Extreme Challenge (2001)

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006

I enjoyed Extreme Challenge - cheesy and cheap, but decent entertainment. Loved the little ABC lass, who I believe used to be a Power Ranger :)

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/03/2005
Summary: Check out the fight scenes.....

From the man who maybe gave us Jet Li's last good movie [Hitman] comes a 'classic' martial arts tournament movie all tricked up for the 21st Century. The back story is very corny with it's broad philosophical brush strokes, but don't worry about that. Check out the fight scenes in this one. Awesome.

copyright 2003 J.Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/16/2003
Summary: Enjoyable piece

The Extreme Challenge is a movie that can be enjoyed by any action fan.

The main complaint by others is that the plot has been used in every other movie in history. Clearly, this is an overstatement. While the plot is nothing new, it is satisfactory. I wonder why people don't complain about John Woo overusing his themes of friendship and honor?

The story actually isn't predictable, & I was pleasantly surprised by a few "surprises." However, due to the fact that the outcome is ambiguous, one can only ponder over the ultimate message of the movie, if one exists.

Overall, not a bad movie, although the action isn't jaw-droppingly good. The actor of the protagonist reminds me of the main actor in "Arhats in Fury." Could they be the same guy, or at least related?


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 07/29/2002
Summary: okay movie

When Hong Kong film fans think about the Golden Harvest studio, high-budget fare like the latest Jackie Chan movie comes to mind. But in keeping with Hong Kong's down economy, they have been diversifying a bit and producing lower-budgeted films. While this sometimes comes up with some gems like You Shoot, I Shoot, most often the results are like this movie -- where the low budget is painfully obvious and hurts the film as a whole.

Extreme Challenge uses the tried-and-true plot of the martial arts tournament, with all the cliches (grizzled old veteran, hot-headed young guy, spunky girl, etc.) fully in place. The twist here is that the tournament, called "Power Net Show" (probably from the same people who brought you the "Super Happy Fun Ball"), is being broadcast on the internet. Well, this isn't really a twist, and doesn't even make much sense -- why would people pay money to see a "tournament" that takes several days to get through with only a few short matches a day (and bloodless matches, at that) on the internet is beyond me.

Anyway, as I said before, the plot is the usual stuff -- you're going to know from the get-go who's going to win (it's certainly not going to be the chap dressed in the Native American gear). Things might have not been so bad, but someone had the bright idea to have most of the movie made in English and then dub the whole thing. This dub is absolutely one of the worst I have ever heard, and that's saying a lot. The voices don't even match the characters; the lisping one for Ken Chang, who plays the "tough guy", is especially atrocious. Hell, a lot of times, the voices don't even match the lip movements. Combined with the lackluster set design, Extreme Challenge comes off as no better-looking than your average US B-movie. Considering that even with much lower budgets, Hong Kong movies usually at least look decent, the lackluster production of Extreme Challenge just smacks of laziness or plain incompetence.

Things are not all bad in Extreme Challenge, however. Under the direction of Stephen Tung, the fights here are compact, hard-hitting and exciting. Though it was probably more because of monetary concerns, the action is thankfully free of the overuse of CGI that has been invading HK movies as of late. There is some camera trickery at work, but it's kept in check for the most part, and allows the fights, rather than computer gimmickry, to take center stage. Though most people probably couldn't take most of the crud featured in here, die-hard fight fanatics will probably dig a viewing of Extreme Challenge, but might still want to keep their finger close to the fast-forward button.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/15/2002
Summary: Ummm........

i am not sure about the first reviewers talk about so many fight scenes because it did not feel that much.

This movie seemed like they did spend some money in it, but that doesn't help it. Ok there is not much plot to this but instead tries to use some philosophy in this movie. The ending is pretty lame and the fight scenes were ok. They did make it a little inventive with the ways to qualify but overall a no brainer movie which will require one viewing only.


Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Wurms
Date: 04/02/2002
Summary: WOW! Nice Fights!


Watching this movie I was in complete heaven!!! This movie is so awesome!! If you like martial arts, see this movie!!!!! WOW!!!

First the bad stuff:
- No popular actors
- English in a chinese movie = cheesy dialogue (not all the movie is in English, prolly 50/50)
-The director tried some weird camera transitions like going to Black and White for a couple seconds then back to color, and using motion blur and stuff during the fights. It can get a tad annoying but overall the fights kick arse!!!

- NUNCHAKU FIGHT!!!! This isn't just any nunchaku fight. This is the greatest stuff I have ever seen in a movie with nunchakus. The fight is long too, 1 minute 30 seconds. It is a guy with nunchakus vs a guy with a staff. WOOO HOOO!!!

- LOTS OF FIGHTS. This movie is just one big tournament like Bloodsport. It starts off with 32 people and they all compete for 16 markers going through a little obstacle course. Everyone for themselves stuff. Very cool. Then with 16 people they have to climb a tower with different level of platforms all while fighting each other, again VERY COOL!! Then with 8 people left comes the best stuff of the movie. The weapons matches:

-Nunchakus vs Staff
-Escrima Sticks vs Some wierd weapon (sort of like a big wooden butterfly knife )
-Staff vs Tonfa's
-Staff vs Escrima sticks

The rest of the one-on-one matches are good too. The last is pretty nice. Two guys using the same style (Wu-Shu? I think) and try to counter each other. GOOD STUFF!!!

- Choreography is very very nice. The camera work and editing is well done too. Some quick cuts here and there but very effective and I never had a problem following any of the action.

Forget about plot. Watch this for the fight scenes!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 02/26/2002
Summary: More Mundane Than Extreme

Tung Wai's "Extreme Challenge" is a textbook example of the lengths that Hong Kong filmmakers will go to for international video distribution. Featuring a bunch of no-names, "Extreme Challenge" is a relatively painless way to see a clichéd martial arts tournament, where the plot and characterizations get in the way of the fighting, which is the only reason to watch this flick. It doesn't even matter that English and Chinese are the main languages of the film. When compared to another pointless film, "The Avenging Fist," "Extreme Challenge" actually wins out, because it doesn't hide or cover up any of the martial arts, and it probably cost a lot less in production dollars.

The best of the martial arts was not hand-to-hand, but in the weapons area. The stereotypical roles were telegraphed throughout the film, so you can easily follow the plot regardless of where and when you tune in. Movies like "Extreme Challenge" are perfect for that direct-to-video flick you may want to rent out for a night's distraction.

Reviewed by: Ash
Date: 01/25/2002
Summary: Better than I expected!

I taught this one was going to be horrible but I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the story and acting are bad. But you have Stephen Tung Wai directing this, so the action sequences must be quite good. That is what saved the movie for me. You have 9 fight sequences, 2 group fights and 7 one-on-one bouts! Definitely not a classic but worth a rent in my opinion...........................7,8/10