Bloodsport - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bloodsport Reviews

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½ May 21, 2017
One of the top rated martial arts films of its era, filled with 80's cheese and great action scenes
May 18, 2017
Very entertaining martial arts flick that you can overlook parts that aren't so great.
May 6, 2017
Was such a major inspiration for me doing martial arts
½ April 27, 2017
This movie is pretty simple. Not a whole lot of depth to it, but it is still a worthwhile investment of time if you like this genre of movie. Jean-Claude Van Damme is not a great actor, but he shines in films like these. It is a bit cheesy, but that added to the enjoyment. An oldie worth revisiting.
½ March 12, 2017
This is probably one of the only movies I enjoyed as a kid that still enjoy as an adult I enjoy every aspect of this movie from its cheesiness to the fight scenes
March 5, 2017
3/5/2017: A classic 80's martial arts film! By today's standards it could be considered a cheesy B movie though.
September 12, 2016
The 80s feeling allover, climb to the top, and conquer the throne. Hard body, hard fighting, squished out of a real story. Easy entermaint, but its working for what it is.
September 3, 2016
Cornball, but quite entertaining film that tells the "true" story of Frank Dux entering into a violent underground no-hold-barred fight competition. A young Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Dux and is quite good. However, it's the villainous Bolo Yueg who steal the film as the hulking brutal main rival in the competition. I'd completely forgotten that Forest Whitaker had a part in this film, but he is excellent as always and way too good of an actor for this drivel. Still, it's pretty entertaining drivel and features a completely rad 80s score by Paul Hertzog and some wonderfully Eye of the Tiger-like inspirational rock ballads from Stan Bush. Well worth watching for 80s action film fans.
August 5, 2016
For 80's fighting movies you can beat it. All the cliches are there and yes you want him to win in the end. Mortal Kombar and similar games would wouldn't even exist without movies like this.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2016
If you are a fan of martial arts action films then you'll understand why this movie has such a high rating. Van Damme's first starring role was played perfectly. Of course, it probably helped that he was trained by the real Frank Dux (the man he was portraying in the film) for a few months before filming. Great fight choreography and a surprise role for a still young Forest Whitaker. Classic lines as well. This film has a soft spot for many action fans and I am definitely in that group.
February 6, 2016
This is a mostly silly martial arts flick. Considered as one of Van Damme's classics. If you're into martial arts or MA movies, you'll probably enjoy it for what it is. Having done martial arts, a lot of what they do is absurd. For instance, no one blocks in this movie! They just let Van Damme kick them in the face! smh...
January 30, 2016
True story. At times he fought blind as a bat with a touch of inspiration. Impressive for an American.
From 1975 to 1980, Frank W. Dux had 329 matches. He has retired undefeated as the Heavyweight class Kumite champion. He still holds records to this day. Quickest knockout: 32 seconds. Quickest punch in a knockout: 3.2 seconds. Fastest Kick in a knockout: 72 MPH. Total knockouts: 92.
December 27, 2015
Three stars strictly for the entertaining fight scenes.
½ December 15, 2015
Review coming soon...
½ November 28, 2015
Van Damme, enough said.
November 23, 2015
a forgotten childhood favorite
September 15, 2015
I grew up on this! Never gets old! Frank Dux is a machine. So many classic scenes. So many classic lines ("Okay, USA!"). And Chong Li is about the Baddest Mofo that ever lived. Kumite!
September 6, 2015
Possibly my favourite martial arts movie of all time, superb
½ August 24, 2015
its van damne in a martial arts film about a underground hong Kong kick boxing tournament called the kumite. very nice fights I like the guy that became van damnes friend in this movie he was a likeable guy the blonde chick with green eyes. was pretty hot but a rough actress and a pointless character we didn't even see her booty. rip off. any way typical 80s score. pretty poor script. a few pointless scenes that should have been edited out some garbage that goes no where. overall just a decent one watch its enjoyable enough but this film is so lame there is so many other martial arts films to watch don't settle for this lame movie
August 16, 2015
Having always been my favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme action vehicle, it was time to watch Bloodsport and see if it still held up years later.

