I love the bargains section of DVD stores. I managed to pick up Bloodsport for $6. This isn't the first Jean Claude Van Damme movie I've talked about (Universal Soldier and Street Fighter being the others), but this is the best. Even the first few minutes are just guys being awesome at martial arts and fighting. One guy breaks ice blocks, another guy jumps up a tree and breaks coconuts with a karate chop. The basic set up of the plot is JCVD is Frank Dux (pronounced Dukes, not Ducks. I'm not sure why it's pronounced that way, nor why they went with that spelling. I guess it's JCVD's thing.), an American soldier who goes on leave to participate in the Kumite for the honour of Tanaka, the guy who taught him martial arts, since Tanaka's son died. That's told in about the first 10 minutes of the film, followed by a training montage.
Now, here's the catch for the rest of this review: I'm going to be watching it as I'm typing this up. I'm going to stay away from intentional plot spoilers, and just record my impressions with time codes. I haven't seen this movie since about 1990, so this should be interesting...
[27:20] Exploding brick!
[28:00] Man, that's a rather large individual.
[30:35] That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. You'd have to be an idiot to agree to that. ...And I can't believe it worked.
[33:40] Calling it now. The big comedy relief guy is gonna die. Why? Because he's the comedy relief guy.
[35:45] Time for the first sanctioned fight. The pacing on this is pretty good.
[39:15] Subtlety has no place in this movie, apparently.
[42:05] The hell? That was... random.
[45:00]Dun dun duuuuuuuunnnnnn dramatic reveeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrb
[46:13] He's just toying with them. The hell.
[48:00] This soundtrack is so 80s it hurts.
[49:25] Is it in his contract to show his ass in every movie? And geez, I can't get over how young he looks in this movie. And he's so GQ. It's very annoying. Stop it, Jean Claude.
[52:00] That would probably be very painful. And yet it was funny. Oh comic relief guy, I'll miss you when you die.
[53:00] I wonder what the ratio of stuntmen to actual martial artists was in this. Also how many fight co-ordinators/choreographers it had. And why do I keep hearing a cat meowing?
[54:40] HOLY CRAP. OW. AUGH.
[56:30] I wonder how many different real fighting styles there are in this movie. Also, will someone PLEASE get that cat out of the recording booth.
[58:10] The top comes off. It's serious now.
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is the GOOFIEST look I have ever seen in my LIFE. HA!
[59:40] Low blow! Come on ref! Cheap shot! Huh. Evil guy looks worried now. Every guy in the place is probably worried after that. "Holy crap, crazy American goes for the balls! Like hell I wanna fight that guy!"
[1:01:45] Second goofiest look I've ever seen in my life.
[1:02:20] Oops. You've made him mad now. Pray that your death is swift and merciful.
[1:05:00] Wait, is this the obligatory "stop the plot and the action, so that the hero can have a reflective moment?" I hate it when movies do that. I take it back, this thing is paced horribly! I want a refund! Stupid 80s ballads.
[1:07:30] Oh no! It's the B-Plot!
[1:08:45] That would never work. Physics do not work that way.
[1:09:30] Random bribery always works. And it's funny to boot! Hahahahaha...ha...ha.
[1:12:05] I... KICK YOU! And I KICK YOU! And I KICK YOU! ...You'd think the guy would have, like, blocked, or dodged, or done something besides just continue to take it.
[1:13:50] "Did I mention I'm EVIL?!?!?!?! Subtlety's for losers."
[1:15:00] Oooo, burn. That's gotta hurt the ol' pride.
[1:16:30] More evil, and they're both stripping down to just shorts. Oh yeah, it's on like Donkey Kong!
[1:17:30] I never mentioned it, but I'm pretty sure almost everyone but JCVD is dubbed, and a couple of the English actors.
[1:19:00] GRATUITOUS SLOW MOTION! More silly facial expressions! Evil abounds!
[1:21:34] I was going to say "This is a long fight." But I'm sure without the gratuitous slow-mo it'd be a lot faster.
[1:22:00] NEW SILLIEST FACIAL EXPRESSION EVER!!!
[1:24:30] "Dur... wha...Table for 1!"
[1:25:00] Even with the slow-mo, this is a pretty long 1v1 fight.
[1:27:50] And the credits roll. What was the point of the B-Plot? I dunno. Padding, maybe. Closing thoughts: You know, considering this is from 1988, it's still a darn good action movie. The fight choreography is excellent, and the fight effects are top notch. The blood looks suitably bloody, rather than laughable, and so on. The camerawork is also excellent, for the most part. There's a few points where you can tell someone whiffed an attack, though whether that's due to the camera or the person reacting, or the person attacking, I'm not 100% certain, but I'm inclined to blame the angle more than anything. I can't be too hard on them though, because the fights were nearly all cleanly filmed and easy to follow, though the editing may have been a tad excessive at points to emphasize and sell certain hits through angle changes and the gratuitous slow motion previously mentioned. The sound track is laughably 80s, but not hugely intrusive, and the pacing is good for the most part. Honestly, I can see why this movie was JCVD's big break. He sells the fighting, both the giving and receiving ends. At the time, he was young, fairly handsome, and in good shape. No wonder he was in about 20 movies over the next decade. It's too bad they couldn't have all been this good *coughStreetFightercough*
Well, this was a fun experiment for format. Won't be an all the time thing, but maybe once in a while, unless people absolutely hate this.