Friday, November 30, 2012

Bloodsport (1988) Review:

Jean-Claude Van Damme is known for his athletic and flexible abilities. But for some that may feel that they do not see enough, should see this movie for that reason alone. The physical look of Van Damme is just one marvel alone. There is no muscle line that isn't visible on his torso because it is so well toned. Also while fighting, Van Damme makes some crazy looking faces.

A very young & fit Van Damme
Van Damme plays Frank Dux, a man with a background in martial arts and military combat. The character, Frank Dux, is actually a real person and amazingly enough, Dux was the man to train Van Damme and get him ready for his role in this movie! Dux's history is shown to us in the very beginning of the film where we see a boy who is taken under the wing of a martial artist. From there he trains with him until he is old enough to participate in the Kumite. The Kumite is a world tournament that has fighters come from all corners of the earth to compete in the ultimate competition to be called the world's greatest fighter.
Dux's toughest opponent, Chong Li (Bolo Yeung)

The hardest thing to deal with this tournament is that any possible way of winning the match is allowed. Some of the things done against opponents are can get the blood boiling because it shows how players are willing to do anything to win. It's the perfect reason why the title of this film is called "Bloodsport".

However, because Dux is enlisted in the military, he is not allowed to par-take in such events; but this does not discourage him. Actors Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker play the two gentlemen, who try and catch him. But there is no point to having these characters in this story. It's not that they're obnoxious but they don't encourage the plot to move on. All they do is slow it down or completely stop it in its tracks.

Fighting in the ring along with Van Damme's character is Ray Jackson, played by the husky and rather giant Donald Gibb. At first, in the beginning of the film, I was almost convinced that Jackson was going to be the main enemy but he turned out to be likable and reliable friend to Frank Dux. And although, Jackson is clumsy now and then, he still packs one heck of a punch. He knocked out an opponent with one knock on the head! That's tough!

Another part I didn't understand why they didn’t include this character enough was Janice Kent performed by Leah Ayres. Fine and dandy that she becomes Dux's love interest and spends one night with him. But after that she's left in the corner and never talked about again. Why? If she's going to play an important role, make it important, not just 3/4 of the way through the movie! The music, by Paul Hertzog was a good touch though. The tunes had a strong zen feel and at points where Dux was super focused, it almost felt like you're there with him too.

Bloodsport contains the blood it promises and has impressive fighting matches. Now if only the crew could figure out what to do with the minor characters. But the rest is entertaining all the same.

Points Earned --> 8:10