Film: Only the Strong

Only The Strong is a 1993 live-action film starring Mark Dacascos and distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Louis Stevens (Dacascos), having completed his tour as a Green Beret in Brazil, returns to his old Miami neighborhood to find that the local high school has been overrun by drug dealers. He intervenes in a dispute with one of the more prominent dealers, an act that ends with the gangsters being forced off campus. Seeing this, Louis' old teacher Mr. Kerrigan (Geoffrey Lewis) brings a proposal to the principal of teaching the art of capoeira (which Louis learned while in Brazil) to several of the school's worst at-risk students as a means of instilling discipline into them.

However, Louis' earlier intervention with the drug dealer does not go down well with the local drug kingpin Silverio, who is himself a Capoeira master and proceeds to viciously beat Louis as a warning not to interfere. Louis eventually recovers, but what follows is a fight to liberate the neighborhood from Silverio's influence.

Only the Strong provides examples of:

  • Badass Boast: Between Silverio and Louis during their second confrontation:
    Silverio: This time, I play for keeps.
    Louis: And this time...I don't play.
  • Badass Teacher: Louis himself, although technically he's not a member of the school faculty.
  • Benevolent Boss: Silverio is this to his henchmen and a good deal of the people in his section of the neighborhood. As Orlando says about his cousin, "They're either scared of him or they think he's Robin Hood."
  • Berserk Button: Silverio does not take it well when he learns that Louis has wrecked his chop-shop.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Orlando, Silverio's cousin, has to choose between his respect for Louis and his loyalty to his cousin. He chooses the former.
  • Police Are Useless: It's justified, though, as a cop indicates that Silverio's history of intimidating potential witnesses who would otherwise give testimony against him has left the police unable to arrest him on any solid charges.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Philippe thinks Silverio should do this to Louis. However, Silverio refuses on the grounds that doing so will make Louis a martyr in the eyes of the neighborhood and thus cement his positive influence, which would undermine Silverio's power in the process.