Announcer: In this corner, standing at approximately 4 inches, a slightly worn, Netflix rented copy of Bloodsport!
Crowd: YAAAAA, WOOOOO! GET EM BLOODSPORT!!!
Announcer: Its challenger, in the opposite corner, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing in at a robust 165 lbs, the sultan of cinema, the king of quip, John Matrix!!!
Crowd: (dead silence)
John Matrix: I dont like where this is going.
Hey, John Matrix here, back for another round with an 80s action classic. My combatant today is the 1988 martial arts classic Bloodsport, another movie I rented way too many times as youth for its graphic violence. Id like to say I created a drinking game for it, but alas, I dont think there is one. Who knows? Maybe we will find one buried in this cinematic masterpiece. Just in case my wingman, tonight is a frosty cold 12 pack of Miller Lite, which, if this diary, goes down hill, could be finished off pretty quickly.
As always, I checked out the special features, and lo n behold, there actually is one, besides language selection and the theatrical trailer. Weve got a cast and crew page, people! Hoping to find small write ups about the main actors, instead its just a listing of their film highlights. Looking at JCVDs(Thats how ill be referring to Van Damme from now on) films from 1987 through 1994, you can see why he was next in line for the position of Dean of Kick Assery. Starting with Bloodsport, he did, Kick Boxer, Lionheart, Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Hard Target, and Timecop. After that his career pulled a lemming, and jumped off a cliff. After Timecop, you had Street Fighter(invisible boat, anyone?), Double Team(Dennis Rodman? Are you kidding me?), Universal Soldier 2( you know the one with Spawn and Goldberg) and the Order. Ouch. JCVD(1987-early 94)=Jordans basketball career, JCVD(late 1994-present) Jordans baseball career. I cant hate on the man because he could still kick my head off, but Im just saying.
JCVDs career since 1995
Also of note for those who dont remember, weve got a Best Actor Oscar winner in the house with Forest Whitaker, who blatantly stole a part tailor made for Bill Duke(you know I had to mention him once right?). And of course, who could forget Ogre from the Revenge of the Nerds as Jackson. Before I ramble on to much, lets get this show on the road.
0:01 This movie was directed by a guy named Newt Arnold? Didnt he own the restaurant on Happy Days?
The director of Bloodsport
0:01 We are introduced to a cavalcade of the fighters, as we see them breaking stuff in slow motion. Amongst the items smashed: blocks of ice, wooden boards placed 7 feet off the ground, and coconuts(wait, what?) oh and some poor guys neck.
0:02 In addition to the training sequences, we the see the construction of the fighting arena. Its kind of like an episode of Extreme Home Makeover except instead of building wheelchair ramps for a needy family, their building grandstands and a raised stage where men attempt to kill one another. I keep waiting for some guy to yell -Move that Bus!.
This man did not help build the Bloodsport Arena
0:03 JCVDs character, Frank Dux, is a member of the US armed forces. Apparently after WWII we stole every bad ass action star from Europe and put them in our army. Thats probably why they hate us.
0:05 Flashback time! As a child, Dux tried to steal a sword from the only known Japanese Brawny man, seriously this guys rocking an awesome red flannel shirt and the thickest, bushiest mustache this side of Studio 54. Brawny proceeds to train him, because I know if I found a robber in my house, the one thing I would want to do is train him to kill a man with his bare hands.
Frank Dux sensei
0:08 At the school Dux attended as a child, there is a kid rocking a Bartles and James shirt. Add that to the list of clothes from 80s action movies I desperately want.
0:10 Brawny spends the next two minutes, destroying Dux, and putting him on his back more often then Ron Jeremys film partner.
Or maybe this was his sensei
0:13 Also part of Dux training, being beaten with a stick, and being pulled apart using ropes and trees, also serving lunch blindfolded before your sensei attempts to bitch slap you, and yet we never see Dux real father again, go figure.
0:17 Hey, just thought of drinking game, take a shot every time you cant understand what Frank Dux is saying. I just tried it for the last 5 minutes and proceeded to dance around naked like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. I think we have a winner.
0:18 The leading lady of the film, Leah Ayres, shows up asking around about the Kumite(the tournament). Immediately after this film she borrowed a plane and flew into the Bermuda Triangle never to be seen again. Although I think one of the chicks from Motley Crues Girls, Girls, Girls video scalped her and took her hair before she left.
