It doesn’t get much simpler than this: A boy can’t be controlled by his father, so he enrolls him a class to learn the ways of a martial art – to teach him discipline. The boy becomes a master of the art, but still hasn’t quite grasped the concept of the discipline part. After beating up some kid in the schoolyard, he gets banished from his home, and years later returns to reconnect with his old master. When the master gets murdered, the boy has finally become a man – and a master himself, and avenges his friend. He has become THE PERFECT WEAPON! 😀 (that title just begs to be capitalized.)
Jeff Speakman is Jeff Sanders, the young man who was a great pole vaulter (that’ll actually come in to play later), and great student in the martial art of Kenpo. According to the film, as an adult he shovels dirt for a living and practices his kenpo Kata to Snap!’s excellent 1990 single “The Power” at night. When he returns to his old neighborhood, he visits his old buddy Kim (Mako) who took him as a young boy to teach him discipline and the art of Kenpo. Too bad for Kim, he’s having a hard time in Korea-town keeping his planter business from being smashed up by some gangsters.
When Jeff makes a stand and protect’s Kim’s store, Kim becomes a target for being difficult. Sadly, gangsters send their assassin (Professor Toru Tanaka) to take care of Kim, Jeff can’t be there to save him. Now Jeff blames himself and he’s going to take down the Korean cartel, and bring Kim’s killer to justice.
Sometimes a movie can be a series of connecting the dots, with a twist here and a turn there. The Perfect Weapon, on the other hand is about as close as you can come to being a straight line. It does have a gentle curve near the middle of the movie when one of the Korean gang leaders throws a knuckleball, but it’s fairly straightforward. This is Jeff Speakman’s first role, and is obviously a showcase for his martial arts skills. It’s one scene after another of fight scenes, loosely held together by this murder/mystery storyline. This is another example of a film where you could watch the trailer and be able to write a pretty detailed account of what actually happens in the film. It’s just like being there. Thankfully the fights are choreographed well enough to redeem it for the time you’re committing to watching it.
You might do what I did, and look at the credits, only to see Mariska Hargitay, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, then think “wow, this movie has some star power”. Sorry Charlie, you’d be mistaken. Hargitay appears on camera for about 2 total minutes with no lines of dialog, and Tagawa has a small bit part as a glorified bodyguard. You’re gonna mostly see Speakman kicking, punching and breaking limbs, and Tanaka near the end of his life limping around and doing some absolutely ridiculous things, like lifting cars on his own and taking repeated kicks to his old knees.
The Perfect Weapon is a great movie when you don’t want to think too hard… seriously. What other movie can you see a guy pick up a piece of piping and use it to pole vault over a fence, then bust some dudes in the face? I’m sure it’s a very short list of films. Also, where else are you going to see one of the worst haircuts in film history. I mean seriously, this guy’s hair makes his head look like a penis. In closing, sit back, crack a couple beers and watch Jeff Speakman do his thing. The Perfect Weapon gets 2.5 arnis out of 5.