No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder (1989)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 23-Feb-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-No Retreat, No Surrender I & III, King Of Kickboxers
Trailer-King Of Kickboxers - American Shaolin,Superfights, Bloodmoon
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 105:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Corey Yuen
Studio
Distributor
Seasonal Film Corp
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Loren Avedon
Max Thayer
Cynthia Rothrock
Matthias Hues
Patra Wanthivanond
Jang Lee Hwang
Nirut Sirijunya
Perm Hongsakul
Roy Horan
Hollywood Lam
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music David Spear


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Despite its name, No Retreat, No Surrender II ( also called Raging Thunder) is in no way a continuation of No Retreat, No Surrender. After looking forward to seeing Jean Claude Van-Damme in No Retreat, I was surprised to see he only had a bit part despite being the "name" selling the movie. Likewise, I was just as surprised to find No Retreat, No surrender II has no connection at all to the first movie. Oriental mystery, or American cash-grabbing propaganda?

"You can't do this, I'm an American!"

    Loren Avedon is Scott Wylde, a Tae Kwon-Do fighter from America who arrives in Bangkok Thailand to meet up with his fiancée Sulin Nguyen (Patra Wanthivanond). Scott looks the typical American, an older Karate Kid. Skin tight denim jeans, white socks, whiter shoes and a sometimes baseball cap. After Sulin is kidnapped we later discover that Scott has unwittingly become embroiled in a Russian/Khmer Rouge power play (huh?). What seems a random kidnapping turns into war. Scott and his best friend Mac Jarvis (Max Thayer) must infiltrate Cambodia where radical red Russians have established a base camp in the jungle (wha?). Mac runs a little bit of this, little bit of that import/export business. Which is why he has machine guns, heavy machine guns, deadly accurate massively long ranged cross bows, hand grenades, helicopters and even mobile howitzers on tap (why don't I have friends like this?). Which is fortunate when you're taking on Big Red all on your lonesome. So suitably dressed, knifed and gunned up, it's off to the jungle we go.

"You wanna start a war, you got one!"

    The fights in this movie are very good. The sound, though, is poor, and takes some of the gloss off the encounters. The action is non-stop and there are many many fights ranging from simple one on ones to our two heroes taking on multiple opponents in hand-to-hand fisticuffs. There's also explosions galore, raging gun battles and booby traps. As is normally the case it all gets a bit too simple and over the top the longer the movie runs. You wonder just what will stop our lead characters. The enemy has no hope despite his numerical superiority.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The first forty minutes or so of this movie are woeful in terms of quality. The quality does improve as the movie progresses and I can offer no explanation why.

    No Retreat, No Surrender II is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It's not clear if the transfer is full frame or pan and scan.

    Right from the get go the footage is grainy and contains a continuous stream of artefacts. The night scenes, and there are many at the start, contain a lot of low level noise. While the quality improves after about the first 40 minutes or so it is distracting.

    Colour is adequate. Much of the movie takes place at night, in the jungle or in the jungle during the night, so there are lots of dark earthy tones and camouflage greens on offer.

    This movie has no subtitles.

    The disc appears to be single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The video begins badly but improves towards the end. The audio is never as bad as the video is in the beginning, but neither does it improve and so by the end of the movie the picture is better but the sound is still lacking.

    We have an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) track on offer.

    Dialogue is clear except for a few lines, and audio sync is only problematic in some early scenes where the dialect is Cambodian (or Thai?).

    The music at the beginning of the movie is a sappy "Raging Thunder" track, more akin to a love story than an action movie. Female singer crooning about raging thunder, it tries to bring some "love" to the movie in an attempt to make us feel attached and emotionally involved as boyfriend tries to track down kidnapped girlfriend. This just confuses things and sends mixed messages. This movie is a martial arts / war movie. It fails to reach any level of touching love story.

    It's two point oh (2.0). It lacks grunt. Fist impacts, gun shots and mortar round explosions are hollow and lack body. They sound fake. It lets the movie down. There is some panning across the front speakers, though, on a few occasions, and it does this well. There are a limited number of sound dropouts and pops. These in themselves are not distracting, but the overall quality of sound is. It reduces any realism the fights have. Some of this blame rests with the effects in use during 1988. Despite the sound effects, the sound quality is lacking throughout.

    There is no subwoofer activity, despite there being plenty of opportunities for it with explosions and such.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The main menu has some footage from the start of the movie running in the background. It's not a long loop though. A superimposed night sight scope type effect is running over the movie footage.

Theatrical Trailer

    Familiar trailers on offer here. Just over twenty minutes of trailers in fact and so full of action it's like watching a highlights movie spliced together. American Shaolin, No Retreat, No Surrender II (Raging Thunder), No Retreat, No Surrender, Super Fights, The King of the Kick Boxers, No Retreat, No Surrender III (Blood Brothers) and Bloodmoon are all martial arts action flix. They appear to be the same trailers that appear on No Retreat, No Surrender.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Known as Karate Tiger 2 in Europe, No Retreat, No Surrender 2 in the USA and also as Raging Thunder.

    I could not find any differences between the R4 and R1 release, however since this movie is part of a box set, I'll award this one to R4.

Summary

    A boy's own action film that comes close to action comedy towards the end due to super heroics. This movie will appeal to older kids and junior teens.

    The video begins badly but improves.

    The audio is poor, consistently so.

    Over 22 minutes of extras for other martial arts movies, for fans of the genre it's all good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Kristen Clark & Ryan Woodforde (I love the smell of bio in the morning.)
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayPioneer PDP436HD 43" Plasma Display Panel. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS494
SpeakersKrix Lyrix front speakers, Krix KDX-C centre speaker, Krix Equinox rear speakers, BIC D-121OR 12' 200 watt powered sub-woofer.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE