Youtube Film Club: Bloodsport 3 (1996)

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“Bloodsport 2” was one of the most ludicrously entertaining films I’d seen in ages – almost pure fights with only enough plot to give those fights a bit of spice. It seems all the plot they cut out of that one found its way into “Bloodsport 3”, which is a much more traditional and much slower “man needs help – goes to mystical guru – defeats enemy” movie.

Perhaps to excuse the plot’s oddities, both this and part 2 are framed as stories being told to children after the fact, although this one is being told by Alex (Daniel Bernhardt) himself. Okay, it’s not like we were relying on a lot of “will Alex win or won’t he?” tension to drive the movie along, but still. Alex’s 12-ish-year-old son is getting into trouble at school, so he tells him about that time, years after he was Kumite champion, when he became an art dealer / gambler and got involved with Jacques Duvalier and his beautiful daughter Crystal.

John Rhys Davies! We’re long time fans of his here at ISCFC, my personal favourite of course being “Sliders” – this would have been filmed right at the same time. He’s great, of course, and plays a fine villain – he’s imported a Kazakh war criminal called The Beast and is arranging a new Kumite, which unlike the last two, which were all about honour (no prizes other than an old sword), is all about cash. He wants Alex to compete, then take a dive after everyone’s bet on him, and to show just how serious he is he kills Master Sun (James Hong), his old teacher from part 2. Alex still says no so Jacques decides to run it normally, but tries to stop Alex from getting in. Want to guess if he’s successful?

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After a quick visit to Pat Morita, the other old friendly Asian guy from part 2, he’s off into the wilderness of (UNNAMED FAR EASTERN COUNTRY) to get help from Sun’s brother, who’s also a martial arts guru. One might ask why he needs further training, what with being the utterly dominant current Kumite champion, but one would not be answered by this movie. He learns to catch an arrow, I suppose, although it’s a skill which he never needs again.

Anyway, you know the drill. Morita and Hong were clearly not interested in returning for part 3 but were persuaded to do a few hours of shooting each – they use a bunch of clever angles to disguise that Alex is never in the same shot as either of them (Hong also looks about 20 years younger in his death scene than he does in the flash-forwards in part 2, which indicates some hurried filming or editing).

Bad guy’s daughter Crystal, a stunningly beautiful but terribly underdeveloped character, sings at one point and…well, I presume she was related to one of the producers, because there is no way on Earth she got to sing based on merit. Ye gods! Part 2, for all its fighting, managed to give the other fighters a bit of personality – this just doesn’t bother – although one of the fighters brings a whip to a fight, so if weapons are apparently fine, why not just bring a gun or a chainsaw or something? The fight choreographer was a fan of pro wrestling, I guess, because The Beast (who’s made to look a lot bigger than he actually is by only being seen in shot with tiny guys) does a suplex and an elbow drop in the final fight, and one of the other competitors is using pro wrestling as his main fighting style. It’s a rare moment of fun in what is a pretty joyless film.

Okay, he's maybe got a few inches on them

Okay, he’s maybe got a few inches on them

What’s curious is this is from the same director as part 2. The budget must have been substantially smaller (part 2 was a cinema movie, this was straight to video) but it doesn’t explain how the sense of fun and excitement is completely gone. I was sort of expecting a twist at the end, or a final kink on Alex’s way to victory, but it never came. It feels three-quarters finished.

I shall leave you with one final thought. While telling the story to the kid in the “future”, Alex looks exactly the same age as he did in part 3. It was years between parts 2 and 3 as well, so did he have the kid offscreen between the two movies? Did he retire from the Kumite a second time and go and immediately impregnate someone? Does his kid have that sad illness where he ages quickly? Or did he just kidnap a child from somewhere?

Rating: thumbs down

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One thought on “Youtube Film Club: Bloodsport 3 (1996)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Martial Arts franchises |

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