Movies & TV / Columns

The Man Movie Encyclopedia: Best of the Best 2

December 7, 2018 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
Best of the Best 2

Greetings, all.

I know it’s been a minute, and I apologize. I started working for Amazon, and that along with everything else your boy doing has kept me busy. But we’re back on track. It also took me a minute to find a movie, because I was really in the mood for some early 90’s martial arts movies, and I’ve covered just about every damn one of’em. But then I recalled this little gem, hell yeah.

Alright, enough jibber jabber, let’s find out who’s the best of the best….2!

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We open up with a helicopter dropping off Brakus, the uber-bad ass champion, who fights at a night club called The Stock Exchange. Man, growing up, every other movie released was about rich people watching under-ground fights. That was the entire reason I wanted to be successful. It wasn’t to make my parents proud, it wasn’t so I wouldn’t have to starve to death, hell no, it’s so I could go to parking garages at 3am on a Friday dressed in a suit and watch dudes fight! The guy who is basically the ring-leader is played by Wayne Newton. I want the sequel where Robert Gulet is a human trafficker.
So, the place they fight in is called ‘The Coliseum’, where Brakus is of course champ. It’s in a special VIP section of the Stock Exchange. Here, Travis, played by Chris Penn, has to face 3 dudes. Winning a substantial amount of money for each victory. If he can defeat all 3, he gets to face Brakus. Travis fights some black dude who looks like he sweats baby oil. Seriously, he’s so damn shiney, it’s distracting. He dismantles the guy prety easy.

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We then meet two other dudes on a camping trip, Alex, and Tyree. Alex is played by Eric Roberts, and Tyree by Phillip Rhee. Alex has a son, Walter, who’s gonna try for a black belt. We cut to their ceremony, and Walter is up there with 3 other kids, all about the age of 11-15. Yeah, any kid getting a black belt at that age is part of a McDojo. Unless that kid has been training since he was 1 or so. The final part is breaking wood and bricks. He’s unable to break his brick, thus, no belt. The lamest part of martial arts, the part my mother could do, is what keeps him from his black belt. I’d be so pissed if I spent all that damn time memorizing those stupid katas just to flunk. Hell no. We then get some lame duck shit where his dad says he’s proud of him even though he failed. Pssh. Nuts to that. The first thing you learn at the John Kreese School of Parenting is when your child fails, you grab the nearest folding chair and pummel them. Or punch them with a roll of quarters.

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Anyway, later that night Travis ends up stuck with Walter, and takes him to the coliseum, where Kane Hodder plays a security guard. Hell yeah. For whatever reason, Travis doesn’t have to fight all three dudes, he just smarted off to Brakus and got the fight. Travis is suppose to be on the US Karate team, but all he does is throw boxing style punches, and just stands there when Brakus holds his arm. Of course, Brakus kicks the shit out of him, and then they shut down the show, except for the super, super VIP who are all sitting in the VIP seats up above the fight platform. They’re allowed to vote, does Travis die, or live? Oh, he dies. Walter then runs away and tells his dad, and they go to the Stock Exchange. They meet up with Wayne Newton, and he says that Travis was here, but got his bell rung and left with a chick.
Well, next thing they see is Travis being pulled out of a lake with his car, making his death look like an accident. They then go to the Stock Exchange, and confront Newton. He swears up and down that Travis walked out of here, but then Brakus immediately confesses to killing him the second he’s asked. There’s a bit of a scuffle, Tyree ends up causing Brakus to cut his face on some glass, and that REALLY pisses of Brakus. Well, they decide to kill the kid and his dad, but Brakus wants Tyree. The next day, these dudes in a Lincoln chase Walter while he’s on his bike. Not only is he able to out freaking run them, but he rides his bike DIRECTLY into area 51! I want the sequel where his son out-runs Usane Bolt in a Ferrari and ducks into The Lost City of Atlantis for cover. Well, when he heads home, a bunch of bad dudes show up and get their asses kicked. They decide it’s not safe, so they head to Tommy’s grandma’s place some place out in the desert. It’s there we meet a relative of his, James, played by Sonny Landahm. James is just a drunk piece of shit, who wears denim EVERYTHING and is basically awesome. He even threatens to rip Tommy’s head off his head. We then hear about how James use to always fight when he was younger, disappeared one day to go fight over-seas, but got in a massive car accident and that was that. So, now he’s just a shitty drunk. Well, the grandma tells James that he better help Tommy, or he’s out of there. So, the next morning we learn that the car accident was actually Brakus, and that he’s 1 of 3 people in the world that can teach Tommy how to defeat him.
If it were me, we’d never even make it to the training stages, because I’d be too busy yammering:

