Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back (1995)
Best Becomes West
The "Best of the Best" movies are a weird bunch, the original "Best of the Best" was an under dog sports movie, "Best of the Best 2" was a revenge movie and then there is "Best of the Best 3" which has an almost western storyline as we watch Tommy visit friends in a small town and take on the local group who are causing trouble and terrorizing the locals. The only thing really linking the three is other than Phillip Rhee who returns as Tommy is of course the martial arts action as Tommy uses his skill to fight all and sundry, although preferring not to hurt people. The sad news is that whilst I've always liked the storyline of a man coming to town and ridding it of its trouble it just doesn't work in "Best of the Best 3" and feels quite corny with a mix of over the top action, comedy and romance.
Following the death of Travis and being forced into killing Brakus, Tommy Lee (Phillip Rhee) has given up teaching martial arts because of what he did and is heading to see his old friends Sheriff Jack Banning (Christopher McDonald - Quiz Show) and his wife Karen (Anzu Lawson). But when he reaches their small town he learns that things are not good as a group of white supremacists are causing trouble and have killed Rev. Luther Phelps leaving Luther Phelps Jr. an orphan. Whilst not wanting any trouble Tommy has to face up to his demons and take on the supremacists lead by Donnie (Mark Rolston - The Shawshank Redemption) especially when they come after him, the Banning's and his new girlfriend Margo (Gina Gershon - Cocktail).
So as already mentioned the storyline to "Best of the Best 3" feels like a take on the western standard of the stranger rocking up in a town and ending up dealing with the local trouble. It does change things around as we have Tommy showing up in town to visit friends and the local trouble happens to be a group of white supremacists but the essence of the western standard is still there. As such you know that whilst Tommy doesn't want to fight and blames himself for having to kill Brakus, from the previous movie, he will inevitably end up kicking a lot of butt and bringing down the white supremacists.
Now along with the obvious storyline you also have several other obvious elements most notably a romance which runs a cliche course that when Tommy meets school teacher Margo Preston they don't get on but in the space of a few scenes become an item. You also have his friend Sheriff Jack Banning who tries to do things by the book but mans up when it becomes personnel and of course there is the good kid who falls in with the wrong crowd. To put it simply everything about "Best of the Best 3" is a cliche in one form or another and the transfer into a modern setting with some martial arts action doesn't disguise this.
Now in a way being cliche and obvious wouldn't have been terrible is it wasn't for the fact the action is seriously over the top and the comedy is misguided. The comedy really is only one scene where we have Tommy dressed as a clown with a bulbous red nose and huge feet and yes he does end up fighting bad guys with his giant clown feet. It really doesn't work and cheapens things to the point that it becomes cringe worthy. As for the action well let me give you an example Tommy is on foot, 3 baddies on motorbikes are racing towards him and with one bionic jump he delivers 3 kicks to knock out the baddies. It's simply over the top and whilst there is some nice one on one moments it far too often borders on the cheesy.
To be honest the best thing about "Best of the Best 3" is the acting and once again Phillip Rhee does a good job of playing Tommy even if his character becomes a walking cliche this time around. Despite the issues with the over the top action and comedy spoiling things the irony is Phillip delivers them well and you wonder why he didn't go on to be as big a star as Jackie Chan he certainly shows the ability. The rest of the cast well it's nice to watch Christopher McDonald deliver drama rather than comedy as Tommy's friend Sheriff Jack Banning and Gina Gershon looks beautiful through out as love interest Margot. Plus Mark Rolston does another nice turn as Donnie the deranged leader of the white supremacists, but none of the performances are memorable just what you expect.
What this all boils down to is that "Best of the Best 3" is another disappointment because it is so corny. Yes there are some nice fight scenes and once again Phillip Rhee puts in a credible performance but with plenty of over the top action and cringe worthy comedy it just doesn't work and is a far cry from the original "Best of the Best".
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