Because it’s been a while since I have done a martial arts film, and because you were all so well behaved during my Vampire Weekend (©CVK Productions), I’m going to reward you with the one that started it all. Well, as far as 1980’s martial arts movies featuring underground fighting tournaments go. Today, I’m going to review the Jean Claude Van Damme super-epic, Bloodsport.
For those of you not in the know, and really – you should be slightly ashamed of yourself if you are not in the know about Bloodsport (unless you are under the age of, say, 24, in which case, I’ll school you), the film is a supposed true accounting of a man by the name of Frank Dux (here, rendered in full 3D CGI by The Van Daminator himself), a white ninja, army killing machine and quite possibly the original inspiration for Steven Seagal, who goes AWOL, enters and wins the Kumite – the secret, illegal, life threatening underground fighting tournament to end all secret, illegal, life threatening underground fighting tournaments. Not much of a plot, but really, the film is there to showcase a bunch of dudes kicking the everloving bejesus out of each other. And Van Damme doing his chair based splits.
Besides Van Damme, we get to see other competitors – like BOLO MOTHERFUCKIN’ YEUNG in the role that he is most known Westernly for, Not Bruce Lee, Jumpy Black Island Guy, Jungle Brawler and...err, Ogre from Revenge Of The Nerds. Yes, folks – this film stars JCVD, Bolo Yeung AND Donald Gibb; I am in bad 80s heaven. Anyway, after being introduced to the only entrants that anyone really needs to give a shit about, we meet Dux just as he is about to go AWOL, head to Japan and flash back to his days as a misbegotten gutter punk who has his life changed by a kindly, wise and badly dubbed old Japanese man. At least he is still speaking in bad French. One thing that I must have forgotten in the years since I last watched this is how bad the acting is, even by the standard of 1980’s martial arts films. It’s only slightly better than No Retreat, No Surrender. But at least we know JCVD’s motivation for fighting in the Kumite.
And here, just in time – MONTAGE NUMBER 1!!! Or, Jean Claude Van Damme can take a fall. But, through the power of positive thinking, he learns how to fall slightly less, catch fish with his bare hands and serve a damn good cup of tea. Needless to say, he wins the montage (including the Dagobah bonus stage) and thus becomes badass enough to head to Hong Kong and kick the ass of the entire Kumite. Once at Hong Kong, our hero teams up with Ogre (after whipping him at IK+) and gumption filled action girl reporter Lottie McLoveinterest (her actual name being about as important to the story as this egg I am currently holding) and gets pursued by a young Forrest Whitaker, and who I think may be the mob boss from Mitchell.
After a brief lesson in Hong Kong/China history, we finally see the Kumite proper. After proving to the actual Chinese that he is worthy, Dux gets to enter along with his now loyal sidekick, Ogre. And because it’s that sort of film, I will be doing what I did for Shootfighter and running down the fights.
Fight 1: Frank Dux v Pile of Bricks. Winner: Dux via Dim Mak.
Fight 2: Johnny Blueshorts v Johnny McRedbelt. Winner: Johnny Blueshorts via kicking.
Fight 3: Ogre v “Fluffyhair” Johnny Rodenn. Winner: Ogre via Super Face Punch XL.
Fight 4: Bolo Yeung v Johnny Tso. Winner: Bolo Yueng via Being Bolo Yeung.
Fight 5: Frank Dux v Johnny McAsianArab. Winner: Frank Dux via Threatening Look/Sikekick Punch.
Every other fight in this round is montaged into unimportance, but everyone we were introduced to at the start of the film makes it through. In fact, the next 3 rounds are also montage fodder – Ogre, Bolo, Frank and other nameless practitioners all win their extra fights. Meanwhile, Frank runs from Forrest, in a scene solely designed to show us more parts of Hong Kong – and to allow Van Damme to be a cocky dick. We get all manner of zany chase action - including the WSD of Forrest falling in the water.
Fight 6: Not Bruce Lee v Johnny KravMaga. Winner: Johnny KravMaga via Kneefest
Fight 7: Frank Dux v Johnny Greypants. Winner: Frank Dux via Awesome Jacket Show Off Combo
Fight 8: Bolo Yeung v Johnny “Silvershorts” Li. Winner: Bolo Yeung via Kneecolepsy.
Fight 9: Frank Dux v Johnny Tsang. Winner: Frank Dux via Kneefist.
Fight 10: Bolo Yeung v Johnny Blackstone Jr. Winner: Bolo Yeung via Brain Punch.
Fight 11: Not Bruce Lee (in a shameless flaunting of the rules) v “Tattoo Warrior” Johnny Chen. Winner: Not Bruce Lee via Temple Kick.
Fight 12: Frank Dux v Grace Jones. Winner: Frank Dux via Jumping Front Kick.
Fight 13: “Island Warrior” Johnny Tama v Jumpy Black Man. Winner: Johnny Tama via Bearhug.
Fight 14: Bolo Yeung v Johnny Whitestein. Winner: Bolo Yeung v Facekicker.
Fight 15: Frank Dux v Johnny Tama. Winner: Frank Dux via A Good Ol’ Punch To The Taint.
Fight 16: Bolo Yeung v Ogre. Winner: Bolo Yeung via Violent Display Of Power.
And now Frank has someone to avenge, as is the way of all good martial arts films. Because the only way to avenge someone is to kick the piss out of Bolo Yeung. But not before a flashback/montage scene. And a creepy pseudo midget.
Fight 17: Frank Dux v Johnny KravMaga. Winner: Frank Dux via Spinning Heel Kick.
Fight 18: Johnny “Goldpants” Chen v Bolo Yeung. Winner: Bolo Yeung via Being Bolo Yeung And Killing The Fuck Out Of That Guy.
Fight 19: Frank Dux v Bolo Yeung. Winner: Frank Dux via It’s My Damn Movie Superpunch.
And it ends with a little bit of WSD. The end.