Caliber: What are the odds?! Seriously. You go overseas and fight him, then I have a run in with him, resulting in me inevitably having to fight Brakus, so I have to hide out on a small reservation, where there just so happens to be ONE out of three people who can give me the cheat code to defeat him. That’s like a katrillion to 1. Also, James, do you own stock in Levi & Strouse or something? Do you pay Jay Leno to be your personal stylist? Everything you wear is denim. I bet even your socks & underwear are denim. I bet if I asked you what you had for breakfast this morning you’d say denim”

So, he teaches them to fight with bo-staffs because if they make it past the prelims, then it’s bo-staff time, then makes them head into a small tent, also known as a sweat lodge. He won’t let them leave once it gets super hot, and then a few more guys come in and start playing some Native music. Again, I would have to pipe up:

Caliber: OK, and what’s this for? In case I make it past the bo-staff part, and the third part is just dealing with really fucking annoying atmosphere? Brakus and I gonna each sit in front of a Costco heat-dish while wearing an electric blanket and driving while constantly having to pull out of places and turn left, and while you look to your right for traffic, the person riding with you leans forward and checks for traffic too, thus effectively blocking your eye-sight as they talk about the benefits of Keto dieting?

The next morning, Brakus’ men show up, and James offs a few before getting killed himself. They take Tommy, and blow up the rest of the place, assuming Alex, his kid, and the others are dead. But naturally, they escaped. Tommy has been taken to the Coliseum, where he will face Brakus for “challenging his invincibility”.

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Naturally, Tommy doesn’t just get to fight Brakus straight up, he’s gotta work his way up. Look, we may try and kill children and innocents, but we have a reputation to up hold. Tommy faces a champion boxer, and immediately breaks his leg and arm. Yeaaaah, I don’t think that’s how that’d go. Next up Tommy has to face a guy who won the gold in the Olympics via wrestling, and proceeds to not even ATTEMPT any sort of wrestling. He literally doesn’t even grab him once. This movie was co-written by Phillip Rhee, who plays Tommy. So, it’s no surprise he’s beating a champion boxer and Olympic wrestler. Although he’s letting me down, because if your boy is writing this…

Director: Cal, we gotta talk….
Caliber: About what?
Director: OK…so, you beat a champion boxer.
Caliber: Yeah…
Director: An Olympic wrestler…
Caliber: Right…
Director: Well, then it says here that your girlfriend, Kelly Divine, suddenly comes in and begs you not to fight, because your penis is so large and awesome. I dunno, that seems a bit—
Caliber: You’re right, I know what you’re gonna say. OK, let’s have a scene where I beat up two UFC champions at the same time, both of whom are each driving their own monster truck, and I first beat up the monster truck like in those Street Fighter/Final Fight bonus stages, and THEN Kelly can come in and talk about my awesome dick!

