Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|09.10.14||Netflix|| So a documentary on Cannon Films is playing at this year's Fantastic Fest and one of the questions on the Fantastic Feud survey is What's your Favorite Cannon film. I had to look up a list because I'm not as hardcore as I guess I should be and as soon as I realized/remembered that Bloodsport was a Cannon release I had my answer. I, as I would imagine 98$ of the other 10 year old boys in 1988, absolutely loved this movie. It's really shameful to say but THIS is my Enter the Dragon. When I finally saw Enter the Dragon I was kind of disappointed by it, yet THIS movie for whatever reason sits in the pantheon of my childhood loves.|
Well, I haven't seen it in perhaps two decades so I thought it was time to give it a revisit.
Holy shit. It all makes so much sense now. I kind of had this thought that a lot of the schlocky exploitation stuff that I've enjoyed so much since moving here was because Austin itself celebrates it so fervently. Tastemakers like Lars and Zack and Tim league embrace and champion the obscure, goofy, and bizarre and freely take all willing viewers with them... I mean I know I haven't seen as many 70s movies as Lars or 80s movies as Zack so I stay open to new things and have enjoyed a lot of what they've shown me over the years... but when I watch this movie for the first time in so many years I realize it wasn't all them. it was ME too.
Bloodsport has every ridiculous over the top 80s barf-fest of ninja sweat and flying jumpkicks as anything I've seen at the Alamo. It is such a prototypical exhibit of nonsensical martial arts... you couldn't make a funnier joke of the times if you tried. The fifteen minute flashback that's also a training montage that OPENS the film, the arbitrary romance between two people who can't even begin to act, the sweeping slow motion shots of punches and kicks that don't really connect, the pulsing synth-rock soundtrack... everything! The only thing is... when I was a kid... I didn't realize it was so ridiculous! It's not until now that I see... these sensibilities that make up my taste in film come not from Lars and Zack but from my own formative hours spent perusing the VHS racks of the mom-and-pop video store and repeat viewings of shit like this.
Can you believe that JVCD made a career out of this movie? A whole career out of doing the splits.
Yet... a not unsubstantial part of me still thinks this movie is really fucking cool. The whole concept of a secret underground fighting tournament... years before Mortal Kombat and UFC and everything else... Each competitor had his different style... the Muay Thai guy going up against the sumo dude against the monkey dude from Africa and the sheer brutality of Chong Li... Plus there's Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds! And Forest Whitaker..? holding an ancient stun gun???
Did I mention how terrible JCVD is in this? I mean he can he barely speak.
Whatever. It worked then, it sort of works now in a different way. I'm really glad I gave this another watch. It makes me feel good about what kind of shit I loved as a kid.