To Be the Best

(Joseph Merhi, USA, 1993)


To Be the Best is an action extravaganza that does not muck around.

The first scene alone features an illegal kickboxing competition taking place on the street, a moral dilemma for the hero (Mike Worth) in choosing between gangland corruption and the tarnished honour of his alcoholic father (Martin Kove), and a spectacular helicopter stunt up above the glittering rooftops of Las Vegas.

This introduction done, director Joseph Merhi sweeps his characters into vigorous preparations for the big Vegas contest between the ace kickboxing teams of America and Thailand.

The fight scenes, which come fast and furious, are punctuated by romantic interludes – a woman reassures her kickboxing boyfriend that his manhood is "solid iron" – and hilarious comparisons of gutsy Western pragmatism with sublime Eastern mysticism.

MORE Merhi: Direct Hit, Magic Kid

© Adrian Martin September 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search