Well, Tommy gets pretty close to what I’d do. After that he beats a Mongolian type dude who fights with his hair. Honest to God. My favorite part is that now that Alex and such are free, they don’t bother calling the cops and telling them there’s an illegal underground fight going on, hosted by men who attacked and killed my friends, no, instead they go and get the Olympic TaeKwonDo team to help them kick ass! Goddammit I love the 90s.
Meanwhile, Alex drops Walter off at his girlfriend’s house, a reporter, who mentions that she heard Tommy is gonna face Brakus. How the hell did she hear this?! Yeah, I heard all about your friend being illegally held and forced to fight to the death. That’s the scuttlebut! Also, she has her TV off in the corner of a room, without her sofa or chair pointing at it. I’m so annoyed by this.
Well, Tommy and Brakus finally have their fight, and it ain’t too shabby. Tommy gets in a good amount of hits before they fight with the steel bo-staffs. Meanwhile, Alex and the TaeKwonDo cats are going through the club and beating the shit out of everyone. Tommy finally beats Brakus, and kills him after he attacks Tommy once the fight was suppose to be over. Tommy’s freaking hair isn’t even messed up. Dude got punched, kicked, kneed, and hit with a steel bar multiple times, and his freaking hair isn’t even messed up. Man, I need to write my own movie. Wayne Newton is like “hey, you should keep fighting! You can earn $20 mill a year!” and acts as if he didn’t have their friend killed, lied about it, then attempted to have them all killed, ended up killing Tommy’s brother, and blowing up his grandma’s land. I mean, sure, some people may consider those a big deal, I guess.

MAN MOVIE TALLY:
1-Liners: 0
Guys Beat Up: 21
Guys Killed: 3
Swear Words: 8
Boobies: 0
Explosions: 1
Chase: 0
Broken Bones: 2
Fight/Shoot-Out At Motel?: No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy Smoke?: No

BOX-OFFICE BUSINESS:
The budget was $7 million dollars, and it almost made that much back at the end of it’s theatrical run, after debuting on March 7th, 1993.

MAN FACTS:
Because of how this performed at the box-office, the remaining sequels were released direct to video. I’m absolutely shocked they felt this was something worthy of cinemas.

Kane Hodder, mostly famously known for playing Jason Voorhees, is the cat working the back door, and even gets stabbed with a pencil.

C’MON BENNETT, LET’S PARTY!:
This might be the quintisential early 90’s martial arts movie ever made. Best of the Best 2 is pure B-Movie. The acting is…well, it’s something, some of the characters are ridiculous, the plot is other-worldly insane and absurd, but all that matters is that it’s fun, and this movie is fun. This is one of those movies you’d get the most out of with your buddies and some booze. You get some solid fight scenes, a bodybuilder turned actor, and Wayne Newton. What more could you ask for?
***1/4th Head-Butts out of 5

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
Twitter: @CaliberWinfield
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I post almost daily with workout related stuff to help you cats out, along with what’s coming down the pike via the MME, and general pop culture from the 80s and 90s that I can’t seem to let go of.
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If you just can’t wait until next week, you can also find me at these fine places:
Only A Ninja Can Review A Ninja: The Man Movie Encyclopedia
The deadly arts contained inside these movies can only be viewed and reviewed by one man, Caliber Winfield. For only a ninja, can review a ninja. I cover all the classics, from Enter The Ninja, American Ninja, to the modern films such as Ninja Assassin and Ninja. I don’t want to say this book has both saved and changed lives, but this book has both saved and changed lives.
The Man Movie Encyclopedia: The Hall of Burly – Vol. 1 – A collection of the first 19 MME articles written for 411. You get all the classics like Commando, Robocop, and Die Hard, not to mention bad-assery such as Point Break and They Live. Beyond that, you also get two new articles. My Top 5 favorite action movies, and what I believe to be the Top 5 most over-the-top scenes in action movie history. I won’t lie, it’s the greatest self=help/martial arts instruction book of all time.
My Summer Vacation At Camp Crystal Lake – My brand new ebook that’s become so popular it’s charting on the album sales charts. I cover the Friday The 13th franchise in Man Movie Encyclopedia fashion, followed up by a few list-based articles, chronicling my favorite kills, moments from the franchise, and a few other subjects. $3 via amazon, or simply email me and get it for $2, either way, it’ll probably change your life.
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