STARRING: Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Donald Gibb, Forest Whitaker, Bolo Yeung.
RATED: R; For Violence, Nudity,
It is the
year of our lord, 1988. A truly glorious
time. A time where sunglasses were the size of
solar panels and t-shirts changed magical colors! A time
where all the best parties were in the back, whilst
business was always on top. A time where you
could wear a muscle shirt (despite having no muscles), a
fanny pack and the biggest fucking pair of
zebra-striped Zubaz pants you've ever seen in your
life, and still not get punched right in
the face for being a complete douchebag. It was truly a
great time to look ridiculous. No
one would dare tell US that our red faux-leather
jackets with 60 zippered pockets were not as
tremendously cool as we thought they were-- because we
were clueless. I mean, we wore pink shirts with
Alligators over the big floppy pockets for fuck sakes.
What did we really know? Not much, it turns
out. For we were sheltered from the harsh
realities that were yet to come. Those
harsh realities? Well, we all looked like
shit for one. That was a given. And despite
President Reagan's bold claims on economic reform,
the only thing to "trickle down" into my
stylin' acid-wash-laden pockets were big balls
of lint. However, there were other revelations
to come, with ramifications so deep that they were
like a really witty parable of something being
really deep that I can't think of. And they
shook my generation to its very neon-jammer wearing
cores. It was a scene, man.
example; as it turns out--get this-- Milli
Vanilli--the same two guys who couldn't speak
a lick of English without sounding
like Arnold Schwarzenegger with severe mental
retardation--yet, could sing in flawless melodic English
accents-- were actually FRAUDS
and sang NOTHING. It's
true. And despite their unintelligible thick German
cries, on this day, the Rain could NOT be
Blamed this time. It was shocking. Almost as
shocking as discovering that milky-white
rap-meister, Vanilla Ice actually had no
discernable talent whatsoever. SAY IT AIN'T SO. It
was a crushing blow surely for those of us fledgling
mullet-heads convinced that he was in fact the "real
deal"... and dreamt of a day in which people would utter
the name "Ice" with the same clout, reverence
and respect as "Sinatra", "Elvis" and "Maestro
Fresh Wes". Not to be.
was all around us, friends. Heroes were falling, and
not even their omnipresent parachute pants could
save them. As the 90's began, it was now a world of
mistrust and cynicism. A
world where once proud sex symbols like
George Michael were soliciting blowjobs at roadside
homosexual rest-stops, as people questioned
just how a man with a feathered 'do, eye
make-up and billowing chest hair could actually turn out
to be GAY. You know, before they went back to
eating their pureed food for their own safety. It
was truly the end of the innocence. The last
can of Tab was opened like the proverbial Pandora's
Box and nothing but anguish and women's blouses
with shoulder pads so huge they'd
even bowl over Refrigerator Perry spilled out. A
new decade was indeed at hand. The party in the
back was indeed cut short. Given way to a new age
of yellow peroxide-bleached hair, ridiculous doctor
scrubs pants and a completely jaded
disposition. Who could have possibly seen this all
coming, I asked? Everyone on Earth except
besides frauds, phonies, secret homosexuals, and high
fashion that is only kept alive today by clueless
Pro Wrestlers, the 1980's were at least a
proud a staple of one more phenomenon that has
yet to see a full resurgence: THE
ACTION MOVIE. Or more importantly, the Martial Arts Action Movie. And
leading the charge in 1988 was Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The man who singlehandedly taught a world of movie goers
that in order to truly master your craft, you
needed only two things: the ability to nonsensically do
the splits and elevate your testicles
perpendicular to the ground; and an adversary willing to
stand completely still in slow motion whilst you deliver
a completely telegraphed spinning kick. That's it. It's
really that easy. Trust me.
