Bullet Points: Bloodsport
I will be the first to say that Jean Claude Van Damme is one of my favorite actors of all time. I mean, he’s not my favorite actor like Daniel-Day Lewis is my favorite actor; Van Damme is my favorite because he kicks the shit outta people, he looks like a star, and when all is said and done, he gets the girl. That is what an action star is all about. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some My Left Foot because that is just a great performance by Daniel-Day Lewis but if JCVD had starred in that movie they would have had to call it My Left Foot: All Up In Your Ass!
The Gist: Frank Dux, an American serviceman, travels to Hong Kong to compete against the best fighters in the world in a tournament known as The Kumite. Two government agents track down Dux as he battles with Chong Li, the defending champion who will kill to keep his title as Kumite Champion.
The Cast: Jean Claude Van Damme stars in his first movie and it’s easy to see why he became a star after this role. Ogre from Nerds plays his BFF Jackson and Forrest Whitaker makes an appearance as the incredibly incompetent federal agent chasing Dux. Van Damme gets the opportunity to show off his spinning kicks and we’re treated to several badass montages of the fighters training and beating each other up. JCVD does the splits so many times that I may have pulled my groin by the end of the flick. Dux has a cute little piece the sleeps around with during his trip but her role is pretty much relegated to eye candy amongst all of the machismo and asskicking action. Frank doesn’t even say goodbye to her when he flies away, I’m sure she was heartbroken.
Another satisfied customer.
The Villain: Bolo Yeung plays Chong Li in what would be his first time being whooped by Van Damme in a movie. He blows snot, bounces his pecs, and generally intimidates the hell out of the other fighters. Bolo is the master of the “no sell” as he nonchalantly brushes off punches to his face while mockingly smirking at this opponent before bashing his face in. I consider him more of a nemesis to Dux rather than some evil villain though. He does kill a guy and later cheat to try and win but I would hardly say he’s as bad as most villains in action movies. Compared to some of Van Damme’s villains he’s practically a saint.
Chong Li is the quintessential JCVD bad guy and most of that stems from his almost silent performance here in Bloodsport.
The Action: A great training montage opens the movie and it’s a clear sign of the brilliance that awaits us as this movie is freakin’ badass from start to finish. Somewhere along the line of post-production Bloodsport almost didn’t get made and Van Damme stepped in to help edit the final product and it pays dividends in the end. The fight scenes clearly highlight what JCVD thought were his most postitive attributes: Spin kicks, doing the splits, and showing his own ass on camera. You gotta give it to the guy, he wasn’t wrong. The fight scenes are pretty sweet too. The one with the kickboxer Paco is probably my favorite but the Dux fights against the big Chinese guy and the finale with Bolo are also memorable. Throw in a great Kumite montage played over a fantastic Stan Bush soundtrack and we have what I would consider one of the best martial arts movies of all time.
The set of the Kumite was super badass and if I could decorate my living room like that without being divorced by my wife, I would.
Take it Home:
- Split City, USA: JCVD does the splits seven times in this movie….that is truly inspiring to all you split enthusiasts.
- Favorite Quotes: “He is the American shithead who makes tricks with bricks.”
- Favorite Quotes: “Very good, but brick not hit back.” Thanks Bolo. Apparently he had that line still memorized from Enter the Dragon.
- Below the Belt: Dux wins one fight by punching a guy right in the balls. A tactic normally reserved for heels but Van Damme would later use this tactic again in Lionheart.
- Bucket List Item #11: Learn the Dim Mak.
- MIB: I have a theory that the two agents chasing Dux are Men In Black and Dux is really an Alien from some other world where everyone fights all badass-like. At the end of Bloodsport he agrees to finally return to his homeworld but unbeknownst to the MIB, he has impregnated an Earth woman while in Hong Kong. Boom!
JCVD was just doing the man a solid by checking his prostate.