8 January 2015 | dee.reid
"The Power Within"
Art Camacho's 1995 martial arts fantasy flick "The Power Within" is good at what it wants to be - a martial arts fantasy flick with a good message about believing in yourself and your own abilities, and fulfilling your own potential.
Stan Dryer (Ted Jan Roberts) is an average teenager who's having trouble making the grade in school, gets beaten up by the bullies on the school's football team (despite the fact that Stan is taking lessons in Karate and is not very good at it), and is being urged by his best friend Eric Graves (Keith Coogan) to ask pretty popular girl Sandy Applegate (Tracy Melchoir) out to prom - but he's too scared to do so. In other words, he lacks any sense of self-confidence.
To top it off, one day, Stan manages to save the elderly martial arts master, Master Yung (Gerald Okamura), from thugs. Master Yung dies not long after the struggle, but not before having passed the mysterious and mystical Ring of Power onto Stan, who now finds himself in possession of incredible strength and martial arts skills. It turns out that the Ring of Power is actually the SECOND of two Rings of Power, the other belonging to Raymond Vonn (William Zabka, of "The Karate Kid"), an art thief and master criminal, who now wants both rings for himself.
"The Power Within" is very much a "B" movie for teenagers with some after-school special trappings, though it's not one without a good message about believing in yourself and your abilities. The acting is a mixed bag; Ted Jan Roberts, a kiddie actor known for his martial arts skills in Tae Kwon Do, is easily identifiable as the Everyman that the audience can latch onto, even if his performance is a little bit hammy at times. William Zabka is by far the film's strongest performer, even if he comes off as nothing more than just a standard movie bad guy (which is not too far removed from the violent teenage black belt he played in "The Karate Kid").
P.S.: International Kickboxing legend Don "The Dragon" Wilson makes an inspiring walk-on cameo as himself...