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In the back alleys of Hong Kong the world's finest fighters from a variety of fighting disciplines gather. They meet to fight in the Kumite, where the best of the best meet and where the best overall fighter in the world will prevail. Frank W. Dux (Van Damme) is one such fighter from America. No westerner has ever won the Kumite, but Frank W Dux plans to be the first in 1983.
Frank travels to Hong Kong and meets Jackson another American who is a contestant in the Kumite. Jackson is a big guy of streetstyle fighting that looks more like a biker than anything else. Frank competes with Jackson in a video arcade Karate game which he wins with ease.
Frank also encounters a female reporter eager to find out the location of the Kumite which is a closely guarded secret. An arab Kumite contestant tries to assert control over the reporter but Frank Dux steps in and challenges the arab to a bet. The bet is to determine the fate of the girl. If Frank can remove a coin from the arab's hand before his hand closes then he gets the girl. As Frank says go, the arab believes with a smile that he has won, but as he looks again he finds not only has Frank gotten the coin but he has replaced it with another.
Jackson and Frank arrive at the Kumite final tryouts via their guide. A preliminary test has to be passed before entrance into the Kumite is guaranteed. Frank has to break a stack of bricks which he does with the "death touch" which is a method of attack his teacher's clan is famous for. He breaks the bricks and pieces shoot into the air. The reining Kumite champ taunts Frank with "bricks don't hit back." Jackson, Frank's friend breaks a brick over his head and offers it to the judges stating "this if for you."
Frank rests in his hotel and awaits the beginning of the Kumite. He goes to dinner with the curious female reporter and runs and hides from US Goverment officials that aim to bring Frank back as he is a treasured soldier they don't want to see injured in the Kumite. In one scene Frank is cornered by US goverment agents and stun guns are aimed at him. Jackson rushes the agents and Frank escapes for a run through the cities over floating boats and through food markets before finally escaping.
As the Kumite begins Chun Li the reigning champion whips the crowd into a frenzy just by standing. As he walks he flexes his pecs for effect. In the kumite of bloodsport all fight disciplines meet from the street boxer, to the bear hug wrestler, and even the hopping african warrior. The music guides the movie and really draws you right on into the action.
In the Kumate of Bloodsport you really do "fight to survive." Frank Dux finishes each of his opponents off with artistic facial impressions and grunts. His finishing moves are really quite entertaining. Against one fighter that has him in a bear hug he headbuts him away and then uses his characteristic standing roundhouse kicks and jumping roundhouse kicks to finish him.
Chun Li faces Frank's friend Jackson and puts him in the hospital. Frank plans to honor his friend and his trainer despire what the squeamish female reporter thinks of the kumite. She thinks its a mindless macho display where people get their heads beat in.
In the end Frank Dux( Van Damme) and Chun Li meet in the arena. Chun Li fights to win, Frank Dux fights for honor. The fight is one of the artistry of honor versus the utility of function and action which Chun Li embodies. But of course as always, truly no one can beat "Wham bam Van Damme." This is one of Van Damme's earlier works but without doubt his best.
This is most likely the best martial arts movie set in tournment style ever achieved in the history of cinema. From the musical score to the dramatic movements of the characters this movie really does set itself in a realm beyond all others. The only movie that even remotely approaches the mark of excellence set by this movie for its genre is the first Best of the Best movie. The movie was followed by a few straight to video sequel movies which did not star Van Damme.
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