Bruce Lee’s Spirit Trains Student in “No Retreat, No Surrender”

Those of us within Generation X (and perhaps others too) and who are fans of martial arts films may remember the cult 1985 film “No Retreat, No Surrender“. It’s actually the American film directorial debut of the famed Hong Kong action choreographer Cory Yuen, and stars Jean-Claude Van Damme in his first major role.

The film is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, with many quotable moments and a often used plot that still draws the crowds. Young protagonist (Jason Stillwell) is the target of bullies and goes through various mishaps before wishing for help from the grave of his hero, Bruce Lee. The spirit of Bruce Lee arrives and subsequently trains Stillwell to the extent of beating the enemies including a snarling, box-splitting Van Damme as “The Russian”.

Bruce Lee is played by the South Korean martial artist Kim Tai-chung, who does a passable job in bring the legend to life. Here’s a clip of the training sequences in the film, and if this stirs up nostalgic memories in you, perhaps seek out the full film and indulge!

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