Best of the Best 2 (1993)

Phillip Rhee as Tommy Lee in Best of the Best 2

At least it's not the Worst of the Worst

"Best of the Best" wasn't a good movie but with its underdog story it entertained at the most simplest level, delivering action for martial arts fans. And to give credit where it is due at least "Best of the Best 2", the first of 3 sequels, didn't just rehash the underdog story giving us something different with a tale of revenge. But whilst not a rehash "Best of the Best 2" is neither a good movie nor a good sequel and in fact is frankly disappointing. When I say the best part of the movie is a training montage it doesn't speak much for the rest of it.

Having returned home and set up a martial arts school things are going well for Alex (Eric Roberts), Travis (Chris Penn) and Tommy (Phillip Rhee) especially Alex who has found love with sports reporter Sue MacCauley (Meg Foster). But unbeknown to Alex and Tommy, Travis has been taking part in an underground fight club called the Coliseum but they find out when Travis takes Walter (Edan Gross) to watch him fight the champion Brakus (Ralf Moeller) only to see him killed. Determined to get their revenge Tommy and Alex set about getting in shape to take on the giant Brakus but also have to flee their home when Brakus sends men around to kill them and young Walter.

Ralf Moeller and Wayne Newton in Best of the Best 2

Whilst "Best of the Best 2" isn't just a rehash of "Best of the Best" it doesn't exactly deliver an original storyline with it's tale of revenge as Alex & Tommy set about taking on the mighty Brakus for killing their friend Travis. That is all there really is and frankly it's not enough to fill a movie which is 101 minutes long. It means that there is a heck of a lot of padding as it works its way to the big finale as Tommy takes on Brakus in the Coliseum and it seems to take an age to get there.

To be honest "Best of the Best 2" actually starts reasonably well, we learn that Alex, Tommy and Travis have set up a martial arts school teaching children and of course one of those is Alex's son Walter. And we also discover that Travis is fighting in the illegal underground fight club called the Coliseum which operates below a night club. There is something a bit "A.W.O.L." about this with the illegal fight club but rather than garage fights this is in a proper building. But it goes back and fourth with some painful sentimentality till eventually Travis is killed at the hands of Brakus, you begin to wonder whether anything will ever happen.

The middle section isn't any better as we have Tommy and Alex discovering that Brakus killed their friend and having to flee for their lives when Brakus orders Alex and Walter to be killed whilst Tommy brought to him to fight in the Coliseum. It basically goes on and on with various training scenes whilst introducing us to Tommy's "grandmother" and her son James who helps train Alex and Tommy despite being a drunk. As I said it doesn't say much for "Best of the Best 2" that the best part is the various training montages in this middle section and to be honest these aren't that good either.

All of which leads to the big fight where Tommy has to fight Brakus in a bloody battle of martial arts skill versus sheer muscle and strength. Now the outcome is predictable, good guys win in these sorts of movies but what does take you aback is the perceived level of violence. On a couple of times we witness Tommy breaking bad guy's arms and of course we also witness Travis's demise with his neck being broken. For a movie which for the most is very tame these few action scenes stand out for being in your face.

As for the acting the less said the better with both Eric Roberts and Phillip Rhee delivering the same sort of characterization that they did in the first movie and yes that does mean we get the emotional speech from Alex. Ralf Moeller basically flashes a lot of muscle whilst sounding like Arnie as he plays the evil Brakus and Wayne Newton, yes that Wayne Newton, is purposefully annoying as owner of the fight club Weldon. The two performances which stand out are those from Meg Foster and Sonny Landham and whilst Landham is fun as the hard drinking James, Foster stands out because of her stunning eyes which are mesmerising.

What this all boils down to is that whilst at least they gave "Best of the Best 2" a different storyline they didn't bother to make a good movie. It is obvious, cliche, cheesy and drawn out with only a few brutal moments of violence and Meg Foster's stunning eyes being memorable. Even the martial arts on show isn't that special and the best parts of the movie are the very cliche training montages.