Bloodsport (1988) – Jean-Claude Van Damme

This is easily one of Van Damme’s best movies. A masterpiece of a martial arts movie. Great budget, great acting, great story, great entertainment throughout – keeps busy and doesn’t have boring or over-predictable patches like Van Damme’s later straight-to-VHS/DVD style movies did. This movie was clearly made with love. Great soundtracks, ample distinct highly entertaining scenes, great cast. The lead antagonist is played by Bolo Yeung from Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter The Dragon’ as he’s a highly credible martial artist with high talent in real life (this is why he was chosen for a strong role in Bruce Lee’s highest-budget, last-completed movie). Bloodsport could probably get a perfect 10/10 if it had one or two further outstanding actors in it and if its martial value was far more detailed (helping viewers learn a lot more about martial arts techniques & principles while watching). If you’re a fan of martial arts movies, particularly Van Damme’s movies, and haven’t yet seen this one, you really need to catch up with this classic. Easily re-watchable every year or two.

Martial arts wise, it’s heavily themed around martial artists in a tournament. Action wise, it’s not James Bond, but there’s a lot of fist fighting and a bit of running around. Plot wise, it’s quite zeroed in on a simple concept, but stays quite busy works fantastically. Cast wise, there are several strong performances and a few less strong.

This movie was inspired by the alleged real life story of Frank Dux, a martial artist still living & teaching today, although his story now appears to be almost certainly utterly bogus. I guess we can still thank him for his dodgy story having inspired one of the greatest martial arts movies ever made.

Until someone takes it down, you can currently watch the full movie online for free here.