The Perfect Weapon (1991)

R | 90 mins | Drama | 15 March 1991

Director:

Mark DiSalle

Writer:

David C. Wilson

Cinematographer:

Russell Carpenter

Editor:

Wayne Wahrman

Production Designer:

Curtis A. Schnell

Production Company:

DiSalle/David Productions
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HISTORY

The film concludes with the following dedication: “This film is dedicated to Ed Parker and the spirit of Kenpo.”
       According to a 6 Jan 1991 LAT article, director Mark DiSalle was inspired to put together a project showcasing the martial-arts talents of Jeff Speakman, whom he had met at a casting call for Kickboxer (1989, see entry). DiSalle asked first-time screenwriter David C. Wilson to write a script with Speakman in mind as the star. In an 18 Mar 1991 review, HR credited Wilson with providing “fewer clunky lines than most karate capers.” However, an LAT review of the same date felt that the story was derivative and “strictly by-the-numbers.”
       As noted by an 11 Dec 1990 HR production chart, principal photography began 21 Sep 1990 in Los Angles, CA. Var observed, in their 18 Mar 1991 review, that the film’s most dramatic sequence was shot at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that Speakman performed “almost all” of his own stunt work, allowing filmmakers to shoot with four cameras simultaneously, and often in slow motion. These multi-camera “master shots” were later assembled with fewer cuts than would be typical for a martial-arts sequence, since Speakman did not need to be replaced by a stunt double.
       On 7 Jan 1991, DV announced that Paramount Pictures had acquired The Perfect Weapon from DiSalle’s production company, Pyramid Entertainment. In a similar news item, the LAT reported that the film’s budget was $10 million.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to: ... More Less

The film concludes with the following dedication: “This film is dedicated to Ed Parker and the spirit of Kenpo.”
       According to a 6 Jan 1991 LAT article, director Mark DiSalle was inspired to put together a project showcasing the martial-arts talents of Jeff Speakman, whom he had met at a casting call for Kickboxer (1989, see entry). DiSalle asked first-time screenwriter David C. Wilson to write a script with Speakman in mind as the star. In an 18 Mar 1991 review, HR credited Wilson with providing “fewer clunky lines than most karate capers.” However, an LAT review of the same date felt that the story was derivative and “strictly by-the-numbers.”
       As noted by an 11 Dec 1990 HR production chart, principal photography began 21 Sep 1990 in Los Angles, CA. Var observed, in their 18 Mar 1991 review, that the film’s most dramatic sequence was shot at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that Speakman performed “almost all” of his own stunt work, allowing filmmakers to shoot with four cameras simultaneously, and often in slow motion. These multi-camera “master shots” were later assembled with fewer cuts than would be typical for a martial-arts sequence, since Speakman did not need to be replaced by a stunt double.
       On 7 Jan 1991, DV announced that Paramount Pictures had acquired The Perfect Weapon from DiSalle’s production company, Pyramid Entertainment. In a similar news item, the LAT reported that the film’s budget was $10 million.
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to: Irell & Manella; Diversified Products; Ki International.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
May 1991.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1991.
---
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1991
p. 2, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1991
p. 6, 47.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jan 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1991
Calendar, p. 9.
New York Times
16 Mar 1991
p. 16.
Variety
25 Mar 1991
p. 89.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A DiSalle/David Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Loader
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Chief rigging tech
Elec
Elec
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Processing by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Lead person
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const coord
Labor foreperson
Prod painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus prod assoc
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Prod sd
Boom op
Cable person
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley walker
Foley walker
ADR group coord
Stage facilities provided by
Stage facilities provided by
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Asst spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Eff makeup
Asst makeup/Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst coord
Kenpo tech advisor
Kenpo tech advisor
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Extras casting by
Asst to Mr. DiSalle
Asst to Mr. DiSalle
Asst to Mr. David
Asst to Mr. David
Asst to Mr. Winter
Asst to Mr. Winter
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Unit pub
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Caterer
Craft service
Craft service
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
STAND INS
Stunt fight coord
2d unit stunt coord
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
Addl stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Travel China," written by Henrik Nielsen
"Asian Ceremony," written by Jim Jacobsen
"Oriental Flower," written by Peter Morris, courtesy of Ole Georg/Capitol Production Music.
SONGS
"The Power," written by Benito Benitez, John Garrett, III, Tony C., performed by Snap, courtesy of BMG Ariola MunichLogic/Artista [sic] Records
"On The Prowl," written by Ed Alton, Gary Chang, Kent Houseman, performed by Machun, produced by Gary Chang
"Standing In The Shadows," music by Gary Chang, lyrics by Kent Houseman, performed by Kent Houseman, produced by Gary Chang.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 March 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 March 1991
Production Date:
began 21 September 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Perfect Weapon Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 March 1991
Copyright Number:
PA513664
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31007
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jeff Sanders returns home after working at a construction site. He practices martial arts for a few hours, before calling his mentor, Kim, who owns a curio shop in Los Angeles, California. Jeff overhears someone in the background threatening the old man. Suddenly, the line goes dead. The next day, Jeff drives to Los Angeles. En route, he remembers his troubled childhood: After the death of his mother, eleven-year-old Jeff grows despondent and ill tempered. His policeman father, Carl Sanders, considers sending him to military school, but Kim, a longtime friend, suggests martial arts training instead. Jeff begins taking Kenpo karate classes with Master Lo, who teaches him to appreciate the art of self-discipline and physical strategy. At age sixteen, Jeff earns his black belt in self-defense. One afternoon, a high school football player bullies Jeff’s younger brother, Adam. Jeff retaliates, using karate kicks to knock the bully unconscious. Dismayed by his son’s violent outburst, Carl Sanders asks Jeff to move away from home. As downtown Los Angeles comes into view, Jeff recalls saying goodbye to Master Lo and Kim those many years ago. Meanwhile, in Koreatown, Kim is confronted by criminals who want to use his curio shop as a front for their drug operation. Jeff arrives and quickly dispatches the gang. Kim expresses gratitude, explaining that the men belong to the Korean Mafia. Jeff offers ongoing protection, but Kim protests. He introduces his current protégé, Jimmy Ho, laughing when Jeff remarks on the teenager’s arrogant attitude. That night, Jeff takes a walk around the neighborhood. When he returns to Kim’s apartment, he finds the old man dead. The next day, police ... +


