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In most martial arts movies where a tournament is held, this tournament is part of the third act of the movie, after using the first two acts as set-up with training montages and an occasional love story. Bloodsport basically delves right into the action with some flashbacks on how Frank got his skills. After a quick escape from the military base, he visits his dying mentor and heads off to Hong Kong to participate in the Kumité. Here he befriends Ray Jackson (Donald Gibb), a wrestler, and when you think about it, possible opponent in the Kumité. Basically the rest of the movie consists of well staged martial arts fighters taking each other on, and at the same time creating a villain and end-boss for Van Damme with Chong Li (Bolo Yeung). A vicious fighter known for leaving his opponents disabled or even dead. The tournament is intersected by the exploits of two Army Criminal Investigation Division officers who have the task of taking back Frank to the US for desertion, a plot line that would also be used in Lionheart (a.k.a. Wrong Bet). Do these guys even have jurisdiction in foreign countries?

arnold schwarzenegger, bloodsport, bolo yeung, breakin' 2, bruce lee, dennis rodman, dolph lundgren, donald gibb, double team, dux ryu, electric boogaloo, enter the dragon, forest whitaker, frank dux, jean-claude van damme, joel silver, katana, kumite, leah ayres, muscles from brussels, no retreat no surrender, predator, revenge of the nerds, roy chiao, senzo tanaka, the quest, timecop, universal soldier

The one-two punch of 1988\u2019s Bloodsport and 1989\u2019s Kickboxer made Van Damme a near household name. The same is not true for Paul Hertzog. But the albums he made are his shining moments in soundtrack composition. Either side of those films he worked on a who-cares comedy bungle called My Chauffeur (1986) and another American attempt at tapping into martial arts movies with 1991\u2019s insignificant Breathing Fire. You can find some tracks from the synth-driven scores and they\u2019re fine also. But the music to Kickboxer and Bloodsport is my focus here. And this is the music Hertzog is most proud of; the music he\u2019s known for \u2013 if he\u2019s known at all\u2026

The brilliant Waxwork Records (home to vinyl reissues of a great many cult and classic scores) has announced a brand new edition of the Bloodsport soundtrack. It doesn\u2019t ship out until early January, but I\u2019ve pre-ordered this as my Christmas present to myself. And while the wait continues I am listening to it non-stop via my YouTube account (I\u2019ve had a version of the soundtrack album saved and on repeat across the last year or so) and the new version is available via Spotify too \u2013 for anyone intrigued but not interested in buying the LP.

The Kickboxer score has been on my mind and in my ears also. A lot. Though not quite as much as the Bloodsport soundtrack. It\u2019s cut from a similar cloth, though arguably a refinement.

But that's just his... (cracking up) CIA cover story (clears throat), as we learn about his life in an 11-minute-long flashback/training montage, that Frank wasn't always a hitman ninja who... (cracks up) secretly won the Medal of Honor; he was once an extremely slow boy (shows a young Frank Dux getting the brim of his baseball cap sliced off by Senzo), who got beat up by children (shows a young Frank getting knocked to the mat by Shingo), and was too dumb to know the San Francisco Giants and New York Giants were different teams. (shows a young Frank wearing a San Francisco Giants baseball cap and a New York Giants t-shirt) Go sports! However, under the highly erotic tutelage of the Tanakas (shows Senzo staring intently at Frank as he trains his limbs while strapped to bamboo), he'll transform into a shredded kicking machine to honor his master... or avenge the dude he just met. Whatever; Frank is just here to kick some ribs and bust some nuts. (shows Frank punchin


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