“Bloodsport” is the martial arts film that marked the debut of Jean-Claude Van Damme. It is a “classic” in the sense that it has gained a cult following… but lacks the quality that you expect when you hear the term “classic.” I suppose that you have to accept it for what it is, but the acting is just so bad. The delivery of the dialogue is so unnatural that it almost feels like a foreign film that has been dubbed in English. The slow-motion guttural sounds during the fights are unintentionally comical, not to mention the ridiculous look on Van Damme’s face. In true 80’s fashion, the film is complete with no less than two training sequences accompanied by cheesy synth music. The fighting is well down, particularly the epic final fight with all of those flying helicopter kicks, but you have to survive the plodding story and horrible acting to get to it. The only redeeming quality of this story was its basis on a true story, but even that turned out to be false following the film's release. I liked Don Gibb’s character, but that was mostly because he typifies that overacted, macho character that manages to be lovable. If nothing else, this film makes me appreciate where Forest Whitaker began and where he ended up. If you’ve exhausted the martial arts film market, you might give “Bloodsport” a try, but there are infinitely better martial arts films out there that I’d rather watch a second or third time before sitting through this.
[Pictured: Be prepared to see this facial expression at least two-dozen times]