finally takes us to perhaps Van Damme's most well
known film: BLOODSPORT. The alleged true story of
Frank Dux; the first westerner to win the "Kumite"
mixed-martial arts tournament. An honor that got
you...something? I don't know. They built this
whole fucking thing up, and then all Van Damme got
was a lousy sword. Ya, that was definitely worth
the in-tournament deaths and broken necks. Shoot for the
Bloodsport is remembered as a classic...by
me...and only me; and well, upon 2nd viewing 20
years later, I'm starting to think my mother secretly
embedded my breakfast cereal with chips of lead paint. I
don't know what I was thinking. Not much, if this
haircut is any
Now, as for
the movie itself. It's simple. Bloodsport is just your
basic grown man with a child's haircut who speaks
with a thick Belgian accent despite living 95% of his
life in America, honoring his Shidoshi's dead son by
pretending to be Japanese and learning to do the
splits and serve tea blindfolded, and then
using his blind butler skills to win a
tournament by kicking a giant Chinese dude with a
mullet in slow motion for apparently no reward
whatsoever. You know, that same old story.
could give you the straight movie blow-by-blow, but
holy shit that'd be tedious. It'd read like "then Dux
kicked this guy with black pants. Then he kicked this
Arab guy named Paco (His Iraqi cousins
"Jorge" and "Ricardo" must have not been
available). Then he kicked a fat Japanese guy with
a porn mustache. Then he kicked a bunch of
other guys! Then he got blinded by a guy. Then he
kicked that guy, too. And then he went home." So,
ya, I think I'll just give you the quick &
starts off with young Frank Dux and friends breaking
into a Japanese house. (and there's definitely a lot of
bamboo/paper houses in southern California! Oh
wait.). The trio grab a sword from a stand, then they
flee, leaving Dux holding the sword and the proverbial
bag. This brings in the owner of the house, Master
Tanaka and his young son, who proceeds to kick the
shit out of Dux despite his claims of innocence and not
even trying to run or fight. Ya, lot of honor young
Tanaka has there. Eventually, Tanaka agrees to train
Dux, but basically uses him as a punching bag for own
son. That is, until Dux saves young Tanaka from
bullies at school. Which of course draws the question,
how could Dux gets his ass kicked so severely by this
diminutive Oriental boy every day, then suddenly have
the moxy to run off the bullies that are beating on the
same kid who so regularly hands him his own ass?
fast forward to Dux's adulthood where he visits Master
Tanaka. It turns out Tanaka's son is dead. They don't
say how. I hope it's AIDS. I don't even know
why. This turn of events saddens Master Tanaka, as
his hope to force his small son to compete in a death
tournament for no monetary reward has now been quashed.
OR HAS IT. Because, Dux volunteers to take his place!
Tanaka is immediately disgusted, spewing the same
visceral anger that the Korean grocery clerk does in
your local Bodega when you try and read the magazines in
the display. "You're not even Japanese!", Tanaka cries,
to which Van Damme answers "It's Ok; I can't act for
shit either, but that didn't stop people from casting me
for 20 years! It'll all work out! Trust me!". I might be
paraphrasing here. Soon, Tanaka warms to the idea, after
Dux says he wants to finish his training to "honor him".
But I really think it's so he can bum some
of Tanaka's silk pajamas. I know it'd be that
way for me. I don't think I've seen this Tanaka in
one pair of slacks this whole movie. What a swanky
motherfucker. He's like a really angry Japanese
Hugh Hefner. Only he ties your legs to trees
and beats you with sticks, instead being
surrounded by gorgeous nude women.
begins Dux's training, which, as alluded to, sees
him be tied to two trees, leg first and stretched; so,
in the event one of his opponents in the tournament have
some rope and two palm trees, DUX WILL SO BE READY FOR
THAT SHIT IT'LL NOT EVEN BE FUNNY. Bring it on,
motherfuckers. Also, it has to be said,
Tanaka's training methods, like Mister Miyagi in
Karate Kid, are somewhat suspect. As they
too involve THANKLESS CHORES with the thought that
by doing these meandering jobs, somehow this'll teach
you a level of martial arts mastery no kind of
physical contact EVER could. In this case, unlike
Miyagi with car waxing and house
painting, Tanaka has Dux serving he and
his wife breakfast blindfolded. I'm really starting
to think these old Japanese guys have a scam going where
they hornswaggle young people into free manual
labor in exchange for "secret training". It's just
like every other old person out there, only
way more clever. "After you're done waxing my car,
and thus learning Karate, cut the grass...and
then you'll know Kung-Fu!". Ya.
years have passed, and Dux, now enlisted in the
military, wants to go on leave to compete in the Kumite
tournament. The brass in charge obviously refuse.
