Only the Strong Review

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Luis is a US Special Forces soldier who returns from Brazil to his hometown of Miami. In Brazil he has learnt the martial art Capoeira, which comes into use when he finds that drug dealers have practically taken over his old high school. Training a bunch of students in the new art, they take on the bad guys together.


If you’ve seen one martial arts caper you’ve pretty much seen them all. And despite this film’s vain attempt to sell us different by glossing over familiar moves with some ridiculous new combat form know as Capoeira — the novelty is you do it to music, apparently — there’s no escaping the wearisome, punch-drunk, good-guy kicks bad guy’s butt routine.
The man with the muscles is Louis Stevens (Dacascos), a disillusioned US Special Forces man and Capoeirista king who, at the film’s outset, returns from Brazil to his home town of Miami ready to kick some bad guy butt; the villains are a bunch of dumb drug lords with pot-marks and dirty stubble to prove just how really bad (both ital) they are. In-between are the school kids, rescued from the insidious influence of the drug-runners when the hero tutors them in his gung-ho, if-he-sneers-punch-his-lights-out guide to life. The token love interest is Stacey Travis — so good in Hardware — who here is given little to do except fawn and look attractive for Dacascos’ bland hunk.
The net-result is the kind of age-old hokum that lost its ability to thrill somewhere in the mid-70s. And no matter how many flowery fight sequences can be mustered up from the director’s imagination, this is no more then a dire collision between The Kids From Fame and some kickboxing D-movie. Do yourself a favour and give it a miss.