Film review: Perfect Weapon

Published: Saturday, March 30 1991 12:00 a.m. MST

There's a chain reaction going on here.

Sylvester Stallone was once a Clint Eastwood wannabe.

Chuck Norris was a Bruce Lee/Stallone wannabe.

Arnold Schwarzenegger came along as a Norris/Stallone wannabe.

Steven Seagal was later a Schwarzenegger wannabe.

Jean Claude Van Damme was a Seagal wannabe.

And now comes Jeff Speakman, a Van Damme wannabe.

Speakman is the latest to be thrown into the ring of violent action stars — and like many of those above, he is a karate expert, not an actor. (Though "The Perfect Weapon" is being touted as his first film, Speakman can also be seen in something called "Side Roads," due to hit video this summer.)

The plot of the movie is irrelevant but for the record concerns a drifter with a chip on his shoulder who also happens to be expert in kenpo karate. In flashbacks we learn that he has always been misunderstood by his widower father, a tough policeman. And his little brother, who also grows up to be a cop, both idolizes and resents him.

Naturally, they are thrown together in a murder investigation in "Little Korea" that has little brother trying to go by the book and big brother seeking revenge in his own kenpo karate way. Before long they are in the middle of warring mobsters.

Despite a story that makes no dramatic sense, and which seems derived from a myriad of other action flicks (most obviously, "The Karate Kid" series), with characters as stiff as cardboard and tremendous plot holes, there is plenty of action.

In other words, if a few fairly well-staged fight scenes, complete with slow-motion flying feet, are worth sitting through 90 minutes of drivel, you may find something of worth here.

I did not.

As for Speakman's performance . . . well, my mother always told me if you can't say something nice. . . .

"The Perfect Weapon" is rated R for violence and profanity.