on December 15, 2002
This receives 5 stars, not quite based on cinematic quality (lord knows!), but on stupid fun quotient and quotability. From gems like "What's it matter if Bruce Springsteen is his shidoshi?" to "Very good, but brick not hit back", this charmer of a screenplay delivers cheesy retors and threats like the UPS guy drinking a speed-and-skittles milkshake. The kung fu action is meritable, and the great Oscar clip of Van Damme (the Bruce Lee of 1987 kung fu biopics about Kumite fighting) holding his eyes from a dusting of poisonous enriched flour by the hands of D-cup Bolo Yeung is classic, right up there with Rocky's "ADRIAN!" and that movie with that guy in it about drugs or something. What was that movie? It's a classic, I think. Do you know? Wasn't it directed by David Keith? He's dreamy.
So, buy this classic. Today. Drop everything you're doing, even if it's breastfeeding your new born calf. Buy "Bloodsport," then sit back and enjoy with a Colt 45 and some yogurt-dipped almonds. You'll be glad you did. And remember, "OKAY, USA!!"
on June 15, 2002
BLOODSPORT may not have set the precedent for the tournament-centered martial arts film, but over the years it has proven to be the standard by which others of its ilk are judged. Interestingly enough, this movie is loosely based on the achievements of real-life Frank Dux, who is something of a legend in winning the Kumite in Hong Kong. Dux, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, enters an underground mixed martial arts tournament and wins it despite cheating by his final round opponent, the fearsome Bolo Yeung, who is still remembered as John Saxon's losing opponent in ENTER THE DRAGON. The plot is not what sells the film to each new generation. The key to overlooking the cliches which tumble from a poor script lies in the good looks and high-kicking ability of Van Damme. As in many martial arts pictures, revenge is the driver for the protagonist. Jackson, played externally as crudely yet as one who harbors a noble soul by Don Gibbs, is one of the contestants and is brutally beaten by the villanous Chong Li (Bolo). Naturally, Dux gets to avenge his friend in the finals. But the real charm lies in what precedes this climactic encounter. There are numerous bouts which showcase the fighting talents of the actors. Unfortunately for the realism of this movie, the growing popularity of mixed martial arts tournaments such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship has given the lie to the kinds of fighting made popular by this and similar fight movies. When true martial artists fight in the Octagon, the result is rarely high-spinning reverse kicks or Kwai Chang Caine Tai Chi movements done fluidly amidst a bout. Most true fights wind up on the mat, usually ending in a choke or arm bar. What BLOODSPORT succeeds in doing is giving the audience a wide range of both fighter physiques and fighter styles. The preliminary fighters run the gamut from a monkey-like ground crawler to a mountainous hulk who gives Dux a hard time before succumbing. One of the prelim fighters is actor Michel Quissi, who a few years later Van Damme resurrected to play Tong Po, the Thai villain of KICKBOXER. These battles are interesting and thrilling, and very nearly compensate for truly terrible scripting and amatuerish acting. The final between Dux and Chong Li is memorable for the slow-motion kicks that earlier had been done by the far more literate David Carridine of television's KUNGU FU. Bolo Yeung is the most watchable of Van Damme's opponents. In fact, he reprises a similar role in other and later Van Damme actioners. Bolo, as Chong Li, is a hugely muscular fighter with the traditional sneer and disregard for both life and rules. Repeated viewings of this closing match indicate the high level of choreography that must have been required to avoid harm to the actors. Despite cheating by Bolo, Van Damme wins, and as the closing credits flash, the audience learns that Frank Dux was a true fighter who retired as the undefeated heavyweight karate champion of the world.
