiple attakers, he took them all on at the same time. There was no bad guy waiting in the wings to attack while the hero took out another. Here, Speakman literaly fought all at the same time and did it with a great sense of bravado never before seen in a martial arts thriller. The Dojo fight showcased the awesome power and speed of the art of Kenpo to its fullest and the scene is a classic in its own right.
Enough talk! Time to watch the man do what he does best. Full Contact, No Protection…No Problem!
About The Author: John M Jerva is the owner and editor-in-chief of Action-Flix.com and is a DIE HARD fan of everyhting Action! From the glorious past to the thrilling future, John lives and breathes action! Long live action cinema!