Bullet Points: Lady Bloodfight
When I first heard about what was being touted as an all female version of the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Bloodsport, I couldn’t help but wonder how much the pay-per-view box office success of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey had to do with the decision to green light Lady Bloodfight.
The UFC with Rousey on top proved on multiple occasions that there is a fan base willing to shell out some of their expendable income to see women mix it up in an extremely physical way. So why not make a movie about a kumite featuring the toughest women from around the globe!? And who better to star in Lady Bloodfight than Amy Johnston!?
Amy Johnston, who also starred in Female Fight Squad with Dolph Lundgren and is set to star along side Scott Adkins and Michael Jai White in the upcoming Accident Man, is the real deal and if her acting resume isn’t proof of that, then her stunt work in movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Suicide Squad and Deadpool should more than convince you.
- Flashback: The movie immediately flashes back to the finals of the previous Hong Kong kumite, where rivals Wai (Kathy Wu) and Shu (Muriel Hofman) are going the distance on the rooftop of a Hong Kong high rise. With no end to this contest in site, the judges rule the bout a draw and order that Wai and Shu split the prize money. But for Wai this was never about the money, this was personal and she refuses to split the prize with Shu. The judges then offer both women the chance to find students to fight on their behalf when the next kumite goes down in five years… oddly enough both women wait until 3 months before the next kumite to find these students, but more on that later.
- Around the World: As the opening credits are rolling we get a glimpse of the kumite selection process as kumite scouts are all over the world in such locales as Sidney, Rio De Janeiro, Bangkok and Moscow to extend invitations to the best of the best. The Svietta character (Ng Mayling) from Moscow immediately grabbed my attention with her Richard Kiel like metal teeth and psychotic eyes, there was no doubt she was going to mess some women up… After the credits roll, we get our first look at Jane Jones (Amy Johnston) working her waitress job in the good ol’ United States of America. Jane is doing her best to remain professional despite having to deal with a male customer harassing her… when he goes to grab her she breaks his hand and then punches him right in the mouth, knocking out his teeth. Jane’s boss fires her on the spot. Jane heads home but before she can get to her car the unhappy customer and some of his boys confront her and she proceeds to beat the ever loving shit out of all of them. Jane finally gets home and starts packing her things, says goodbye to her mom and tells her she is going to Hong Kong.
- Following in His Footsteps: Jane looks at her new unemployment status as an opportunity to do something she always wanted to do… follow in her father’s footsteps and visit Hong Kong. Her father went to Hong Kong when she was just a young girl. He went to compete in the kumite. He never returned. Jane knows the only way she’ll find out what happened to him is if she can get on the inside… she needs to be the first American woman to compete in the kumite. But things quickly go bad for Jane when she arrives in Hong Kong and some of the local criminals take advantage of her naivite , fortunately for her Shu shows up and saves her ass… this leads to Shu agreeing to train Jane for this year’s kumite, although they only have 3 months to prepare. Meanwhile across town Wai has found her student too, a young would be thief named Ling (Jenny Wu). Now if you are thinking you have figured out the two women who will make it to the finals of the kumite, you are probably right, but these type of movies are more about the journey than they are the destination and there are some twists and turns before we get to the kumite finale.
When we look back at Lady Bloodfight years from now it could prove to be a pivotal movie in the action entertainment careers of both Amy Johnston and Mayling Ng, the two women who I believe shined the most in the movie. Lady Bloodfight put its own spin on a tried and true action movie formula. Lady Bloodfight also gave the audience exactly what it wanted, quality fights and plenty of them.
Now I’m going to give you exactly what you want… some Bonus Bullet Points.
- Complaint Department: My one gripe with Lady Bloodfight was the locations for the fights. The early rounds were held in a warehouse with the battleground surrounded by cargo containers. This felt like so many other action movies and it didn’t make the proceedings feel special. The finals were held on the dock and while the water in the background was a great visual it paled in comparison to the epic battle in the middle of the Hong Kong skyline from the previous kumite where Wai and Shu battled to a stalemate.
- Dueling Montages: With two martial arts experts and two students, we are treated to dueling training montages in Lady Bloodfight.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a dead bird be brought back to life in dramatic fashion, then this is the movie for you.
- Jaded?: When Jane is befriended by Cassidy (Jet Tranter), I couldn’t help but think it was all a ruse to sucker Jane in. Was I right to think this way or have all the double crosses in action movies jaded me? Watch Lady Bloodfight and find out.
- Trailblazers: Before I wrap up this review, I want to recognize some women who competed in kumite action long before Amy Johnston. First there was Mimi Lesseos in 1992’s Pushed to the Limit and second was Lisa McCullough in 1996’s Bloodsport 2.