Bloodfist (1989): Breakdown by Rutledal
It is 3 parts Kickboxer rip-off and 1 part Bloodsport rip-off when a man enters a fighting tournament to find his brother’s killer and avenge his death.
The movie starts of with a fight between two guys where one of the men (apparently) was supposed to drop the fight, but instead ends up winning it. Afterwords he gets killed in an alley by an unseen man. Turns out the man (the dead one) was the brother of our hero, gym owner and retired boxer, Jake Raye. Now Jake has to travel to Manila to claim his brother’s body and find his killer.
While attempting to locate said killer, Jake comes across an elderly Chinese man who offers to train him, a fellow fighter and small time conman literally named Baby. Baby offers him a place to live and his sister Nancy, who becomes Jake’s love interest. So the old Chinese man, who I will be calling Miyagi 2.0 from now, convinces Jake to enter the Red Fist Fighting Tournament and starts training him to become a kickboxer. You’d think this would be easy considering he’s played by real life light heavyweight kickboxing world champion Don “The Dragon” Wilson. And what would you know, one montage and a shitload of mangos later (Miyagi 2.0 has a thing for them), Jake has apparently become a world class kickboxer and is ready to enter the tournament.
From there Jake and Miyagi 2.0 put there plan into action trying to find out who killed Jake’s brother through winning the tournament. A plan which, for the record, makes no sense. Luckily the movie solves this plot hole through a twist ending that makes even less sense and seems to have been thrown in because it had to end some way. This movie is poorly acted and has a C-grade script. Neither of which bothers me, but it also has the one thing no martial arts movie should ever have, poor fight choreography. The punches looks pulled, the kicks clearly miss and it makes the movie an uninteresting watch.
This movie is basically just a showcase for real life martial arts champions to show off their skills, and the cast list includes Rob Kaman, Kris Aguilar and my favourite, an underused Billy Blanks who I had hoped would be this movies Tong Po or Bolo Yeung. But no such luck. The fact that all the fighters used to or at the time did it for a living makes the movie’s poor fight choreography all the more disappointing. Still, it’s a lot darker and grimmer than Kickboxer, and it has it’s moments even if they are far apart. If you like low budget martial arts movies from the late 80s and early 90s, check it out.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Don “The Dragon” Wilson is Jake Raye
Crossing the fact that his lack of a kidney could be fatal if he fights with entering a fighting championship to avenge his brother’s death in a tournament using a martial arts technique he learned only one week prior to entering the contest is pretty badass.
[THE BODY COUNT: 5]
The death count is low, but it doesn’t matter as it is all about the fights. One of the deaths however does occur inside the ring. Out hero Jake only kills one, while his brother’s killer gets two and his late brother one.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
Jake vs. Chin Woo
Like the other fight scenes it’s poorly choreographed, but it’s a little longer than most fights and it features a pretty cool comeback from Jake when he learns the truth about his brother’s killer.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Unlike Kickboxer, there is almost nothing here besides the obvious fact that half the movie consists of shirtless men. Unfortunately this was where a lot of the fun in Kickboxer was located, this one is more borderline grim.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The movie has both a sex scene and a sequence set in a strip joint, where Nancy works, but still manages to keep all her tits rolled in. Also, Baby’s girlfriend gets punched right in the kisser by Chin Woo.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Jake has been wrongly arrested for murder, but with the help of Kwong, Miyagi 2.0, he plans his escape. When a guard opens the cell door Jake knocks him out and is halfway through the door when he realizes he’s forgotten his mango and has to go back after it. What is up with this movie and mangos? Was Don “The Dragon” Wilson a spokesperson for mangos or something?
There is really nothing at all here, nothing, but if I had to go with one it would be one of Mike Raye’s, Jake’s brother, few lines in the movie, as he decides to not throw the fight. A bad decision, but a cool line.
“To hell with the deal! I’ll play it your way.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
It’s about money, and mangos.
[THE CHECKLIST: 07 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[ ] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[ ] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Bloodfist II]
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice