Double Take: Supreme Champion
Some movies are better watched together… whether you are exposing a friend to a movie you love that they have never seen before, or you’re out with friends, family or loved ones at the theater on opening weekend or even when you are at home one night watching a total abomination of a movie and quickly learning that the old saying misery loves company is so very true.
The shared cinematic experience is what Double Take, the newest feature here on Bulletproof Action, is all about. The first movie to get the Double Take treatment will be 2010’s Supreme Champion starring former UFC combatant, “American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar.
Joining me on Double Take’s maiden voyage will be my fellow co-founder of Bulletproof Action, Chad Cruise. Are two opinions better than one? We shall soon find out…
CTB: I have spent a fair share of time analyzing what makes a quality action hero and it is never just one thing. An action hero needs to be strong in a few categories if he’s going to make it in the world of action entertainment. With that said, there is a reason Supreme Champion is Stephan Bonnar’s only movie to date. Bonnar is completely lacking in the personality department. He has a deer in the headlights look on his face for the entire movie. Bonnar gets high scores in being a legit badass, but that is only one aspect of being a great action hero. The movie seems to hang its hat on the fact that Bonnar had an impressive win/loss record in the world of mixed martial arts and that would be enough to sell him to the movie going public, but The Harlem Globetrotters had an impressive win/loss record too but nobody wants to see them carrying an action movie. I would think with a moniker like “American Psycho” it would have been safer to make Bonnar the right hand man for the villain in a movie or two, kind of get his feet wet in the whole movie making business.
CHAD: Anyone who has been a fan of the UFC in the Dana White era will likely remember Stephan Bonnar’s knockdown, drag-out fight with Forrest Griffin in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 1. It cemented that show and, arguably, the UFC as a success after the shaky few years that it had in the early 2000’s. For a fighter who was nicknamed “The American Psycho” and who was most famous for his Rocky-like fight with Forrest Griffin, he should have been given an opportunity to have the type of fight in the film that really showed him take a beating. Bonnar’s Troy Jennings isn’t even given a chance to be a likable hero. He’s given the default backstory of being a war hero and we’re told that he often hangs out at a strip club with his best friends (this guy is sounding very familiar..) but the fact that he swaps his ex-girlfriend Jenny with the more attractive Kaya mid-movie doesn’t exactly show the type of loyalty that one normally expects from a hero. In fact, I was still pissed about that whole Bambi scene….
CHAD: Speaking of Bambi, the unbelievably hot Natasha Diakova plays a random hot chick running around the hall of the very wealthy Lucien Gallows’ home. The scene I mentioned above consists of her attempts to woo the uninterested Troy Jennings. The film doesn’t skip out on the nudity. There are several scenes taking place in a strip club and I believe Jennings showers at least twice during the film. For a film so willing to show a few nipples, you would have thought they would have convinced the two leading ladies to bare a couple. Marieh Delfino and Leila Arciari both play love interests of Troy Jennings. One of them an ex, and the other a more current conquest. Neither lady is given much credit, both needing the dashing Troy to come to their rescue on multiple occasions. It’s also worth noting that both of the women have their issues. They both are given sad stories to tell, tears to shed, and all the while I was left wondering, “When am I gonna see those breasts? They look lovely.”
CTB: Conventional wisdom would tell you that boobs make any movie better, but all the boobs in the world weren’t going to make Supreme Champion enjoyable. Of course conventional wisdom would also tell you that after Troy helps his ex-girlfriend Jenny (Marieh Delfino) get out of debt with Lucien Gallows, that the two would live happily ever after… but instead the swap happens as you pointed out earlier and Troy ends up with Kaya (Leila Arciari). It is almost like Troy didn’t even really care that much about Jenny to begin with. That would explain why Jenny was Troy’s ex-girlfriend but really muddies the waters on why Troy agreed to help Jenny in the first place. Just an aside for those of you guys out there who may want to hit up Jenny now that she is officially single and won’t be hooking up with Troy again, you can reach her at 867-5309.
CTB: Given the novices he was surrounded by, Daniel Bernhardt comes across like Marlon Freaking Brando in Supreme Champion. Bernhardt plays an eccentric rich guy named Lucien Gallows. Gallows entertains himself by “recruiting” fighters to compete for him and prove once and for all who is the ultimate warrior. In fact, Bernhardt says “Ultimate Warrior” so many times in this movie, it makes me think that the movie was originally titled Ultimate Warrior. Bonnar’s Troy Jennings is basically forced to fight for Gallows to clear the gambling debts of his former girlfriend Jenny. I did find it puzzling that A) Lucien Gallows was really into wearing turtlenecks and B) that it is revealed that Lucien Gallows is dying. Why put sympathy on your villain especially when you have a lackluster hero?
CHAD: Chris, I’m not entirely sure that Lucien Gallows was the villain here. Not only did he save Leila Arciari’s character from her drug addiction, but he also allowed Jenny to pay off her considerable gambling debts by merely being forced to live in Gallow’s mansion. If that is his idea of punishment then consider me Steven Avery. I suppose the filmmakers were attempting to go a slightly different route by not making Gallows the traditional fighting tournament bad guy but it was a massive swing and a miss on their part because I knew and empathized more with his character by the end of the film than I did with Bonnar’s hero Troy Jennings. If I were the one making this movie I would have given him a really demented henchman who was all rapey and murderous. Then you could at least say that Lucien knew that his right hand man was a son of a bitch and not just some rich weirdo who liked watching darkly lit bare-knuckled fights.
CHAD: There has been no shortage of tournament fighting movies. In fact, that would probably make for a very good Essentials article! But before I get ahead of myself, let’s discuss for a moment what should have been the best part of Supreme Champion. We already know that the characters and script were about as deep as Kelly Ripa’s belly button, but if you’re going to have actors who can legitimately kick someone’s ass then you should probably put them in a situation where doing so is their only way of surviving. After Bonnar’s Troy Jennings is taken into custody and forced to fight a couple of jobbers, he then finds himself on the wrong end of a ‘Most Dangerous Game’ scenario. All the fighters, who we already know are mostly just a bunch of punching bags with limbs, pick up a few weapons and casually walk out into the nearby woods to hunt our heroic leading man. As bad as this movie was for the first 2/3’s, it really went in the crapper when they decided to get their guns out and hunt the man.
CTB: Let’s not forget Troy’s two old Army buddies, Mick and Clu, who close up The Score Gentlemen’s Club club they run and come out to the woods to help Troy in that craptacular last third of the movie you just mentioned. Neither of these gentlemen really exude the “tough guy” image you’d expect from a couple of old Army buddies.Ted Fox in particular, who played Clu, looks like the only thing he had ever shot before this movie was Botox injections into his face. George Saunders, who played Mick, is as vanilla as they come with zero screen presence. Fox and Saunders were behind the scenes players in this movie which is probably the only reason they got acting gigs. Fox produced Supreme Champion, and he continues to work in an executive producer capacity in films, some of his more recent work includes Marauders and Arsenal. Saunders wrote the screenplay for Supreme Champion and he is also the man who penned Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite… which means Saunders has written two of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.