#46: Bloodsport — dir. Newt Arnold
A Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme film was ending up on this list, bar none. My father, my brother and I would watch these all the time. My father studied aikido, so he was always a fan of the early Seagal. Before he went all manatee — both spiritually and physically. Early Seagal is fucking amazing. Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice, and Under Siege. Ridiculously fun, bad ass films where he’s basically spending the entire time just flipping people over tables and beating the unmerciful fuck out of them.
Then there’s JCVD. I get the early flicks mixed because he spends the entire time doing the splits across the floor and fighting either of the Qissi brothers or Bolo Yeung. Bolo Yeung is Chong Li, not to be confused with Tong Po of the Kickboxer fame. What? Exactly. JCVD would get the goddamn hell booted out of him and Seagal rarely got touched. That’s why I prefer JCVD. I like my heroes roughed up.
Bloodsport is probably, assuredly bullshit. Frank Dux was proven endlessly to be an exaggerator on a massive scale. That’s me being nice. But it’s a great story. The Kumate was the world’s greatest fighters coming together to whoop each others asses in a battle royale. And Dux, an American, supposedly won it. So JCVD plays Dux. And Donald Gibb, Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds, plays his best friend who gets beat up and then Dux has to go and hit two home runs in the big game so he can live again. It doesn’t matter. It’s just the over blown slow motion full split kicks and fighting blind at the end that make this winner.
And Newt Arnold directed. While not much on his resume as a director, he was involved with some of the greatest films of all time. Not the ones on my list mind you, but the ones that sane people qualify as the greatest. IMDb him. You’ll see.