In what is quite likely his “breakthrough” role (PREDATOR probably doesn’t count), Jean-Claude van Damme stars as U.S. soldier and martial arts champ Frank Dux (pronounced “Dukes”) in this extremely violent, low-budget, 80s action drama cheeesefest that was inspired by a true story – and went on to become a cult-classic that spawned several sequels.
While serving in the military, martial artist Dux decides to leave and compete in a tournament in Hong Kong so that he can be accepted into the “Kumite,” a highly secret and extremely violent martial-arts competition – where fights to the death can occur. While trying to gain access into the underground world of clandestine fighters, he also has to avoid military officers who consider him to be AWOL. After enduring a difficult training and beginning a romance with journalist Janice Kent (Leah Ayres), Frank is given the opportunity to fight. But can he survive?
“Van Damme was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star, but lost out to Ronald McDonald in MAC AND ME.” (Wikipedia)
“Proudly plotless in a way that other low-budget actioners ought to emulate more often.” (New Times)
BLOODSPORT (Newt Arnold, 1988 / 92 mns / 18A) Frank Dux has entered the “kumite”, an illegal underground martial-arts competition where serious injury and even death are not unknown. Chong Li, a particularly ruthless and vicious fighter is the favorite, but then again Dux has not fought him yet.