In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jeff Sanders returns home after working at a construction site. He practices martial arts for a few hours, before calling his mentor, Kim, who owns a curio shop in Los Angeles, California. Jeff overhears someone in the background threatening the old man. Suddenly, the line goes dead. The next day, Jeff drives to Los Angeles. En route, he remembers his troubled childhood: After the death of his mother, eleven-year-old Jeff grows despondent and ill tempered. His policeman father, Carl Sanders, considers sending him to military school, but Kim, a longtime friend, suggests martial arts training instead. Jeff begins taking Kenpo karate classes with Master Lo, who teaches him to appreciate the art of self-discipline and physical strategy. At age sixteen, Jeff earns his black belt in self-defense. One afternoon, a high school football player bullies Jeff’s younger brother, Adam. Jeff retaliates, using karate kicks to knock the bully unconscious. Dismayed by his son’s violent outburst, Carl Sanders asks Jeff to move away from home. As downtown Los Angeles comes into view, Jeff recalls saying goodbye to Master Lo and Kim those many years ago. Meanwhile, in Koreatown, Kim is confronted by criminals who want to use his curio shop as a front for their drug operation. Jeff arrives and quickly dispatches the gang. Kim expresses gratitude, explaining that the men belong to the Korean Mafia. Jeff offers ongoing protection, but Kim protests. He introduces his current protégé, Jimmy Ho, laughing when Jeff remarks on the teenager’s arrogant attitude. That night, Jeff takes a walk around the neighborhood. When he returns to Kim’s apartment, he finds the old man dead. The next day, police investigate the scene. Adam Sanders, now a homicide detective, asks to be assigned to the case, unaware that his brother found Kim’s body. The siblings are stunned to see each other. Still harboring feelings of estrangement, Jeff refuses Adam’s invitation to reunite as a family. He goes to a martial arts training gym, intent on finding one of the men he fought in the curio shop. The Koreans there view him with suspicion, until Jeff challenges them to a sparring match. After winning a grueling fight, Jeff learns the name of the gangsters’ club. Later, he runs into his brother and father at Kim’s memorial service. Carl Sanders leaves without speaking to his son. When Adam asks about the teenage boy living in Kim’s apartment, Jeff pretends not to know Jimmy Ho. That night, Jeff goes to the “Croc-Pit,” a Korean nightclub, where he challenges the criminals who accosted Kim a few days earlier. However, they knock him unconscious and throw him out on the street. The next day, after visiting Kim’s shrine, Jeff meets a man who claims to have information about recent events. Jeff is skeptical, until the man introduces himself as “Yung,” a Koreatown crime boss. Yung suggests that a gang lord named Wo Sam organized the hit on Kim. Using strategic knowledge provided by Yung, Jeff breaks into Sam’s lair, easily overcoming the gangster’s bodyguards. Jeff threatens to kill Sam, but Jimmy Ho interrupts, insisting there has been a misunderstanding. The teenager declares that Yung, not Sam, is responsible for Kim’s death. When Jeff vows to take down Yung, Sam advises him to let Jimmy Ho help. Jeff scoffs at the idea, but later softens when the boy shows spunk and determination. Jimmy indicates that Yung goes to the bank at the same time each day, though never without his burly bodyguard, Tanaka. Jeff informs Adam of the gangster’s routine, and the next day, they stake out the bank. However, Tanaka catches sight of Jimmy and flees. A car chase ensues, resulting in a multi-car collision. Adam arrests Tanaka, but the enormous man breaks out of the police cruiser en route to the station, causing yet another crash. Adam suffers injuries and is taken to the hospital. There, Jeff apologizes for proposing such a dangerous scheme. Adam cautions his brother about becoming obsessed with vengeance. Meanwhile, Jimmy spies on Yung’s associates and learns of his plan to move drugs from a San Pedro Harbor warehouse before escaping to Korea. Jeff outfits himself with various martial arts weapons and sneaks into the warehouse. After fighting his way past a dozen men, the Kenpo expert confronts Yung, knocking him unconscious. Tanaka arrives, and the fighting continues. However, the quick-thinking Jeff creates an explosion that kills Tanaka. Later, Jeff turns Yung over to police, bowing his head honorably to his father. Carl Sanders nods in return. The next day, Jeff visits Master Lo at the Kenpo school where he began his training. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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