Remo Williams is a poor man’s James Bond with a dash of two or three other popular genres thrown in for good measure. The film [based on The Destroyer series by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy] never seems to know where it’s going and, when the smoke has cleared, doesn’t seem to have got there either.
Williams (Fred Ward) is sort of a proletarian Bond – a New York City cop recruited for some secret government agency (headed by Wilford Brimley) supposedly working undercover for the President himself. What levity occurs in the film is mostly reserved for the long middle section in which Remo is placed under the tutelage of the last living master of the Korean martial art Sinanju.
The relationship between Remo and Chiun (Joel Grey) is an adult version of The Karate Kid. Small feats such as walking on water and dodging bullets are simply routine for the great man.
Charles Cioffi as an arms manufacturer in cahoots with the military is a cardboard heavy surrounded by a supply of bumbling bad guys. Thrown in for a slight romantic interest is Kate Mulgrew as an honest officer stumbling on the nefarious plot.
1985: Nomination: Best Makeup