Movie Review: Bloodsport

The Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s first notable contribution to film came with this martial arts fiasco, Bloodsport. Fiasco and its negative connotation belong in that sentence. Bloodsport is like a friend we all have. They’re nice, but they go on tangential stories that hold no connection to the current discussion and the further they get into discussing this oh so important narrative, the less interested we are and the more monotonous it gets.

Bloodsport is a similar animal, a movie all too gracious in parading Van Damme in front of the camera but never granting him access to his character, exploring yet another romantic subplot that has no foothold to stand on and a plot that all in all doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

I am so tired of talking about failed romances in film. It happens over and over and over and you notice how this sentence drags on and on and on with no purpose like an obnoxious teenager who has to write a longer sentence than you to buff his ego or perhaps he just thinks he’s better than you, as if his ability to write a longer sentence makes a difference, but surprise, it doesn’t because all its accomplishing is what every obligatory romantic subplot seems to accomplish these days: a predetermined course on the road map that everyone has already crossed over, transforming what was once an adventure into a mandatory exercise reminding us how boring our lives are.

A rant that it is completely deserving of, Bloodsport’s “romance” leaves me apathetic. It’s not febrile. A more apt description would be toxic or nocuous. It is broomed in like a corny Hollywood staple, riding the coattails like a child being dragged by a parent. It’s a cooperative game of pin the tail on the donkey.

This is the seventh consecutive film I’ve reviewed in which our combatant is underscored. Frank Dux is driven by honor and even that stigma, which is all we are given as to his aspirations or basic mindset, is left in the corner of obscurity. Bloodsport is a film that loves to use the same colors from the palettes of the past, never pursuing any sort of originality or creativity in its strokes. With a stable of bodybuilders at its disposal, the stunt choreography is raw and gritty, but also premeditated and clearly scripted at times, which wipes away any tonal arpeggios the stunt work might have created otherwise. A fighting film is meant to lean on its stunt work and yet it doesn’t surpass the standards set for a run-of-the-mill action film.

If anything, Bloodsport should be a monument to martial arts, an honor to the fighting styles established by the Orient, but it isn’t. Newt Arnold’s piece doesn’t have a big picture. It doesn’t have the details, the supplements or the essence of anything. It just….is.

The dialogue is choppy, leading to further character introductions that come and go, minimal character development and a cache of clichés that can’t help but burst out the seams, the front and the back door.

The only reason to watch this film is for Van Damme. This was the film that got his name out there despite the Golden Raspberry nomination he received for his performance, but I assure you, you’ll live if you choose not to see it.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (DeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellar)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Running Man10 Cloverfield LaneCreedScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseCrimson Peak)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The CrowHardcore HenryBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticePride and Prejudice and ZombiesThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (D-Tox/Eye See YouConstantineRaceEverestHercules)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (War, The Ridiculous 6The Lost BoysZombeaversCrank)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Bloodsport: 41.

A short review for today, but it’ll have to do. A bloated, bumbling moron of a film like Bloodsport doesn’t deserve any better.

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