Ernie Reyes Jr.'s first acting job was a small part written in at the last minute, and especially for him, in a movie called "The Last Dragon" (1985). The West Coast Demo Team had been called in to spice up the martial arts action, and when producer Barry Gordy saw Ernie Jr., he had him written into the script on the spot.
After "The Last Dragon", Barry Gordy and fellow "Last Dragon" producer Suzanne DePasse created a new project for Ernie called "The Last Electric Knight". It was a TV movie to launch a new series called "Side Kicks" (1986-1987) starring Ernie Jr. and Gil Gerard (you know, that Buck Rogers guy). This was the first time I ever saw Ernie Reyes Jr. and I was extreamly impressed. I never missed an episode and was amazed by Ernie's martial arts skill every time. I had always had an interest in the martial arts but nothing made as lasting an impression on me as the astounding ability of that one little boy.
At about the same time as the pilot for "Side Kicks" was made, Ernie starred in a movie called "Red Sonja" (1985) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen. In this movie, Ernie played an obnoxious eight year old prince (some feel a little too well) even though he was twelve at the time. Ernie's audition for "Red Sonja" so impressed the producers that they rewrote the script to accommodate his talents.
After "Red Sonja", Ernie appeared in television shows like "Highway to Heaven" (1986), "Circus of the Stars" (for 5 years) and "MacGuyver" (1988) before returning to the big screen as a stunt man (the guy in the Donatello suit) in the hit movie "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1990). During the filming of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", one of the producers told Ernie that there were already plans for a sequal and offered him a co-starring role (a big improvement over wearing a 35 pound rubber latex turtle suit if you ask me).
In "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, The Secret of the Ooze" (1991), Ernie played a pizza delivery boy who helped the turtles save the day. This was probably the first time Ernie had a decent part in a box office hit. I didn't think "Secret of the Ooze" was as good as the first Turtle movie (not that it was bad or anything) but at least Ernie had a much better part.
Ernie moved up to a starring role in "Surf Ninjas" (1993) which he also associate produced. This was a truely great movie, although it didn't do well at the box office. The cast was great and included big names like Leslie Neilson, Rob Schneider (from Saturday Night Live) and Tone Loc. Ernie Reyes Sr. played Ernie's uncle and Kelly Hu (from Martial Law) played Ernie's love interest. "Surf Ninjas" was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I only wish I had known about it when it was in the theater. I remember seeing the name on the marquee and thinking "that sounds like a dumb movie". I never saw a commercial for it or even heard who was in it. If I had, I would have definitely gone to see it. Now that I've seen it, I highly recommend this movie.
After "Surf ninjas", Ernie appeared in numerous movies and TV shows. He has stared in movies like Disney's "White Wolves II: Legend of the Wild" (1995), "Paper Dragon" (?) and "Small Time" (?) which won Best Film at the 1995 Santa Barbara Film Festival. "The Process" (1998) is a more ambitious project starring, co-written, directed by and edited by Ernie Reyes Jr. "The Process" also features Ernie's dad, Ernie Sr., Ernie's brother, Lee Reyes, and members of the West Coast Demo Team. As for TV, Ernie has appeared on shows like Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1995), F/X the Series (1996), "High Tide" (?), "Pacific Coast Highway" (?) and Arliss (1999).
I shall try and keep on top of things as the list of Ernie's acting achievements grows. This list is probably not complete. Please let me know if you know of something I've missed.
More info to come!
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