Plot: Greg (Dean Cochran) has been blowing off his karate lessons of late, in order to spend more time with his new friends, a squad of martial artists who call themselves the Scorpions. This crew is led by Taylor (Corey Feldman), a local bad ass who loves to fight, get into trouble, and wear dark shades. Greg’s little brother Ethan (T.J. Roberts) was the one who let their mom know about Greg skipping class, to which Greg insists he just wants cool friends and hot chicks. But as it turns out, the Scorpions are involved in more than just mild hijinks, as a home invasion is planned to test Greg’s dedication and when the innocent homeowners are attacked, it is too much. He then fights off the Scorpions, only to be maced, killed, and then framed as a suicide. But Ethan is certain his brother was murdered, so he goes undercover to reveal the truth…
Entertainment Value: This 90s karate flick has Corey Feldman as a juvenile delinquent kingpin, Dick Van Patten as a hapless principal, and Mako as a venerable sensei, plus a wealth of high school martial arts madness. This is pure cheese of course, with a Karate Kid inspired narrative, though T.J. Roberts is never shown as weak or bullied, quite the opposite. If Corey Feldman as a karate bad boy isn’t enough of a draw, perhaps a kid beating up grown ups will be the extra push you need. Roberts might be a kid, but he handles all the action requirements with ease and adds a lot to the fight scenes, even if his dramatic chops are laughable at best. I especially love when he figures out his brother was maced, you can see him try to convey the thought process and it is nothing short of hilarious. Meanwhile, Feldman is immense fun as the villain and he milks the b movie bad guy role, while he is also capable in the action scenes. This isn’t Jackie Chan level martial arts madness, but it is solid, fun fight work. I also love how this has an almost after school special vibe, which just takes to another level of 90s b movie cheese greatness. I think anyone interested in 90s martial arts movies, Corey Feldman, or silly teen movies will find a lot to like here.
No nakedness. These dudes have karate related concerns, police issues, and homework to deal with, so little time for romance. No blood. This one has a good amount of karate action, but all the violence is bloodless. I did appreciate the multiple times people are maced in the face, however. The fight scenes are solid, no one seems out of place or unable to hold their own during the showdowns. Roberts is a natural and puts on a terrific effort in the fight scenes, his youth and size are never an issue, as he is a more than believable action hero here. I especially liked the beach duel fights, but there’s a good, steady stream of fights to soak in. The dialogue is fun here, with bully talk, juvenile delinquent chatter, and inspirational wisdom from Mako. All the usual high school stereotypes are here, as well. In terms of craziness, Feldman as an evil karate kingpin is wild, but overall, this one sticks close to genre guidelines. It is still a lot of fun, it just never gets that wild.
Overall Insanity: 1/10