Movies like BLOODSPORT bear as much resemblance to mixed martial arts tournaments as military music does to music, but the real charm of their enduring appeal lies in the willingness of the audience to overlook the many flaws of a second rate production to focus on the beauty of the first rate fight scenes. Hollywood first learned that lesson decades ago, and as Stallone proved more times than I can count, that hopefully will never change.
on July 22, 2000
This story is about Frank Dux, Frank Dux works for the government, but he leaves to fight "The Kumite". He's going to fight the Kumite to honour his shodushi, who's a good friend off him, Frank is like a son for sensei Tanaka. While he's followed by the Government he's going to fight the Kumite, the first day he brakes the time record which was usually done by Chong Li(Bolo Yeung).The second day he fights very good and while he did that he becamed very populair by the croud. In this story he also gets a girlfriend, Janice, she's a reporter, he also gots a friend, Ray Jackson, also a kumite fighter that was knocked down by Chong Li. The last day he fights against Chong Li, which is a very beautiful fight, the kicks are great, his splits are great and he's also very muscled which is good for a great karate movie, Finally he wins and Chong Li was knocked down by Frank! Frank receives his katana and leaves Hong-Kong to go back to his Shodushi. This movie is the best Karatemovie ever, because off the great fights, the athletic splits, the greatest and coolest fighters(Bolo and Jean-Claude), the very cool turning splitkicks and because there's a really good story in it, so Jean-Claude, YOU DID IT! , Thanx, a big fan off yours.........
on November 10, 2003
I'm not a fan of martial arts movies. I'm not a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme. But if I see this movie playing on one of my cable channels, put a fork in me, because I'm cooked for the next 90 minutes.
After 30 minutes of attempted plot development, "Bloodsport" really gets going with some of the finest one-on-one fights I have seen as the Kumite competition begins. There are different fighters with all different types of styles, from brute strength, unorthodox defense methods such as hoping around like a kangaroo, and Van Damme's martial arts style. The Kumite makes up most of the remaining 60 minutes of the movie and is riveting.
Van Damme can't act to save his life (and I get a kick - no pun intended - out of his American accent), but he puts on a good show here. That's because he doesn't have much dialogue. Bolo Yeung, who plays arch-nemesis Chong Li is ripped and very convincing as the villian. Donald Gibb (Ogre from the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies) plays Van Damme's fellow Kumite participant who gets his clock cleaned by Chong Li, causing Van Damme an extra incentive for revenge.
It's cheesy, it's silly, it's poorly acted, but it is a lot of fun. A must!
on December 6, 2000
All right, I admit it. This is a pretty useless film as far as film buffs go. But place yourself back in grade 7 when we first saw this film and you'll realize exactly what we liked about it.
It had to have been the well-choreographed (for a low-budget flick), well-glossed production of what's basically a b-level action film, but even then you couldn't deny Jean-Claude Van Damme had a certain charisma to him. And I couldn't tell you how many times we re-enacted the fights in our backyard.
Obviously enough people agreed at the time, because it wasn't long before he started making bigger-budgeted movies like Hard Target and Timecop; but this is where he struck paydirt first. It has my favourite old school villain Yeung Tze (Bolo Yeung--underused in this film, with regard to technical ability), some unbelieveably bad acting all around, and a superb score by Mark DiSalle, who's early-techno beats really help make the fight scenes work.
Years later, we all know this film has aged badly, even when you throw it to the designation of 'camp-classic.' But where Van Damme films are concerned (especially his later films), you could do much, much worse.
on July 22, 2000
I have quite a few van Damme films and this is by far the worst. Even though the story is based on real-life, it is predictable right from the start. There is nothing new in the action which comprises most of the film and some of the sequences have been badly shot - e.g. one backwards roundhouse kick clearly misses by a good inch, the victim's reaction is clearly delayed by a fraction of a second and, despite the obvious miss, the blood still flows. The Federal agents on van Damme's trail are pathetic and the female reporter, who looks as out of place as a bucket of manure at a wedding, is not believable and the FBI/press part of the story is boring in the extreme. I have seen van Damme confront his final opponent in 'Double Impact' (also played in Hong Kong!) and that was a much, much better example of the skills involved and there was at least some credibility in the story. I admit that van Damme's physical prowess is hard to follow, but he should not have downgraded himself by performing in this film.
