Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, also released as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous, is a 1985 American film. The action–adventure-thriller film featuredFred Ward, Joel Grey, Wilford Brimley and Kate Mulgrew. The movie was directed by Guy Hamilton.
The character is based on The Destroyer pulp paperback series (later Destroyer books actually make fun of the film and its promotional materials). The movie was the only adaptation featuring the character Remo Williams, and fared poorly in theaters. It received mixed reviews from critics, although it did earn Joel Grey a Golden Globe nomination. The film and a Remo Williams television pilot both credited Dick Clark as executive producer.
Samuel Edward "Sam" Makin (played by Ward) is a tough New York City street cop and Vietnam-era Marine Corps veteran unwillingly recruited as an assassin for a secret United States organization, CURE. The recruitment is through a bizarre method: his death is faked so that there will be no questions asked as to his disappearance. Rechristened "Remo Williams" (after the name and location of the manufacturer of the bedpan in Makin's hospital room), his face is surgically altered and he is trained to be a human killing machine by his aged, derisive and impassive Korean martial arts master Chiun (played by Grey). Though Remo's training is extremely rushed by Chiun's standards, Remo learns such skills as dodging bullets and running (not walking) on liquid. Chiun teaches Remo the Korean martial art named "Sinanju". Remo's instruction is interrupted when he is sent by CURE to investigate a corrupt weapons procurement program within the US Army.
- Fred Ward as Remo Williams
- Joel Grey as Chiun
- Wilford Brimley as Harold Smith
- J.A. Preston as Conn MacCleary
- George Coe as General Scott Watson
- Charles Cioffi as George Grove
- Kate Mulgrew as Major Rayner Fleming
- Michael Pataki as Jim Wilson
- Reginald VelJohnson as Ambulance Driver
- Jon Polito as Zack
- Gene LeBell as Red
- Sebastian Ligarde as Pvt. Johnson
- Tom McBride as "Jim" in the television soap opera
- Suzanne Snyder as "Nurse" in the television soap opera
- William Hickey as Coney Island Barker
- Patrick Kilpatrick as Stone
Fred Ward claimed in the news magazines that he performed most of the stunts himself. Screenwriter Christopher Wood claimed he wrote a climax with more action that was discarded for budgetary reasons.
For the Statue of Liberty scenes, a replica of the Statue's torso, head and arm was built in Mexico. The shots of the replica were interwined with footage shot at Liberty Island and the real Statue of Liberty.
The soundtrack features an instrumental score written by composer Craig Safan, released by Perseverance Records on CD on August 7, 2006. However, the title song, Remo's Theme (What If), written and sung by Styx member Tommy Shaw, is not included on that album, though Shaw has released the song as a solo artist in his 1985 album What If.
The movie received mixed responses from critics. In Italy however, both the public and critics, particularly those on television, received it generally better than in the USA. In spite of the assumption in its title, the film did not produce a sequel.