The last known location of Ms. Leah Ayres
0:19 Dux and Jackson bond over a friendly game of Karate Champ. The way these two interact shows the director missed a golden opportunity for a sequel where they open a detective agency and solve mysteries kung-fu style.
0:20 Just tried turning on the subtitles for Frank Dux talking and it looked like this: Breasafah wodldsda Grafgdg. Followed by smoke pouring out of my DVD player.
This family tried watching Bloodsport in its entirety with the subtitles on
0:24 Either Jackson and Dux are walking down the back alleys of Hong Kong or they stumbled onto the set of Judgment Night. Im not saying the scenery is depressing, but Im really regretting drinking right now.
0:26 Good thing they had a pile of bricks set up already, which Dux precedes to smash with his fist breaking the bottom one. One of the scenes me and my friend would rewind endlessly on his parents VCR(remember those?)
0:29 For a secret underground death tournament, everybody knows about the Kumite. Less people knew about the twist ending for Sixth Sense before watching it, then know about the Kumite.
I see roundhouse kicks, a lot of them
0:33 Another drinking game idea. Take a shot anytime JCVD bends his legs in a way that makes you wince and double over in pain. After what he did with those two chairs, Im finishing my beer.
There are somethings the human eye cannot unsee
0:34 The opening ceremonies of the Kumite are just like the Olympics, except less torchbearers and singing, but with more asian guys in white t-shirts tucked into buckled black pants.
0:35 How would Batman do in the Kumite? Youre right he would absolutely dominate.
Winner of the Kumite, 1981-present
0:37 Yes! Jacksons first fight. After the Russian ballerina hes fighting, punches him a few times, he drops the hammer, breaking the guys face. Great Move. Then proceeds to call out the heavy favorite and reigning champ Chong Li(played exquisitely by Bolo Yeung*) for no apparent reason. A Bad move up there with signing on for 2 of the Revenge of the Nerds sequels.
There are some fates worse then death
*Speaking of Bolo, he was 50 when this movie came out. 50! I hope to still be able to keep my license at that age, and he s playing a villain in a 80s action movie staple. Im going to put a skirt on now and save myelf the trouble.
0:39 Yes! Chong Lis first fight! If this is March Madness, Chong Li is Kansas and his opponent is the winner of the play in game. Oh, and he breaks the guys neck, setting a new Kumite speed record in the process, oops.
0:41 Yes! Dux first fight. Id use an exclamation point but its a pretty crappy fight, with the guy giving up after a few rather weak punches, Oh, and he breaks Chongs record that was set two minutes ago. Jackson celebrates like the proud parent of the last kid on the bench of a little league team who finally gets his first hit of the season. Five bucks says he takes Dux out for pizza after the fight. Chong is just getting pissed off at all of this, and I cant really blame him.
0:42 Probably the best few minutes of the movie as we see snippets of all the different fighters and their finishing moves layered with this awesome 80s song that uses the proverbial drum machine. Actual first lines of the song:
*My bodys ready, my hearts on fire! Gonna push it over the wire! Perfect timing, the time has come! The final battle is already won!*
0:42 Remember the guy breaking coconuts? Well he is fighting and his method is to roll around like Sonic the Hedgehog and kick his opponents legs. If anyone played Tekken 3 and was pissed off at their one friend who would pick Eddie Gordo and just mash the buttons for a cheap win, now you know how coconuts opponent feels.
F*ckin Eddie Gordo. I hate you!
0:46 Whoever wrote the lyrics to the songs for this film needs to be put on trial like the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. The song for the -lets try and have a humorous chase through the streets of Hong Kong by bumbling federal agents- montage made my ears bleed. On top of that, Dux ran like 4 miles and still could barely outrun a 60 year old, and a slightly overweight Forest Whitaker.
0:49 Gratuitous ass shot of JCVD. Did the producers know this was a guy film? I guess not, considering this is the first 80s action film without a boob or nipple in sight.
0:54 I nominate the scene of Chong Li breaking Ross from Friends leg so bad that the bone is sticking out of the shin, for *Scene that still freaks me the hell out even though Im almost 30*. I just watched it through squinted eyes, and Ive seen most of the Faces of Death movies.
Another victim of Chong Li
0:56 Frank Dux next opponent, ladies and gentlemen, Grace Jones! Frank proceeds to kick her out of the ring in about 7 seconds.
