The Martial Arts Kid
by Bobby Blakey
For years Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock have been dominating the world of martial arts as two of the biggest names in both the martial arts industry as well as martial arts films. Recently they teamed up for a different kind of film with The Martial Arts Kid, that takes them away from the hardnosed killing they are known for and instead looking to bring a positive message to the world. After a successful theatrical run and multiple awards could this still bring their signature style to the fans or will it miss the target trying to send its message?
The Martial Arts Kid follows a troubled teen from Cleveland experiences bullying in Cocoa Beach, but finds learning the Martial Arts to gain confidence and self-defense skills. While having Wilson and Rothrock in the film is enough of a reason to check it out, this film does sport a good supporting cast including Jansen Panettiere, Matthew Ziff, T.J. Storm, and Natasha Blassick along with a who’s who of martial arts in cameo appearances. This is a different kind of movie than fans of Wilson and Rothrock are used to, but in a good way. This film not only sets out to entertain with the martial arts action, but more so to deliver a message to the viewers. This looks to showcase the important difference between traditional martial arts and the world of MMA without ever bashing either one. While this message is one that is blurred in the martial arts world more often than not, the real important thing to take away from this film is the anti-bullying message. This isn’t just another throw away film about the action, but instead has taken a familiar story and turned it into an important message for more than just those in the martial arts. Rothrock and Wilson feel more natural than ever before in this film as they are almost playing versions of themselves. Wilson has a few great moments in the mentor role teaching a class and it is though you are just watching him teach in real life and makes sure to share important true wisdom to the students both on and off screen. Both of them get a chance to showcase their skills in one on one fights as well as a fun big fight sequence.
While they are the icons of the film the real star is Jansen Panettiere who does a decent job in the role. The character isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but he manages to make it his own and bring the needed emotion and growth needed for it to succeed. Of course when watching any film that showcases a who’s who of martial arts then you expect to get some quality action. While there isn’t any overly exciting high flying stunts it still delivers. This is meant to be more down to Earth and believable fight scenes that showcase the cast’s abilities and bring some expected action to the fans. The climax of the film is a lot of fun getting to see not only the individuals doing their thing, but also seeing the variety of techniques and styles that are showcased. The best of them all comes in the form of Wilson facing off against TJ Storm in an old school classic fight that is sure to please.
Going into this movie you need to keep in mind that this is an independent film that didn’t set out to make a badass action movie, but instead something for the whole family that will not only entertain, but make you think about both martial arts and the horrible epidemic of bullying in our country. This film will no doubt be making changes in people and that is all that matters. They have done such a great job with this message that it was awarded five doves, the highest possible score from The Dove Foundation. If you are looking for a film with a good message for the whole family that brings along two of the most iconic martial artists in Hollywood then look no further and check out The Martial Arts Kid. In addition to the film this release includes the theatrical trailer, commentary, deleted scenes and more.
To grab your copy of the Blu-ray or DVD as well as posters and shirts for The Martial Arts kid head over to http://www.martialartskidmovie.com/