Image Copyright (c) 1987 Seasonal Films / Universal
Starring: Loren Avedon, Cynthia Rothrock, Matthias Hues, Max Thayer
Directed By: Corey Yuen Kwei
aka: Raging Thunder / Karate Tiger 2
When a sequel to a landmark film (in the martial arts film sense) comes out and surpasses it's original it's often a surprise.
But what's more surprising is when the sequel shares none of the original cast or follow the story of the Original then you have to stand up and take notice.
Now to be honest after Jean Claude Van Damme and Kurt McKinney pulled out of the filming the sequel to No Retreat No Surrender (they never showed for the first days filming) the producers needed to find some one .
Now of course the story changed and the film moved from being filmed in the states to Thailand.
The film opens with some rebels being shot in Cambodia , then we have the credits come up with the Name 'Raging Thunder ' and the Tag Line No Retreat No Surrender 2.The film is clearly a new story and one that goes head to head with films around that like Rambo, Eastern Condors, Missing in Action and such like.
The film follows Scott Wilde ( Loren Avedon) who arrives in Thailand to visit his girlfriend who he wants to marry .
After visiting a Old Buddies Gym (who no longer frequents the place ) he runs in to Terry (Cynthia Rothrock) a young female fighter who complicates matters for him by getting him involved in a fight.
After a friendly but tough battle , he replies i was just looking for a friend , Mack Jarvis.Terry replies 'what do you want with that lowlife and kinda points him in the right direction.
Later on Scott acquires a room at a really classy Hotel one where even the Rats complain about the dirt.He phones his girlfriend Su-lin and they arrange a meeting .After a nice but interesting dinner which consists of the regions finer delicacies.
The couple return to Scotts Hotel room for some R&R ,after a short while and a knock at the door Scott is confronted by a group of Machete wielding guys who storm in hold him at bay and get on about kidnapping Su-lin.As they take her out Scott finds himself having to fight for his life .Ina blistering array of Kicks and evasion techniques Scott escapes but also he killed some locals and this is not good.
With the only clue in hand being the address of Su-lin.Arriving at Su-Lins he discovers Police at the residence and all of her family have been assassinated and only the father is missing .
Showing the ID of Su-lin to the Police Scott is instantly arrested.
Getting grilled at the Police station the officials and Su-lins Father who is present behind a one way mirror decide he has nothing to do with it and was only trying to help.
But as there are problems with a coo in Cambodia they decide he should be put on a plane with a restriction on his Visa so that he can not renter the country for 3 months till the trouble blows over.
The morning of his flight , Scott is escorted to the plane at gunpoint but before he gets on the plane he makes a dash for it making his get away on a motorbike that is conveniently placed .
Getting to the city center he visits a bar which is where Terry told him he would find Mack Jarvis.
Finding his friend the two reunite , but as now Scott's picture is all over the TV Mack wants to know what he's been up to ,after convincing Mack that he has not been smuggling Drugs or being in any other illegal dealings the two go for a meal and to share whats been going on .But They are spotted by the criminals working for the kidnappers and are attacked .
Now they must fight for their lives .
With no hesitation the two burst in to action dispatching foes ,as guys smash through tables ,crates and stalls more and more adversaries arrive , Scott leaps in to action spinning on tables kicking guys to oblivion while Mack uses a more crude approach (anyone for a cigar in the ear).
Coming out on top the guys get a clue to climb death mountain before their captive is blasted to bits with a grenade.Now they go to Mack's Warehouse.
whilst all this is all going on, poor Su-lin is in the Cong's stronghold on Death Mountain which is run by the Russians and their sadistic Commander (Mathias Hues) who likes nothing more then playing games with peoples lives and feeding them to the crocodiles and along with his side kick played by the ever menacing Hwang Jung Lee the two make life hell for those who oppose them.
Now Mack just happens to be in Possession of military weapons and other surplus as he trades in anything he can get his hands on.
Scott wants Mack to help him get Su-lin back ,but then that means going to Cambodia ,after some coaxing Mack agrees .
Arranging for a Pilot to fly them into Cambodia the two prepare , upon leaving they find they are surrounded by the local Police ,making a fast getaway they reach the Helicopter that has arrived to take them to Cambodia , upon entering they discover their Pilot is none other then Terry, after some sarcasm between our happy band they land in Cambodia only to be surrounded by gun wielding rebels and taken Captive , I'm out of breadth just watching this far .
But all is well as the Rebels leader is a friend of Mack ,and for a price agrees to help him get to where he wants to go , plus he wants to hold on to his Pilot as security which gets Terry's back up in an instant.
But before their deal can be set the camp is attacked by the Cong and the camp is blasted to bits as the rebels run for cover .
Unable to reach their Helicopter before it's blasted to bits our trio escape in the river ,but not before Scott takes some shrapnel saving Terry.
Camping out for the night and drying off the next morning they set of and come across a Buddhist temple , Scott being a man of respect requests they leave their weapons at the entrance before entering.
Arriving in the temple they pay their respects and ask if they could be pointed in the direction of Death Mountain , our friendly Monk says yes I will show you , then at that moment they are leap't on by a barrage of Monks trussing them up like dogs.
In a bid to break free they fight and continue to get battered until they are tied up .Luckily Mack has brought his knife in to cut them free .
