Reviewed by: ewaffle
Bloodfight begins with shots of some very large men arriving in Hong Konga Sumo wrestlers who is almost too large to fit into a rickshaw, a southern Asian looking guy who is so tall he almost as to bend double to get into a cab. It ends with a very brutal and credibly staged battle between two evenly matched opponents. The big guys are on their way to the 1989 World Championship of Free Fighting. Much of what happens between these events is told in flashback although that isnt made very clear. Structurally Bloodfight is a mess with what should be a very straightforward plot that loses its narrative focus several times. Since one cant summarize it while also avoiding a huge spoiler right in the middle of things I wont try.
Reviewer Score: 3
Bloodfight was shot in synchronized sound with all (or most) of the actors speaking English so much of the dialog is very choppy and direct with little nuance or shading of meaning. Simon Yam and Yasuki Kurata fare well enoughacting in a language other than ones own can be quite difficult. Cristina Lawson seems to be speaking the language she learned as a child which is quite an advantage although it didnt help John Ladaski much.
The Free Fighting tournament pits contestants from across eastern and southern Asia with each practicing his national or regional style of unarmed combat. Bolo Yeung playing the current champion is introduced as Vietnam born Chong Lee for example. One would not want to finish in second placewhile the losers of early rounds might be humiliated or badly injured, the ultimate winner is allowed to kill his defeated opponent without penalty from either the civil authorities or the sanctioning body. Bolo Yeung is the very bad guy here and his physique gives him away. He is a muscle bound monster, the opposite of the rapier like slender menace of Bruce Lee or Yeun Biao.
There is one unintentionally hilarious scene early in the film, a scene that should set the stage for further development. Kai Masahiko is watching a tape of one of his Free Fighting successes when his wife, played by the lovely Meg Lam Kin-Ming enters the room, her hair down and clad only in a mans (presumably Kais) pajama top. She is upset and make it clear that she is sick of her husband obsessing over old fights while she awaits him in the marital bed. We know this has been going on for a while since she has a half full bottle of whiskey that she is working pretty hard on finishing. The scene was shot almost without dialognot sure if Kurata Yasuaki had any lines at alland from odd, almost expressionist anglesfor example a close up of Yasuakis head filling most of the screen with Meg Lam and her bottle stuck in the far background. It is just a very strange interlude that makes no sense until later in the movie and is, unfortunately, not the only instance of incomprehensible bits being introduced and then explained later on.