Bloodsport

1988, Movie, R, 92 mins

Review

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Based on true events, BLOODSPORT concerns an American special forces commando and the first westerner to dominate the Kumite, a brutal martial arts competition held clandestinely every five years in Hong Kong. Van Damme (a Belgian with a disconcertingly thick accent) begins his martial arts training as a boy in California and is subsequently tutored by Chiao, a past Kumite champion. After an arduous apprenticeship, a strong emotional bond is forged between the two. Later Van Damme, now a member of the Defense Intelligence Committee, travels to Hong Kong, determined to participate in the Kumite to bring honor to his ailing mentor. Unfortunately his special-forces unit feels he is too valuable to risk in such a dangerous contest, and they send two agents (Whitaker and Burton) to bring him back to the US. Van Damme divides his time before the meet between dodging the agents and anemically pursuing romantic interest Ayres, a reporter who will do almost anything to get the scoop on the Kumite. BLOODSPORT is strictly for martial arts buffs; little is offered here in the way of plot, dialog, or acting. The fight sequences, however, are shot in a straightforward manner--unusual in this genre--affording the audience a chance to admire Van Damme's real skill as an athlete, if not as an actor. leave a comment

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