Bloodsport II – The Next Kumite (1996, USA)

Bloodsport II - Daniel Bernhardt as Alex Cardo

Sheriff Joe Arpaio achieved way too much notoriety by requiring his prisoners to wear pink underwear. Why, then, is the boss of this Thai jail, in which prisoners are all dressed in pink, not seen to out-tough America’s Toughest Sheriff? I suppose it could be just that one red sock got missed in the wash.   

Alex Cardo (Daniel Bernhardt) is an unpleasant hood, a sharp dresser, a very good fighter, and a sloppy thief. He arrogantly walks out of a house with an ancient ceremonial sword tucked under his arm, and pretty much straight into the aforementioned Thai jail. He’s targeted and beaten by guards and prisoners alike because (a) he’s new, (b) he seems not to be Asian, (c) he sticks up for himself, (d) he sticks up for others, (e) he embarrasses the prison’s king-pin by showing up his henchmen as inferior fighters, and (f) he upsets the rivalrous head guard, Demon (Ong Soo Han) by being a superior fighter to the king-pin’s henchmen.

Battered and bruised, he is taken under the wing of Sun (James Hong), a wise old martial arts expert, who has perfected the supernatural technique ‘iron hand’. Sun coaches Alex in the art of iron handing and the art of being a better person. Gee, I can hear you saying, that hasn’t been done before. Alex is mysteriously released from prison and sets out to recover the sword, which is to be presented to the winner of the prestigious, by-invitation-only underground martial arts competition, the kumite. But not before he promises Sun that he’ll get him out of jail and importantly, now that he’s no longer a cad, he knows what a promise means.

Alex manages to secure an invitation to the kumite. There follows lots of fighting. Lots. Fights between friends, enemies, good guys, bad guys, a token woman and a token man who thinks he’s a monkey. The baddest of the bad guys is Demon and the goodest of the good guys is Alex. They revive their hostility from the jail. Demon is not averse to killing his adversaries in and out of the ring. Alex has the iron hand. Who could possibly win?

Unless you like spending hours playing Mortal Kombat, or watch these films for the homoeroticism of sweaty, buff bodies, you are likely to find this is a vapid, vacuous, waste of time. The fights are mostly poorly choreographed, Bernhardt is unlikeable, the romantic interlude has the chemistry of a piece of wood, and the prison scenes entirely lack creativity or novelty. Other than the pink prison uniforms, that is.

Bloodsport II #2 - James Hong as Sun Bloodsport II #3 - Ong Soo Han as Demon

Posted on May 12th, 2012 at 9:27 pm. Updated on May 12th, 2012 at 9:27 pm.

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