Lost Picture Show: Bloodsport

daniel cohen kicks-off 2012’s first installment of Lost Picture Show in a ‘Van Damm’ good way …

WARNING: Spoilers Abound …

Release Date: 1988

First Saw It: Can’t quite remember, but I’m pretty sure it was on some grainy copied VHS tape.

What Drew Me To See It: One time I walked in on my older brothers watching it. Before I was dragged out of the room by my mom, one of the martial arts fighters fought like he was a frog, who I then dubbed, ‘the frog guy.’ That desperately wanted to make me see the whole thing.

Starring: Jean Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Bolo Yeung, Forest Whitaker, Roy Chiao

They Were Also In: Donald Gibb plays the beer drinking American fighter Ray Jackson. Gibb was also Ogre in Revenge Of The Nerds 1, 2, and 4. What the hell happened to 3?

Van Damme’s Preparation: Bloodsport is actually based on a real person, Frank Dux, a famous martial artist. The real Dux also served as Fighting Coordinator for the film, and even claimed Van Damme wasn’t in good enough shape to portray him … wow. Van Damme was put through an intense three month training regiment, where Van Damme claimed it was ‘the hardest training of his life.’

Director: Newt Arnold (worked as assistant director on such films as The Godfather: Part II, The Towering Inferno, The Jerk, Blade Runner, The Abyss and The Last Action Hero)

The Best Performance: I’m not going to sit here and say this movie has top notch acting, but I got to give it to Bolo Yeung as the antagonist, Chong Li. The best comparison to this guy would be Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Chong Li doesn’t F around. He barely has any lines, but his intimidating looks will make most poop their pants. His scariest moment is right after he kills a guy in the semi-finals of the Kumite, the no rules/no holds barred martial arts tournament this film centers around. Everyone stands up in a moment of contemplative silence, and during the silence, Chong Li points at Frank Dux and shouts, ‘You are next.’ Wow, what an asshole.

The Supporting Scene Stealer: Every time Van Damme fights is great, but I love Gibb’s first match. He fights this quick little guy who smacks him across the face, which causes Ray Jackson to bleed a little bit. Jackson looks irritated, grabs the guy’s forehead, and just smashes down with his fist. The guy immediately falls unconscious, as blood spews everywhere. I love this movie.

The Moment to Remember: There are so many bad ass scenes, but I’m going with the very end of the final match between Frank Dux and Chong Li. There are three ways to win in the Kumite: Knock the guy out, throw him off the mat, or make him say ‘matay,’ otherwise known as ‘mercy.’ Until the end, you see the other two ways, but when Chong Li says ‘matay,’ it’s really a shock, as he’s been this relentless fighting machine through out the entire movie. It’s a great way to end this fight, which the entire film had been building towards.

The Memorable Quote: ‘You break my record, now I break you, like I break your friend.’ — Chong Li to Frank Dux right before they fight

The Groan Moment: The love-fest between Dux and Ray Jackson at the end in the hospital room is a little much. They hold each other’s hands, and then this beer drinking tough guy suddenly pops out with:

Jackson: Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, if you ever need me, I’ll be there.

Dux: I love you, my friend.

And then Dux kisses him on the side of the head, and Jackson replies, ‘Me, too.’

It’s really awkward, and plus, they had just met for the first time like three days ago. Geez, get a room, guys.

Why I Can’t Stop Watching It: If I had to rank the level of bad ass in this film out of 10, I would give it 25. This is how they should make a Street Fighter movie. If you like martial arts or just films where people fight a lot, you need to see this. The replay value is ridiculous. I’ve seen Bloodsport so many fricking times. The music is also epic. It’s cheesy, it’s over the top, but I don’t care. It’s in my top 25 films of all time. Bloodsport is pure joy.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I’m just wondering which voices were dubbed in this movie. It sounded like the commanding officer at the beginning of the movie had a voice over, and the kids who broke into Tanaka’s house

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