Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins [1985]

Talk about hubris: this film, released at the height of sequelmania in the mid-1980s, came with its own intimations of future sequels built right into the title. Unfortunately, you have to make a good first film in order to generate follow-ups--something these filmmakers didn't manage--so the adventure began and ended with this one. Based on the pulp paperback adventure series The Destroyer, the film deals with a ne'er-do-well, Remo Williams (Fred Ward), who is recruited to battle the forces of evil. He is trained by an Asian martial arts master who, in those days before political correctness, was played by Joel Grey in heavy makeup. But the action is both forced and preposterous, jokey without every really being funny. The best thing about the film is Grey--and his stereotyped depiction of an Asian is pretty hard to take today. --Marshall Fine

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