Bullet Points: Bloodsport II
My first experience with a Bloodsport sequel was not a positive one. In fact, I HATED Bloodsport 4: The Dark Kumite.
But when I found out that Bloodsport 4 had no connection to the other sequels, although it inexplicably had the same leading man as the first two sequels playing a different character, I knew to be fair I had to check out Bloodsport II and Bloodsport III at some point.
While Bloodsport II was not of the same caliber as the original (something that could be said for 99% of all sequels), it was light years better than the trash known as Bloodsport 4.
- The Premise: Daniel Bernhardt, in his acting debut, plays Alex Cardo. Cardo is a thief who is caught stealing a sword and is sent to prison. While in prison two key things happen to him. 1) He seems to really piss off the head guard named Demon. 2) A wise old prisoner named Sun (James Hong) takes him under his wing and teaches him the “Iron Hand” fighting technique. Sun also tells Alex about the Kumite. Sun had competed in the Kumite himself years back, but after he was forced to kill one of his students who was abusing the power of the “Iron Hand” but had a daddy with major political stroke, Sun was thrown into prison for life. Sun never got to fulfill his dream of winning the Kumite. Alex makes the promise that he will win for his master and thanks to the influential David Leung (played by Mr. Miyagi himself, Pat Morita) Alex is sprung from prison and free to compete in the Kumite.
- Connections: In order to help bridge the original Bloodsport with Bloodsport II, Donald Gibb is brought back to reprise his role as Ray “Tiny” Jackson. Jackson is no longer a competitor but instead is a handler for the English speaking fighters. He also has the hots for the first woman to ever enter the Kumite, Kim Campbell. Including Ray Jackson was not a necessary thing to do, but I appreciated the fact that they tried to connect the sequel with the original in some way.
- Fight Night: The key ingredient to a movie like this is quality fighters and quality fights. Daniel Bernhardt can pull off some great fight scenes so our hero was set. But it takes two to tango so what about the rest of the competition? I feel there was a good mix of characters like Cliff (Ron Hall) and Sergio (Nick Hill) and various fighting styles to keep the Kumite interesting and feature some quality match ups. Did I mention that Demon, the head prison guard who took delight in making Alex’s life miserable while in prison is also the reigning and defending Kumite champion! Demon also displays what a despicable human being he is when he has to take on the Kumite’s first female combatant, Kim Campbell. After his victory he kisses her… this does not sit well with Jackson.
Bloodsport II redeemed Daniel Bernhardt as a leading man in my eyes. I thought he did well in Strike Force as part of an ensemble cast, I know Chad raved about his work in John Wick (a movie I still need to see!) but Bloodsport 4: The Dark Kumite left me wondering if Bernhardt could carry a film. The answer is, when it is a good movie he certainly can. And make no mistake about it, Bloodsport II is a good movie. How good? I almost immediately watched Bloodsport III afterwards, but decided not to press my luck.
Here are a few bonus Bloodsport II Bullet Points…
- Montage Mania: If you are a fan of montages in action movies than this is the movie for you. We get an “Iron Hand” training montage. When Alex is thrown into solitary confinement in the prision, we get a flashback montage. And last but not least, after he suffers a prison beating we get a healing montage that leads into a second training montage.
- I Love It When A Plan Comes Together: So you have a rookie actor like Daniel Bernhardt as the star of your movie, how do you protect him and help improve him through the course of the film? That’s easy… you get yourself some veteran actors who can help carry the load and work with the rookie. I already mentioned James Hong and Pat Morita, but playing the role of Alex’s partner in his thieving days is actor/stunt man Phillip Tan. Tan has been in countless action movies including Wake of Death, Lethal Weapon 4, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Mission of Justice, The Perfect Weapon and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to name a few.
- Apples vs. Oranges: This may be an unfair comparison, but it is only natural to compare the sequels to the original. And with that said there’s no way that Van Damme would have settled for just kissing the girl like Bernhardt’s character does in Bloodsport II. Van Damme’s a closer!
- Disclaimer: At one point while discussing his past, Alex mentions the “stinkholes” he’s lived in… they include China, India and the Philippines. We would like to go on record and state that the views of Alex Cardo do not necessarily reflect those of BulletproofAction.com. In fact we love our international fans. As I type this, action movie fans from over 50 countries have checked out our site in the month of May alone!