on July 16, 2001
Bloodsport is about an American soldier who fights in a full-contact martial arts contest called the "kumite." That's pretty much it. There are distracting subplots, like the federal agents who are chasing after him to return him to the states (why is never explained. It is mentioned that the government does not want him dsiabled. Does the army forbid officers to skydive or hunt for recreation?) There is another subplot where an obligatory beautiful reporter/love interest tries to get into the kumite for a story. The hero meets and befriends a buddy whom he must later avenge (aside formn being a cliche, its hard to see why they became friends as the buddy is a loudmouth jerk). Then there is the old cliche about the hero trying to please his demanding master by busting heads (this subplot does little excpet highlight the writer's ignorance about Japanese martial philosophy). If you can ignore/fast forward through the subplots, you have a collection of great fighitng scenes the provoke a great deal of macho enjoyment.
on July 6, 2004
During the martial-arts craze of the mid-90's, there were few bigger stars than Jean-Claude Van Damme. Though it wasn't a box-office hit during its enitial theatrical run, "Bloodsport", Van Damme's first starring vehicle certainly found its audience on cable and video. "Bloodsport" follows American fighter Frank Dux (Van Damme) as he enters a brutal full-contact tournament known as the Kumatai. Looking back at the movie that I once watched religously with all my friends almost a decade ago, it's probably to safe to say that if you didn't pick up on this one during its time then you probably won't understand it now. It had all the great things you'd expect from a Van Damme movie: Minimal story, cheesy overacting, and tons of random splits. The musical score from Stan Bush and a rather silly perfomance from Donald Gibb are the icing on the cake. Anytime I'm looking to take a trip down memory lane, I toss in this and "Kickboxer" and have my own little JCVD double-feature. Now, if only they could put together a special edition DVD.
on October 19, 1999
As a fan of martial arts and living in Hong Kong, I've had it pretty good by being in the middle of the action with Jackie Chan and Jet Li and of course, being in Bruce Lee's home ground. So, when I watch movies by guys like Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal, it's so pathetic, it's almost funny. But, at the same time, I must say that this is one entertaining movie (although it doesn't do Hong Kong much justice in terms of forming foreigners' views of what this place is really like). People should know about Frank Dux and even Chong Li (who was played by Bolo Yeung who looks nothing like him) and their contributions to the martial arts.
This is probably JCVD's best movie - he gets to show off his moves (although those jumping spinning split kicks are technically not correct - he leaves his groin entirely open while executing that move), he doesn't have to talk much and for a Western kung-fu movie, those fight scenes were not bad.
If you want a good kung-fu movie, stop here and go to "Who Am I?" by Jackie Chan or "Fist of Legend" by Jet Li. But if you need just one JCVD movie for your kung-fu library, this is the one.
on January 15, 2002
It is pretty fun. Why? We'll get to that. First the negatives.
The acting is mediocre. Almost everyone just puts on a walk-through performance. Not Van Damme (Frank Dux), though. He proves once again that for a guy who usually plays a stereotypical American. In fact, he's quite laughable, to say the least. That forced Karate shrek's gotta go too. Surprisingly, Donald Gib(Jackson) and Bolo Yeung (Chong Li) stand ahead of the others, even though Yeung has maybe as little as 8 minutes of screen time.
Now for the plot. We have martial arts graduate Dux aiming to make his sensai (not "shendoshi", Van Damme) proud by a ancient, noble tournament, the Kumite. Of course, how the Kumite can be an ancient and noble tournament when it has an Asian mafia boss as one of the people running it is beyond me. There's also a break for romance that is really appalling.
But again, I enjoy this movie. You'd probably have to hear him say that in this supposedly serious scene, but you get my point.
Also, there's a good side plot with these two government agents who are sent to capture Dux because he's a valued soldier and the
government has a professional concern for him getting hurt in the
Finally, there's fight scenes galore, which was more than likely what the consumer was expecting from this movie. Not the best fight scenes, but still entertaining despite some botched choreography here and there.
In short, "Bloodsport" is a terrible, terrible movie that I really like. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.