Perhaps if he hadn't made it so clear that he was
competing in a SECRET ILLEGAL DEATH TOURNAMENT, they may
have warmed up to the idea. I guess "I'm going to go
visit my sister in Wyoming" never crossed his mind. So,
needless to say, Dux has to go AWOL, and sneaks out the
shower-room window, easily escaping the ONE guard on the
base, and fleeing the entire place without being seen.
Note to Terrorists. If you're looking to plan an
assault, you might want to try THIS base. If they have
their entire crack security unable to stop one naked
Belgian dude running for the hills, I don't think
they're going to be none the wiser to your plots.
Call it a hunch.
the interim, the military sends two men to reclaim Dux.
One of which is Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and
his lazy eye. He's tried to get it to show better
ambition, but some eyes just want to always take the
easy way out. What can I say.
are now in Hong Kong, and Dux meets
Ray Jackson, (Ogre from the Revenge of the
Nerds movie) on a bus to the Kumite. I'd bring up the
incredible unlikely odds that the only two
Americans in the competition happened to be on the same
bus going to the same tournament at the same
exact time, but that'd just be absurd. Almost
as absurd as how high Jean-Claude wears his pants here.
Seriously, the guy must buckle his belt over his
nipples. Insanity. My guess is that by wearing his pants
so high, he lessens the chance of getting hit below
the belt in the tournament, because come on, a shot
to the chest won't hurt that much. And speaking
of wearing pants extraordinarily high, whilst in the
hotel with Jackson, he runs into a female reporter
in search of info on the secret tournament--Janice Kent,
whom like him, apparently shares a love of pants to
armpit levels. They could make some beautiful babies one
day. Who'll then suffocate because they're diapered up
to their faces. Dux, then interrupts another
fighter named Hossein, who is trying to pick up Janice.
Hossein, for the record, is sporting perhaps the most
unfortunate ears I think I've ever seen. Think that
rides shotgun with Lando Calrissian in
Jedi. Dux's big solution here is to play a game of
chance to see who'll get to potentially violate this
sweet blue-eyed mid-western woman. Well,
that sure beats the shit out of Paper, Rock,
Scissors. Dux bets Hossein that he can grab a coin out
of his hand before he closes his fist, and Hossein
agrees--and loses. Then he just bows out graciously?
Holy shit, apparently the prospect of Van Damme's
vaudevillian magic trick was just too much for this poor
bastard. Imagine the sheer damage he could do with
actual bills! Ahem.
to the victor goes the spoils. Dux and
Janice got out to dinner where she tries to coax
him into letting her into watch the Kumite. "I heard
it's like human cockfighting!", she says, and Dux
responds "no, we actually wear pants". Ok, he didn't say
that, but he should have. He then turns down her
request to attend the event, citing that the event is
for the fighters not the people who read newspapers. But
what if the fighters read newspapers, I ask, looking for
a high five that never comes because I'm alone. So very,
very alone. Dux however offers her a chance to
attend his special CUMite, and despite her
objection to his chauvinistic contest earlier, she
does the lady-like thing here and puts out on
the first date! Who knew that your idiot grandfather's
coin tricks could potentially lead to pussy. All I need
to do now is incorporate his tales of walking
3000 miles to school bare-foot in snow and
she'll probably give the green-light on
speaking of the sex, when the film began, I noticed
the disclaimer warning "SOME SCENES MAY CONTAIN NUDITY"
(May contain?! I need to know for sure!), and once she
came into the film I thought "all right, all right, all
right, I don't think I'd be against her taking off her
clothes as the kids are wont to say these days"...but oh
my god, THE HORRORS. There was nudity here, sure, but
not a flash of female skin was exposed. Instead, we were
subjected to the ever-so-brief shot of Van Damme
snapping a pair of bikini briefs over his hairless
cornhole. If you had an erection before in preparation
for Janice's big scene, it's since relocated to your
abdomen now. If it wasn't for my glorious giant balls,
I'd look just like a Ken doll.
TIME~! Held in a secret Hong Kong slum...a slum that
happens to have a fully lit arena inside with giant
scoreboards and electricity and hundreds of chairs. I
didn't know that's how slums work. Thank god they've
managed to keep this on the down-low. No one in living
in extreme poverty would ever
notice 10 trucks rolling in and
unloading millions of dollars worth of equipment
and a giant 75 foot canvas half-pipe. Not a
Jackson arrive and are introduced to
their sponsor Mr. Lin and officially sign
up...but there's some problems with Dux's clan (Tanaka).
Yet, surprisingly they have no problem signing up the
big redneck Biker, Jackson, despite him having no
clan affiliation. Well, besides maybe Ku Klux. Dux
then convinces them to allow him to show the Tanaka
trademark "death touch" on a pile of bricks to prove his
worth. Man. It's a good thing they had this completely
random pile of bricks just stacked there, or maybe Dux
would have been turned away! Lucky him! The referee
demands he break the bottom brick, which he does without
shattering any of the top ones, PHYSICS BE DAMNED. Now,
just watch, the guy, despite having this ability, will
likely only use itonce in the
whole tournament, and instead expend needless energy
fighting traditionally. It's kind of like how The
Undertaker can summon lightning at will, but instead
always just wrestles instead of incinerating people.
Oh, I'd be
remiss if I didn't mention this was the first time we
see the film's antagonist Chong-Li, played by Bolo
Yeung. As it turns out, Bolo was actually FIFTY
here. I had no idea Bolo Yeung was so
Bolo Old. HOLY SHIT, PUNS. Chong-Li is impressed by
Dux's brick shattering, but utters his first of
three pieces of dialogue in the film : "Very good. But
bricks not hit back!". I'd have hit him with a brick
just to confuse the situation and perhaps make him
reconsider his stance. But hey, that's just me.
tournament has started~! The rules are as follows: a
winner is determined by knockout, submission, throwing a
man from the platform, and in the case of a tie, a
spirited inner-city dance off. But the things
is...you won't know what kind of music you'll be
straight steppin' to. Oh shit, I think
I changed the channel by accident. Umm, just the
A myriad of
fighters then go at it, with only several obviously
being meant to stand out. One of which is this really
annoying hunched-over bobbing-and-weaving African
bushman. I love how this guy had the wear-with-all to
obviously charter a plane from Buttfuck Africa,
but can't walk upright. Good times.
then learn that Chong-Li holds the fastest knock
out record, so of course Dux has to break it. And Dux's
first opponent? HOSSEIN, who is still reeling from the
slight of hand the previous night. Hossein is as adept
at fighting as he is, umm, closing his hand,
and gets knocked the fuck out in under 10 seconds.
NEW WORLD RECORD. Chong-Li is not pleased. And later
he takes his rage out on his opponent, killing him.
I'm guessing his Dojo doesn't have a great new
customer turn-over. Call me crazy. Jackson then gets
Chong-Li's dander up further by calling him out after
destroying his opponent with a BRAIN CHOP~!
"I'm coming for you man! Ya, you!", says Jackson.
Chong's reaction is initially hilarious, reading
like the school fat girl being asked to dance by the
cutest boy in her class, then getting spurned. His
face immediately turns to unadulterated festering hate.
I love this man, his bitchin' mullet/headband combo, and
his impossibly disturbing pectoral muscles.
first day wrapped up, we see the MP's coming for Dux,
who give chase through Hong Kong. The whole thing views
like a Mentos commercial:
During day two, we see more fights
in a quick musical sequence. I'd go into it more, but
holy shit this tune is catchy. KUMITE. KUMITE.
continue and, wait, holy shit, is that Grace Jones?
Who let this bitch in the tournament? The
tournament is in full swing, with Dux soundly defeating
several fighters. Oh, and annoying African
Bushman gets destroyed by the angry mustachioed
Sumo. Makes sense. I mean, really. If all native
Africans were this bad ass, there'd never have been
slavery! AMIRITE. We'd all be bringing them water on our
heads over there right now!
there, some more random dudes advance, and
Jackson gets maimed by Chong-Li, who gets handled by
Ogre early, but he doesn't finish. Chong then
takes the big man's knee out and curb stomps him.
