Movie Kumite: Bloodsport II vs. Kickboxer 2
Both of these sequels had the unenviable task of continuing the respective franchises without the man who got them going in the first place, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The producers of Kickboxer 2: The Road Back went with Sasha Mitchell, who at the time was making a name for himself on the sitcom Step by Step. Now sitcom stars are not the most likely action heroes, but Mitchell fit in well and they even played up the fact that his character, David Sloan, does not believe he is as good as his brother Kurt Sloan (JCVD’s character from the original). This makes David sympathetic and an underdog… and who doesn’t love an underdog!?
But if you want to talk underdogs, let’s talk about Daniel Bernhardt who plays Alex Cardo in Bloodsport II. Bloodsport II was Bernhardt’s first role, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the movie. This is not to say Daniel’s performance was an acting tour de force, but he displayed the presence and confidence essential to be an action star. A male model thrown into the action world is always going to have an uphill battle but he did it. And from a character stand point, Alex Cardo is a criminal who turns it all around. If there’s anything that can beat an underdog story, it is a story about redemption.
This one is a close battle, but I am going to give a slight edge to Daniel Bernhardt and Bloodsport II here.
BLOODSPORT II – 1 KICKBOXER 2 – 0
This one will not be a close battle. I mean no disrespect to Ong Soo Han, who plays Demon the Kumite champion and head prison guard in Bloodsport II. Or to Phillip Tan who plays John, Alex’s partner in crime when he was in crime. But they can not come close to the great Tong Po!
And if Michel Qissi (of the world famous Qissi Brothers) reprising his role as Tong Po in Kickboxer 2 isn’t enough, there’s also the evil Sanga played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Sanga is a real puppet master in this one, manipulating everyone to get what he feels is justified revenge on the Sloan family!
Tong Po + Sanga = Villainous Victory!
BLOODSPORT II – 1 KICKBOXER 2 – 1
Dennis Chan returned for Kickboxer 2: The Road Back reprising his role as Xian Chow. He became the trainer of David Sloan and really helped him on The Road Back (ding!) David would be the second Sloan that Chow led to victory. Training not one, but two champions. Chow is like the Arnold Skaaland of the kickboxing world.
Veteran character actor James Hong plays Sun, the mentor and teacher of Alex Cardo in Bloodsport II. Hong does a good job as Alex’s mentor behind bars, but we learn the reason Sun is in prison was because he was forced to kill one of his previous students after said student used the “Iron Hand” technique Sun taught him for the purposes of evil. That’s sort of a black mark on his teaching career.
Xian Chow takes this one.
BLOODSPORT II – 1 KICKBOXER 2 – 2
WELCOME BACK BONUS ROUND
As I have already mentioned, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back brought back both Xian Chow and Tong Po from the original Kickboxer. Both have put points on the board for Kickboxer 2 in this grueling battle, but Bloodsport II had a huge connection to the original in the form of Donald Gibb.
Gibb returns as Ray Jackson, not as a Kumite fighter but as a handler. To me one Ray Jackson > Tong Po and Xian Chow. And Kickboxer 2 should really be thankful that Bloodsport II didn’t manage to bring back the “OK USA” guy, because I may have given Bloodsport II about 10 bonus points for that.
BLOODSPORT II – 2 KICKBOXER 2 – 2
We are all tied up, and when that happens I always like to go to two of the most respected movie websites for an unbiased view of the battle.
IMDB rates Bloodsport II at 4.7. Their rating for Kickboxer 2: The Road Back is a 4.3.
Bloodsport II has a 41% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Kickboxer 2: The Road Back had a 32% approval rating.
I guess it is only fitting that a movie about a kumite wins this edition of Movie Kumite. Congratulations Bloodsport II!
FINAL SCORE: BLOODSPORT II – 4 KICKBOXER 2– 2