Thursday, February 19, 2015

Zum Zum

Two things we like are Mark Dacascos and the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. With Only the Strong (1993), you get both.

First, what is capoeira (if you know the answer, you can skip this part)? In the slave times in Brazil, the new arrivals from Africa developed an unarmed style of self-defense based on fluid motion and acrobatics. It is usually practiced to the beat of drums, especially the berimbau, a bow with a gourd resonator, and traditional songs like "Paranoue" and "Zum Zum Zum, Capoeira Mata Um". It is now practiced as a form of dance and meditation, almost as much as for fighting.

So, Mark Dacascos is a Green Beret, come back to his inner-city high-school. To pay back the teacher who believed in him, he decides to reform the rottenest kids by teaching them how to play capoiera. But will the drug lords who rule the neighborhood let him get away with it? Can he beat their boss (Paco Chistian Prieto), who also knows capoeira, and is very, very large?

I think you know the answer to these and many other questions (will prim teacher Stacey Travis fall for Mark? Judging by the gooey lust in her eyes, yes). The set up and teachers were so stereotypical I wondered if they were intended to be a parody. On the other hand, the capoeira is pretty sweet. Maybe not the best fights ever, but a lot of fun to watch.

I don't know why there are so few capoiera movies, and about 1,000 Step Ups.

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