NEXT." This upsets Janice, who has since
snuck into the tournament as an escort. Man, for a woman
who so desperately wanted to get into this
fucking thing, she sure gets revolted easily. What
did she think Roosters did again in Cockfights?
she's so disturbed, she later tries to orchestrate
a plan with the MP's to capture Dux and send him back to
the U.S., so he doesn't get hurt. But in true Three
Stooges fashion, the duo accidentally taser the Hong
Kong cops that attempt to assist them, and Dux beats the
fuck out of them with his NINJA DUFFLEBAG OF DEATH.
Seriously, the guy's fucking dirty laundry just took out
about 8 people. Holy shit, this whole movie
isn't exactly a glowing tribute to our armed
On the bus
ride home, Dux can't stop thinking about Chong-Li, and
he's on the bus with him!
Fucking hilarious. Super villains
tend to lose their mystique when you picture them in
everyday situations. I mean, what's next, Chong-Li
spotted haggling over the price of fruit at the
Chong-Li: "YOU. BOY WITH THE
BANANAS. YOU. ARE. NEXT".
Stock boy: "Umm, you want me to
Chong-Li: "Would you?
That'd be fantastic! Err, I mean, YOU WILL. OR I
WILL BREAK YOU".
day of fights~! And the MP's confront Dux, but
ultimately let him compete, under the promise he return
with them after it's over. Seriously though, why is this
one motherfucker worth all this trouble? I mean, the
dude wasn't even at war. He was just chillaxing on the
base kicking a speed bag in an unsightly one piece
unitard. What was so pertinent about getting this
guy back ASAP?
Anyway, the tournament
final comes down to, you guessed it, Frank Dux vs.
Chong Li after Dux advanced over Paco the Mexican Arab
and the giant Sumo dude, by death punching him
right in the bag. Mrs. Sumo will not be pleased. The
next time she goes down on him, his dick will turn
to powder like an unraveled Mummy. How dare Dux take
away his chance to father some really big ugly
and Chong-Li make their way for the final fight,
but Chong-Li has some words first: "YOU BREAK MY
RECORD, NOW I BREAK YOU, LIKE I BREAK YOUR FRIEND". Bolo
Yeung is clearly a wordsmith. He speaks to
me. In stilted syllables.
KUMITE! KUMITE! We are under way! And holy shit, Chong
Li is taking off his pants. That can't be good for
business. Maybe Janice will get to see the kind of
cockfighting she wanted after all. In actuality,
Chong is wearing Jackson's headband around his knee to
torment Dux. The biggest irony of this fight though
is, that earlier when Jackson was fighting Chong-Li, Dux
gave the advice "stick to the body! He's soft
there!"...yet, as soon as he fights the guy himself, he
just tries to kick him in the head. Jesus Christ.
dominates from the onset, so Chong-Li takes a page from
MR. FUJI'S PLAYBOOK, and throws salt in Dux's eyes! YES.
If it's good enough for Bret Hart, it's good enough for
this joker. Hilariously enough, Referee Kareem Abdul
Jabbar here apparently didn't see a thing, despite the
cloud of white residue, Dux stumbling around like
Frankenstein, rubbing his eyes and throwing kicks to
thin air. The wrestling tie-in is now
then goes to work--and for only 1/8th what an American
makes! budumcha-- and Dux is down...long enough to have
a complete flashback sequence! Good thing Chong-Li has
the courtesy to let him toggle through 20 years of
random memories! That's nice. Dux digs deep,
and remembers his time blindfolded and how Master Tanaka
taught him to grab fish right out of the pond with his
BARE HANDS. Sure, that doesn't help him fight
for shit, but if there ever comes a time when he and
Chong are trapped on a desert island and really hungry,
guess who's eating and who isn't! I'm telling you.
point, Dux is yelling really loud and contorting all his
muscles. If I didn't know any better, I'd think he was
squat-shitting right on the podium. I mean, why not?
They already alluded to Chong being soft in the stomach.
Maybe he'll throw up and then slip on the vomit and
knock himself out, and Ray Charles here will
get his fucking sword and call it a night already.
