Friday, July 30, 2010

Bloodsport (1988)

"Very Good. But brick not hit back!"

Well here we are again with another timeless Van Damme classic. "Bloodsport" plays out much like a live action version of a Street Fighter video game, even more so than Van Damme's own Street Fighter adaptation in 1994. American martial artist Frank Dux (pronounced "Dukes", an actual person as it turns out) who is also a military man, travels to Asia to compete in a Kumite tournament against the Army's wishes. Frank does so to make his master Tanaka proud and to prove he is the best. The military sends two men to bring Frank back to America in one piece, one of whom is played by Forrest Whitaker. The rest is pretty predictable. Frank meets a fellow American in the form of loud-mouthed Ray Jackson and is sweet on reporter Janice Kent, who is set on getting into the Kumite so she can do a story on it. The enemy in this is Chong Li, reigning Kumite champion. That's all I'll tell you for the sake of not giving everything away, however, should you see the film you'll find it pretty easy to figure out long before its over.

"Bloodsport" doesn't tread any new ground whatsoever, but it is definitely one of Van Damme's best. As usual his martial arts are top-notch, and this time the character's stand out much better than in "Kickboxer". The dialog is lame and the acting is pretty stiff but I found "Bloodsport" very entertaining through all of its drawbacks. Van Damme is especially at home in a story about a martial arts tournament. It is also my understanding that the real Frank Dux choreographed the fights in the film and trained Van Damme himself. Its old and a little aged, but if the martial arts section of 80s Action films are your thing, you'll enjoy "Bloodsport". 3/5 -andy

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