Now they must escape fighting our so called monks and more Cong soldiers who appear from know where.
Making there way to the waters edge Terry spots a boat as she turns it around our two guys are attacked form the very boat she is on , they have Terry and want to annihilate our heroes.Running for their lives they enter a building that our Cong friends blow up.
Terry thinks all is lost , but our heroes have got out and now want revenge .
They discover the real monks that have been tied up to, luckily they been housed in a shack full of weapons, this how monks aqquire weapons by getting visitors to leave their weapons outside.
Now it's up to Scott and Mack to rescue the girls , but first they must get to Death Mountain and it ain't going to be easy , going through forests and traversing cliff faces and water falls the two finally reach their destination and plan a attack but they better be quick as Terry and Su-lin are due to be executed the next day and our reptile friends are hungry.
The morning arrives and our heroes are woken by shrieks from the camp , upon looking they notice Terry and Su-lin hanging over the crocodile pit with only the weight of sandbags to stop them from falling in to the pit,OH NO 'thy have shot holes in the bags , our girls are on their way to being eaten.
In to action our two heroes burst ,setting of traps and gunfire to attract the soldiers ,in a burst of gunfire many soldiers are shot , death charges are let off and this gives time for our guys to get in to the camp .With Scott keeping the soldiers at bay this gives time for Mack to free the girls ,once all are safe and the last few soldiers are killed or frightened away Scott runs to join his friends , but our crazy commander has plans and aims to shoot ,saving Scott by leaping on him Terry takes the full barrage of bullets .
Now the final battle will take place as Scott must defeat the sadistic commander and the battle will be one of brawn against agility.
In a fight to rival many Scott goes up against the Commander who is a giant of a man , unleashing everything he can on him from metal poles to chairs , desks and more , the fight goes on but in the final stages Scott must find the courage to defeat him and when the opportunity comes Scott manages to tie him up and drag him to the Pit of Crocodiles , with the help of a Jeep that is, he's a Big Man.
The film ends with Scott reunited with Su-lin while Mack must mourn the passing of Terry while he holds her in his arms.
Whoa! what a action packed film ' NRNS2 -Raging Thunder is , from start to finish the action does not let up ,and when your mixing stunning martial arts with gun play action , this top film surpasses the original No Retreat No Surrender by far.when you have a cast of people who bring so much to the film, from Loren and Cynthia's brilliant fight action against their nemesis in the film , our top two bad guys Matthias Hues and the legendary Hwang Jang Lee ,then you mix this with well thought out gun play scenes with large explosions and pyrotechnics and you have a winner.
Now just debating here , it's quite well known that the first film many people saw , No Retreat No Surrender was a large hit and many people who love martial arts films have seen it , I was surprised from talking to people that some have not seen No'2 ''Shock Horror enters my mind'' Maybe if it had been released as a standalone film called Raging Thunder it may have fared better , because at no point in the film do our heroes mention the words ''No Retreat No Surrender '' Though there are a couple of points in the film they could have .
So if you have not seen this Sequel to one of the great martial art films of our time , then I suggest you do as it far outshines it's predecessor and even though shot on a smaller budget is more on par with Sammo Hungs magnum opus ''Eastern Condors.
Points of Interest
Taekwondo Master Hwang Jung Lee and Loren Avedon became good friends on set, Scott fell ill and Master Hwang made sure he was ok.
In 1991 Loren Avedon's Taekwondo Master in the USA , Grandmaster Jun Chong made a film called Street Soldiers where he cast Master Hwang Jung Lee in his only American film role.
Matthias Hues who plays the Russian ,Yuri had no Martial arts experiance before hand and was taught whilst filming under the guidence of Master Hwang Jung Lee.
The Director Corey Yuen Kwei is one of the Seven Little Fortunes who trained at the Peking Opera school with Jackie Chan , Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.
Cynthia Rothrock had previously worked with the Director when she was cast opposite Yuen Biao in Above the Law ( Wrighting Wrongs) 1986.
At the original date of this review I had actually had the pleasure to meet Loren Avedon , Cynthia Rothrock , Matthias Hues and Keith W Strandberg at a event in Germany .
Having watched the film on it's VHS release in the UK , it's quite a different viewpoint when the people your watching you have met and told you stories of how the film was made.
I have also been Lucky enough to meet Cynthia again after this and also had the pleasure of meeting the Silver Fox himself , Master Hwang Jung Lee .
Score out of Ten = 9.5
Review Date: 08-10-2010
updated - August 2021
Some faults with the DVD release (UK VERSION) is that there are no subtitles for the Thai spoken segments of the film , I am sure the original VHS release did have.
Want to see this in the States on DVD ,well you can't it has not been released as of yet.
The film is only available on Region 2 and 4 Europe and Australia.
So all we need now is some fine company to buy the rights to remaster , put on a 5.1 soundtrack and add some features for the series and we would have the perfect set.
But until that day , your have to put up with what's out there.
|Directed by||Corey Yuen|
|Written by||Maria Elena Cellino |
Keith W. Stranberg
|Music by||David Spear|
|Cinematography||Ma Kam Cheung |
Nicholas Josef von Sternberg
|Distributed by||Shapiro-Glickenhaus Home Video|
|Release date(s)||November 5, 1987 (Phillipines)|
|Running time||104 min. (DVD version)|