But alas, as in all movies of this ilk, you are
ALWAYS way more dangerous when you're blinded, so
Dux blocks Chong's finishing blow and goes back on
offense. I'll never look at and completely
ignore the blind the same way again.
Lest I find that he was trained by a sadistic
Master who ties him to palm trees and makes him serve
drinks thus making him unbeatable. Or something.
Dux is now
a house of fire, and unloads on Chong, but not before
demonstrating some pretty sweet Rockette moves! Holy
shit! He then leaps into the air, and delivers a slow
motion kick of death. I love how no one in Van Damme
movies ever even tries to duck these things. "Ya, here
comes the kick. I guess I could move. Or I
could just stand here still for 10 seconds and take
it full force! Ya, I like that. BLARRRGGHHHHH". Dux then
makes Chong-Li submit to win the tournament... and like
nothing else. Seriously, the guy should have just bought
a sword in a pawn shop and brought it to his dying
Shidoshi. How'd he have ever known the difference? "Ya,
this is to honor you or something. Just let me peel this
price tag off, and there we go, perfect!".
Janice are then seen at Jackson's bed side, who
miraculously is not even injured and is
now drinking beer... in a hospital. Maybe they let
you wash down Medical Marijuana with Medical Colt 45
now. I'm not up on current Medicine, I guess.
They then all share a moment, and Dux gives
Jackson back his headband and says "next time keep your
clothes on". If only the director had the guts to utter
this same advice earlier. Jackson then jokes
that next time Dux may have to face him. Note
to Jackson: If he looks constipated, he's not! Stay
away! It can only end badly for you. Oh, and maybe duck
when he floats suspended in the air for like fifteen
straight seconds. Jackson then hugs Dux and say "any
time, anywhere, you need me, I'm there". Dux then says
"Ya, I'm actually moving next week, and I could
really use a hand!", but when he turns around
Jackson is gone, seen from a distance getting into
a running car never to be seen again. There's a chance I
made this part up.
film then ends with the MP's waiting for Dux at the
airport, but hey now, he's already on the plane! "What's
taking you guys so long!", he says. Oh that Dux. Do the
laughs ever start.
Did you know Frank Dux has a lot of records~!
Fastest knock out! Fastest submission! Fastest fuck on a
first date ever. He's a man to be admired. And
a man who has apparently invented his
very own form of NINJITSU: DUX RYU NINJITSU.
Which as far as I'm concerned better involve propelling
balls of raw energy at giant electricity-laden green
mutants. That 2nd name holds some standards that
HAVE to be lived up to, damn it. But hey, good luck with
all that "ninjitsu". There's a serious calling for
*those guys* in the 21st century. I guess if I see
a masked dude drop from the trees and deliver a
spin-kick in bullet time, I'll know who's behind it.
Live and learn.
FINAL THOUGHTS: What did we
learn today kids? Chong-Li's feelings get hurt really
easily. Perhaps if Jackson had've extended the olive
branch of friendship, instead of mocking the man, maybe
he'd be able to eat something other than baby food for
the next year. Plus, if you want to go on Military leave
to compete in a secret tournament where you could
potentially die, maybe, just maybe, LIE to your Commanding Officer.
Thanksgiving with the Folks > I WANT TO HONOR MY
SHIDOSHI~!. Also, if you're the Military Police, and
you've fallen into the Ocean, been tasered, kicked,
tackled, and injured, maybe just let the fucking guy go.
You can always find another man willing to stand
around doing nothing of any military value at the
base. And finally, it's perfectly
normal to unwind and relax after a hard day
at the office by doing the splits for no reason on a
building roof-top. Some people have a coffee and
read a newspaper. Some like to potentially plummet
to their deaths spread-eagled. I don't throw
said, this movie is one of the most absurd things I've
ever seen, bar none. But that's why I love it. TWO
BRICK-BUSTING PALM-THRUSTS OF DEATH UP~!
is a man of many hats. And he wears those hats to cover
an ever-increasing bald spot. Sean's various scribblings
have been read at Live Audio Wrestling, 411 Mania,
Wrestlecrap, Honky Tonk Man.com, The Toronto
Star.com, and Lethal Wrestling. He has also cured