0:57 Coconut is finally beaten by a sumo wrestler wearing nothing but a pair of placemats he stole from a Chinese restaurant. The worst part is they dont even completely cover him. If you had the misfortune of sitting on the sides of the fight you probably saw his, uh, egg roll.
0:58 Take a shot if you are playing the *Dux leg stretching is making me uncomfortable* game in fact take one for me, as I wash my eyes with bleach.
0:59 Take another shot, he just did the splits.
1:00 Chong Li vs. Jackson, even the first time I saw this movie, I knew this wasnt going to turn out well. Did I mention Jackson is wearing sweat pants? I think John Goodman was in the running for the Jackson character. Or maybe it was Roseanne.
I cant believe I lost a movie role to Ogre
1:02 Chong sends Jackson to the hospital. On an unrelated note, Ive had enough to drink where Leah Ayres character is scary hot right now. Please, some one cut me off before I go on eBay and start buying things I dont need.
1:05 Another awful song, plus JCVD is wearing more blush than a cadaver at a wake.
1:06 Take three shots, the song is still going and hes doing the splits again, on the top of a building.
1:08 Taking the cake for worst decision of the movie: The police chief that sends his underlings one at a time to apprehend Dux. You know, the guy that set the Kumite speed record. Did I mention Dux uses a trashcan lid to deflect a set of taser wires?
1:10 Further evidence that they need to increase the security at the Kumite, in addition to the reporter in the audience, theyve now let in two US federal agents. The Chuck E. Cheese down the street from me is harder to get into.
Site of the 2010 Kumite
1:15 Chong Li utters his first lines of the film *You are next* in clear precise English, yet JCVD mumbles and bumbles throughout the entire movie, take a shot for awful directing.
1:15 The final match. Dux vs. Chong Li. Leading to the second greatest line of the movie.
Chong Li: You break my record, now I break you, like I break your friend.
Three seconds into the fight they have both used the ref for their own gain. Man, the Kumite needs to reexamine its rules.
1:20 Li throws blinding dust into Dux eyes, stealing Mr. Fuji s move. To counter Dux should bring in a bag of pythons like Jake the Snake. Its only fair. And how did the ref not see that? The cloud from the dust only hung in the air for five minutes.
1:23 With the amount of beer I just drank, I think Dux could pass an eye test before I could at this point.
1:24 With that last roundhouse kick, Bloodsport just set the record for most blood capsules used to simulate broken jaws in an 80s film.
1:26 After the win, Dux visits Jackson in the hospital one last time leading to the greatest buddy dialogue of the film, possibly in film history said between Dux and Jackson after Dux gives him back his bandanna that Li had taken.
Jackson: Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, if you ever need me, Ill be there.
Dux: I love you my friend.
Dux kisses his cheek.
Jackson: Me too.
Chills, seriously. Fucking chills. This quote should be a staple for every best man speech. There should be a penalty of 2 years in jail if you dont say it. After some of the few lame parts of this movie(see the choice of lyrics) they end the film on a -men still tough as shit, but willing to show emotions which makes them even more badass- moment, that any red blooded man wants to call their best friend right now.
I believe Frank Dux and Ray Jackson said it best..
1:27 Dux leaves on the plane with the agents as they roll Dux s true to life Kumite stats. He went 329-0. You heard me 329 damn matches without a loss between 1975 and 80 when he retired. He also had 56 consecutive knockouts in a single tournament. One tournament! He also founded the first American Ninjitsu System! How is there not a national Frank Dux Day! Screw that Chuck Norris can kill everything crap, Dux would take him to the woodshed(Sorry Im getting out of hand but those numbers speak for themselves). On a sour note they tarnish the stats by playing that song from the fighting montage of the 42 minute mark. Way to go Newt.
Of course, after I wrote the above paragraph, I checked his wiki page(I know, not the most reliable source) and it basically said all of his records and even fighting in the Kumite could have been bullshit, but I choose to believe its true. Even though he co-wrote the film and helped choreograph the fights. I guess if I was making a movie about myself fighting in a secret death tournament Id fudge the stats too.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the third diary in my series, and If you havent read the Commando Diary, and/or Predator Diary, please enjoy. Im also looking for suggestions for the fourth diary. Id prefer an action movie but Im open to anything enjoyable from the 80s, Id even go 70s or 90s if the movie works. Any ideas, throw em in the comments box. Thanks again for reading.