The most randomly selected of all the martial arts franchises comes to an end, sadly. Don Wilson had bowed out of the series after part 8, and the internet seems quiet on explanations as to why they decided to resurrect the name, 9 years after the last movie, to make this. I can say with some confidence that there were no fans, anywhere, that were clamouring for more Bloodfists, but someone realised they had a bunch of stock footage left over so they could knock another one out cheaply, and here we are!
In the future, Los Angeles looks like some sort of apocalypse has hit it. All the big buildings are half-demolished (unless they use an actual shot of the city, of course, in which case all the buildings are fine) and society seems to be crumbling. Kind of. It’s all rather confusing, like they said “hey, let’s make this post-apocalyptic” but couldn’t decide exactly what that meant.
Anyway, Johnny Danko is a fighter in “The Pit”, an underground fight league where death is legal and…no, you’ve not read this summary before, but it certainly feels like it. Anyway, he’s killed in an alleyway after winning the big championship, so his brother Alex has to come to town and become a fighter himself in order to get information. In case you were wondering, this is exactly the same as the plot of the first Bloodfist movie – just substitute the future for the Philippines (where this movie was filmed, non-coincidentally enough) and you’d have the same movie, down to the cast of characters that surround our star. The wacky friend who’s also a fighter, the wacky friend’s hot sister (who was the dead brother’s girlfriend), the trainer, the mysteriously evil top fighter. The sister is a stripper in both movies too, if you’re really demanding. And, in a deep continuity cut, Joe Mari Avellana, the guy who was the trainer in part 1 and the villain in part 2 comes back for a small role as the Pit’s ring announcer / referee. Nice one!
Even though it’s screamingly obvious who the villain is from minute 1, we go through it all anyway, with fights in the pit alternating with fights with random groups of thugs. The thing is, Matt Mullins (Alex) is both a much better actor and a much more exciting screen fighter than Wilson ever was. He does wild flips and big moves and looks great doing them all – that this was his first movie is even more surprising. He’s done some kids shows (and was in the great Mortal Kombat web-series from a few years ago), but he’s not made tons of movies since.
The future setting of this movie is almost entirely irrelevant – they could have set it in the present-day Philippines and no-one would have batted an eyelid. No future technology, no gangs of feral kids, nothing. This might win the award for least future-stuff in a future-set movie, I think.
What’s not irrelevant is boobs. Even the most dedicated lover of female nudity among you will probably be getting tired of it by the end of the movie – as well as female lead Nadia (Beverly Lynne, for whom this is a very rare non-softcore porn role) there’s lots and lots of strippers, some appearing to be stock footage from an earlier “Bloodfist”. The rather confusing editing of the stripping scenes also guarantees they won’t be titilating, though.
It’s yet another fun entry in the series, not too long and enjoyable to watch. But there’s lots of oddities, like it was written by someone who didn’t fully understand earth customs. The brother goes to watch his sister “work” at the local strip club – I mean, he didn’t go with that exact purpose in mind, but he never appears fazed by it. There’s the way the Pit is absolutely covered in adverts for soap and hand sanitizer, and only those things. There’s the relationship that starts between Alex and Nadia, maybe a week after the death of her boyfriend / his brother. Everyone apart from the main cast is Filipino, yet they still pretend it’s set in LA.
Rating: thumbs up
In rather exciting news (for us), Matt Mullins, Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock are going to be appearing in a movie together – “White Tiger”. See the trailer here – http://www.gorillapictures.net/movies.html#/0/4 and keep an eye out for release dates!