Chris embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery that spans the globe. Kidnapped and enslaved by gun smugglers, sold by pirates and thrust into the murky underworld of gambling and kickboxing,... See full summary »
Chris embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery that spans the globe. Kidnapped and enslaved by gun smugglers, sold by pirates and thrust into the murky underworld of gambling and kickboxing, Chris' journey takes him to forbidding Muay Thai Island where deadly martial arts are taught, the colonial splendor of British East Asia, the dank back alleys of Bangkok, desolate deserts once trod by the warriors of Genghis Khan and finally, the ancient Lost City. There he must face the ultimate test of his manhood in the fabled Ghang-gheng, the ancient winner-take-all competition in which the deadliest fighters from around the world employ the most spectacular feats of martial arts skills ever displayed in order to win the prized Golden Dragon. But fighting prowess alone will not be enough for Chris to triumph over such daunting foes. He must reach deep inside and access all of the determination, strength of character and sense of selfless honor within in order to triumph over this final obstacle... Written by
Tim Kroll <email@example.com>
Just a rerun of Bloodsport that will please Van Damme fans but not really do much for anyone else
While running from the mob after stealing from them, pickpocket and homeless Christopher Dubois hides on a ship in dock. When he wakes the next morning he finds himself in the 'employment' of the ship's crew. He remains their slave until the ship is raided and Dubois rescued by Lord Dobbs, Edgar Dobbs. Dobbs Edgar Dobbs then sells Dubois into slavery on an island where he learns to fight over several years. When the pair run back into one another, Dubois asks Dobbs Edgar Dobbs to buy his freedom and help him gain entry into the secret contest where the grand prize is a solid gold dragon. Getting entry on the back of Maxie Devine's invite, Dubois fights his way through the best in the world while Dobbs Edgar Dobbs casts his twinkling eyes over the golden dragon.
Having just watched Bloodsport again a few weeks ago, I was taken aback by just how similar this and that film were clearly Van Damme's desire to have a hit movie he decided to go back to basics for his first film as director. The film feels like it cost more than Bloodsport, although the period setting takes away a little bit from the rough edge that a martial arts movie should really have. The plot is a bit better and employs some humour (mostly from Dobbs) but this only means it is better than Bloodsport not that it's a great film! All the aspects of Bloodsport are here the fight, the fighter friend, the female journalist love interest, the different fighting styles etc. I think this damaged it a bit for me because I was very aware of how lazy it was just to do the same film all over again.
The writing is mostly poor (the films is narrated in a bar at the start but ends being read from a book) and has few good lines and mostly just a load of halfbaked ideas but chances are you aren't watching for the plot! No, most of us came for the fighting and, in that regard the film is just about worth seeing.
Aside from the lazy national stereotyping, the fighters are mostly good and even the ones given silly styles (oh look he's a snake/monkey/tiger) manage to impress. Van Damme as director focuses on showing us the difficult moves by using slow-mo occasionally but what he forgets to do is inject any of the fights with any real excitement, tension or passion even the last fight seems rather by the numbers in terms of watching it; I observed it rather than got into it! Aside from this he does OK as a first time job but I'm not sure if many of this film's weaknesses didn't come from him as writer/director/star. As star, he goes through his usual stuff and does his moves well he is a poor character (lazily using kids to get him to be a hero sort) but generally all his fans care about is that he fights well and here he does some good moves. Remar has little to do but I quite like him, but both McGee and Gunn just hang around the edges. Thank God then for Roger Moore who plays the whole thing with a twinkle in his eye and appears to be having fun while doing it. Hardly acting so much as just being himself, he evens introduces himself as 'Dobbs, Edgar Dobbs', which I thought was hilarious and, even if the material is weak, he seems to enjoy himself a lot more than I did watching this! The other fighters are OK but few really make an impact (if you know what I mean) and as big as Qissi is, Bolo he ain't!
Overall if I had to pick one of them, I think I'd watch Bloodsport again as it is rougher round the edges and doesn't have the bigger budget pretensions that this film has. The fights lack passion and excitement but are quite fun to watch; just a shame that plotting, dialogue, structure, tone and acting are pretty much average at best. Van Damme photocopied his first American hit hoping that's all he's have to do to have another hit his laziness caught him out with this one; not a really bad all told, but not much cop neither.
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