måndag 22 februari 2021

Jiu Jitsu

Martial art films have been a big part of my youth. I used to watch Bruce Lee VHS films back in the 80´s, and i especially watched Jean-Claude Van Damme films. Martial art action films may not have had a lot of plot, but it was the action and the fights that you wanted to see. It did no matter if the plot made no sense at all, as long as there was action, i was pleased. American Ninja with action star Michael Dudikoff was also one of the films i did pick up on VHS, because back in the 80´s you could trust that ninjas would kick some ass. There were 5 films made in this franchise, but i personally feel that they should have stopped after the 4th one. Speaking of American Ninja, let´s move on to the year of 1992 when Cannon Films released the film American Samurai from director Sam Firstenberg ( who directed American Ninja as well ). This is actually my favourite martial art film with action actor David Bradley, that have some impressive figthing scenes. The story basically takes place in Turkey, where a handful of fighters have been chosen to fight in a cage, where the only rule is to survive, no matter if you have to kill the opponent. One of the things i have to mention about American Samurai, is that they actually managed to make each fighter unique, with their own fighting technique. This is also the film where we get to see martial arts actor Mark Dacascos in his first big acting role as Kenjiro Sanga. If you love great fighting scenes, then American Samurai is in my opinion one of the best films from legendary film company Cannon Films. There are still martial art film made, even if the industry of these films have changed. As long as we can support the B movie industry, we can keep getting martial art films released. One of the films that i have been looking forwars to see, is a film called Jiu Jitsu, that combines martial art action and....even an alien. I have Heard about this film for quite some time, but it was not until now when i finally picked up the film on Blu Ray, to see if it is as fun as i was hoping for. Is this the masterpiece we have all been looking for, or is Jiu Jitsu even worse than i expected?

In a jungle of Burma, Jake ( Alain Moussi ) is running away from flying stars. At a cliff he is hit by the stars and flies down in the ocean, and hit his head on a rock, passing out. As he is floating on the ocean, Whylie ( Nicolas Cage ) sees Jake in the water, and he is left in the care of Burmese fishers. They stitch up the cuts Jake sustained, and bring him to a military outpost. No one there really knows who Jake is, as they try and get the truth behind his background. Not even Jake himself knows that he is the chosen one, who needs to fight against an alien, who is looking for the marked one, and will kill anyone who gets in his way.

Imagine if you combined the 1996 action film Solo with Mario Van Peebles, adding a Predator rip off, where martial arts influences do most of the work, and you have Jiu Jitsu served on a plate. This is like going straight back to the 90´s, like you were back inside the VHS store, just looking for a cheesy action film to enjoy. This is one of those films where you don´t have to think, or focus a lot. This is a film made for B movie action lovers, that does not care what´s trending right now, or follow any specific style. And i think this is one of the reasons why i can enjoy a film like this in 2021, because it feels like a throwback to my teenage years. I know that this film have had some really bad reviews, but i got to say that i appreciate the effort that they made with this film, to make it feel like nostalgic trip to my youth. Let´s start with the positive about this film. The cast in this film is actually fun to watch. You have great actors here such as Frank Grillo ( mostly known for his performance in The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year ), Tony Ja ( a real martial arts legend, especially after his cult film Ong Bak: The Muay Thai Warrior ), Rick Yune ( who i remember mostly from the film American Ninja ), Nicolas Cage ( needs no introduction, you know you love all his films ), JuJu Chan ( that you probably recognize from the Netflix film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny ) and Alain Moussi ( who played Kurt Sloane in the latest Kickboxer sequels. I have to be honest and say, that this film manage to become more fun with a cast like this, when the film deals with certain problems. My biggest issues with the film is the alien´s CGI effects face, looks very strange. And i also feel that the plot is pretty weak, that you don´t really care about the background story. On the positive note we do get a lot of fighting, and this is also one of the reasons i had fun watching Jiu Jitsu, even Nicolas Cage fights for a short while ( not often you see him turn into Steven Seagal ). Is this a film for fans of martial arts action? If you can accept a weak plot, badly fun acting, and just focus on the fight scenes, then i think you would want to check this film out, just to get that 90´s nostalgia feeling. Director Dimitri Logothetis is clearly a fan of martial art films from the past, and he brings a certain charm with a film like this. Jiu Jitsu may not offer anything original, but it´s a fun throwback to video violence at the VHS stores, and that´s good enough for me.

Rating: DDD

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