I was young when I first watched Bloodsport, and I remember thinking it was the greates martial arts movie I had ever seen. It was also the first time I had ever seen a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie who still holds up today as my second favourite action star of all time. But I don't feel that I can say Bloodsport still hits my all time favourites list any more. Of course, this is partially because the gimmicks wear off after watching Bloodsport four times when the film is such a low budget guilty pleasure
Based on the alleged true story of Frank Dux, Bloodsport is not a film which really pretends that it has much of a story. The tale surrounds the Kumite, an illegal underground fighting tournament where there are no holds barred. Any attempts to put plot points in are essentially just action and sports movie tropes passed off as being part of the Frank Dux's alleged life experience. How much of the story is true is ambiguous and finding out the truth is clearly going to be a challenge as many of his claims have been reputed over the years, as well as the fact that the underground nature of the kumite makes it a challenge to look into. Either way, the film makes its statement as a low-budgen 1980's martial arts film more than anything, and with its cheesy script and predictable plot points it certainly adheres to everything one should expect from a movie released under the Cannon Films label. However, the one good thing about the story which stands out is the fact that as a film about the kumite which is about bringing together fighting styles from all over the world, the diverse collection of fighting style depicted in Bloodsport give it a lot of credibility and creativity in the action.
But as anyone can tell you, a $1.5 million martial arts film does not succeed on the credibility of its screenplay. The success of Bloodsport rests solely on the value of its action. Since the action is all about close combat martial arts fights with actors bringing in different styles from all over the world, there is creativity afoot. There are a few moments where the choreography is a little stiff or the editing may have poor continuity, but most of the time there is a lot of of powerfully versatile techniques thrown in there by a strongly dedicated cast. It is all captured with strong cinematography which shows the spectacle of two men fighting from a distance or the power of their techniques up close with editing that puts the occasional spin of slow motion on it all to emphasize their strength. The slow motion can be a little much at times, but it does emphasize some amazing moves which is what really matters. There is plenty of action in the film, and it has an occasional touch of blood to it without being excessive as well as a little deadpan comedy in sporadic moments. The fight scenes in Bloodsport are awesome, and it proves the potential for how much one can do on a low budget when they will push the physical capabilities of martial artists.
The technical values of Bloodsport are pretty good for such a low budget film. The cinematography always manages to capture the Asian landscape of the film very nicely with smooth movements, while the musical score adds a gentle sense of atmosphere to the film in terms of its 80's feeling and Hong Kong location. The musical score in Bloodsport is notable awesome mainly because it has a distinctive song called "Fight to Survive" which plays during the montage scene of the film. Anyone knows that a good 80's sports movie comes with a solid montage song, and the fact that Bloodsport boasts one is awesome.
And though the acting in Bloodsport is certainly not revolutionary, the cast certainly bring their own assets to the experience.
The focus in Bloodsport all rests around the performance of Jean-Claude Van Damme as it is his first leading role in a film, and within few seconds of being on screen, Jean-Claude Van Damme immediately exercises a clear foreshadowing of everything else to come in his performance. He displays a very thick Belgian accent which means he struggles to articulate all his words clearly, and this proves consistent over the course of the film as his charisma is fairly laughable at times. However, more importantly he is seen displaying magnificent fighting skills. His first technique to show off his his amazingly flexible ability to deliver high kicks against a speedball, and this is just the first of many tricks he has up his sleeve. As the film progresses, his talents become all the more clear as he fights with simulated blindness and delivers his iconic helicopter kicks with fighting passion. Bloodsport is also notable for some unintentionally hilarious moments where Frank Dux freaks out as a reaction to being temporarily blinded by a salt pill or when he lands his techniques with firm power and screams as a response. These scenes bring out the most intense facial expressions in Jean-Claude Van Damme, and they are a hilarious touch. Essentially, the story of Frank Dux will forever remain a mystery as its facts and fiction are difficult to discover, but Jean-Claude Van Damme's breakthrough effort as a martial artist on the film clearly pays tribute to the man incredibly well.
It's also nice to see Donald Gibb in Bloodsport since the man has a legacy for playing Frederick W. "The Ogre" Palowaski in the 80's cult classic comedy Revenge of the Nerds, making him an actor distinct of that timeframe. Donald Gibb makes himself a welcome presence in Bloodsport by embodying the goofy American stereotype. He is heavyset, cocky and unable to escape the clutches of his alcoholism. Thanks to this, he is the one character who barely has a serious role in the story even though he does stand to serve as part of the motivation for the protagonist to succeed. His persona is easygoing and funny, lightening the mood of the experience and making it more fun. He also puts a good punch into the fight scenes, even though his techniques are a basic form of drunk boxing more than anything. He packs a good punch when bashing up his enemies and is clearly able to have fun with the role since he shares a friendly chemistry with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Donald Gibb does a great job bringing a lighthearted comic touch to Bloodsport with a distinctively 80's nature about him, and he plays an archetype so heavily in the best sense of the word.
Bolo Yeung is also a nice touch. Though he is given little characterization, he plays antagonist Chong Li very well. Like Jean-Claude Van Damme he has some comic over the top moments when he makes intense facial expressions and whenever he speaks his accent seems to come and go with no consistency, but his performance rests on the solid fighting skills that he brings to the film. Though he is a sadistic character, Chong Li proves to be a very competent and confident martial artist who rarely lets his anger get in the way of his fighting style. Bolo Yeung conveys this through minimal changes in facial expression and a tenacious ability to throw kicks and punches at everyone that steps in his way. His sadism is strong and he really throws a mean punch when called upon to fight. And I'll admit that I will always remember his delivery of the line "You break my record, now I break you. Like I break your friend." as being one of the most notable lines in the film. Bolo Yeung proves to make a solid effort in Bloodsport, particularly when matched up against the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Leah Ayres has nothing to hide behind in Bloodsport because she doesn't fight and she isn't use for sex appeal, and that leaves her with the burden of having to actually act. Unfortunately, she is not up to the challenge. Rooted in a thoroughly generic archetype, Leah Ayres has little to do in the role from the start. But as it is, she is just genuinely not that good as an actress. She is melodramatic and whiny, and the film editing even faults her because during the many scenes where she has to react to something the editing cuts to a second before she is supposed to and so the result is that her acting comes off as delayed. Leah Ayres has no real purpose in Bloodsport since she isn't compelling or charismatic.
There are many other strong fighters taking on supporting roles in Bloodsport as well, and the fact that Michel Qissi is one of them is cool. Also, considering that 1988 was the same year that Forrest Whitaker delivered a breakthrough performance in Bird and that now he holds an Academy Award for Best Actor, it is cool to see him so early on.

So Bloodsport has all the conventional issues of a low-budget 80's martial arts movie, but with strong action choreography and a powerful breakthrough from Jean-Claude Van Damme and his jump kicks, there is a lot of fun to be had.
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