Bloodsport 4: The Dark Kumite
Bloodsport 4: The Final Chapter
|Written By:||George Saunders|
|Produced By:||Alan Mehrez|
|Directed By:||Elvis Restiano|
|Available Formats:||VHS (PAL & NTSC), DVD (Regions 1 & 2)|
"Undercover On Death Row... The Final Contest is About to Begin."
"The Ultimate Showdown In Martial Arts and Kickboxing!"
I feel so sorry for Daniel. This has to be one of the most bizarrely directed, embarrassing, poorly-written, drug-induced, amateur-choreographed, campy, pathetically-produced movies I have ever seen in my entire life. Just what in the hell was going on here?
First things first, ignore the number '4' on the title of this movie, this has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the series whatsoever. Daniel is once again our hero, but no longer as Alex Cardo, no, instead he's now the mighty John Keller! Now, poor John lives in a nightmare parallel universe, one where periods in history and Eastern Europe collide with modern America in a crazy drug-trip known as Bloodsport 4! Intrigued? I thought you might be... read on!
Ok, before I unleash the fury on this film, I'll just tell you what's going on. Firstly a crazy psycho named Schrek (Stefanos Miltsakakis) has escaped from death-row and is out doing his nasty deeds again - with Keller swiftly back on the case. When the two confront each other, Schrek kills a girl right in front of John, just before he is finally detained. Enraged that the girl was killed and he could have saved her life had he taken the shot, Keller wallows in sorrow with his partner Blaire (played by the stunning Lisa Stothard... who's since become Daniel's girlfriend and mother to his child).
The police then discover that a death-certificate had been written for Schrek even though he's quite clearly alive, leading to the discovery that numerous prisoners in maximum security prisons had been executed yet there's no trace of any bodies. In order to discover what's going on, Keller and the police stage the killings of two officers at John's hands, thereby sending him to prison with Schrek, to see just what's going on in there. Once in prison, Keller learns that the warden and his boss Caesar are holding their own Kumites to the death and they want Keller to fight! And so begins the descent into madness...
As I mentioned before, this movie is clearly set in some kind of quantum parallel universe where locations and time-periods co-exist in one region of space to create what scientists are calling - "What the freakin' hell is going on here?". Set in America in the present day, the locations are quite clearly all based in Eastern Europe... Bulgaria to be precise. Now let me rephrase that - down-town Bulgaria does not look like, in any way, shape or form, America; it's as simple as that. So we have our cobbled city-streets; street blocks built from ancient limestone; mansions that resemble the Kremlin; a prison that looks more like Auschwitz than say, San Quentin; and of course, to top it all off, the referred-to area of "desert" (to quote Blaire) that turns out to be... snow-capped pine forests. Yes!
Ok, so what's all this crazy talk about time-travel and warps in the space-time continuum? Well let's ask the wardrobe department about that one... who seem to have simply raided the closet of the local arts-theatre from down the street and handed out whatever crazy costumes they could find to the cast, completely regardless of their time-frame. The movie is quite clearly set in present day, as solidified by a prisoner who refers to usage of the internet...yet the journalists are still using the classic cliché press flash-cameras from the 50's. Then there's the prisoners who are all dressed like World War II concentration camp victims, whilst the guards are clad in only the finest Gestapo costumes that the low-budget could buy. During the final 'Kumite' (excuse me whilst I take a break to go cry into a tall bottle of whiskey over the shambolic destruction of the Kumite... more on that later), the onlookers are dressed in both renaissance frilly shirts and early-1900's ballroom dresses. Likewise, the guards during this scene proudly sport the latest line in classic Bugsy Malone mafia outfits that'd cause anyone of Italian descent to cry with shame.
Ok, I'm a little vented now, but I must go on. The cast themselves are generally awful - the only one who really shines in this movie is Lisa Stothard, yet unfortunately for her, it appears that half of the time she's simply wrestling with the script to try and make her lines sound at least vaguely intelligent when not even Sir Lawrence Olivier could help this mess of a film. Anyway, she's the star of the show and absolutely gorgeous (Daniel's a lucky man)... and she certainly had me having to adjust my seat during her brief appearance in John's hallucinating sex-scene (even though the scene makes no sense whatsoever)! Wow! Daniel please don't kick my ass for that. Please.
As for Daniel, well he tries his best, but his lines are absolutely awfully-written and no matter how hard he struggles, there's just no bypassing what are simply stupidly-written lines. I hope he roundhouse-kicked the script-writer through the door of his trailer for this! The rest of the cast are just total crap - the warden played by Derek McGrath is one of the hokiest, talentless over-actors I've ever witnessed... when he's not just hanging around camping-up the scene he simply starts yelling like a possessed child until someone quite literally drags him off screen. Dennis Lavelle of Special Forces "fame" plays prison-guard, Files... and he's just as dreadful as the rest of them.
Oh but there's one person I've forgotten... Caesar, played by Ivan Ivanov... so awful they named him twice. Now, I just have to ask what the hell they were thinking when they wrote this character - he hams up every single line (although I guess he's probably dubbed) and he helps make the whole movie more camp than the warden modeling silk lingerie and lollipops. Each scene involving Caesar is lit with cheap neon lighting, resulting in a 60's exploitation-film quality to his every on-screen appearance. Meanwhile, he resides in the aforementioned Kremlin-mansion where he seemingly employs Playboy bunnies to lie on his staircase all day. Whenever guests come over, the girls are always ready & waiting in another un-erotic stair-case arrangement. I wonder how one would even get enrolled in such a job... anyway, he's not so much a super-villain, just basically Gene Simmons; just without the make-up, and the fire-breathing, and the platform boots, and the sword... and he probably doesn't play bass in Kiss.
Hell what does this guy even do for a career? He doesn't seem to have a day-job, yet if he's the eccentric boss of an organized crime syndicate then I failed to notice any actual method of profit whatsoever from his schemes... however, regardless of his lack of any visible income, he still owns a Kremlin; commands legions of generic goons in silly costumes; holds lavish villainous parties for his lavish villainous friends, has complete control over the local prison and collects ancient antique weapons (and what self-respecting bad-guy doesn't?). If this isn't enough, he still finds plenty of time to lounge-around ordering girls to drape their pale bodies upon his mystical staircase that he spends all his time hanging out on (doesn't he even have any other rooms?). Interestingly of all - these girls are prepped-up and ready, lying on the staircase for any situation, even for a simple phone call! Seems somewhat redundant to me but I'm sure he feels it's all worth the effort.
Anyway, let's move on from the characters and costumes... this is Bloodsport after all - what are the action scenes like? In a word... pants. In two words... total pants. In three words... I'll stop there. The fight choreographer must have been watching one-too-many episodes of the original series of Star Trek, since every punch & kick visibly misses by a mile, every actor's response to a blow is thoroughly unconvincing and overall makes the Power Rangers look like a gritty street-crime documentary. Even William Shatner would be embarrassed to have been involved in the fight scenes demonstrated in this film!
And so, it takes no effort to imagine that the Kumite, if that's what you want to call it, absolutely stinks when the action is so totally abysmal. It's not so much of a Kumite, as watching a few bodybuilders, Bulgarian stuntmen, a skinny wimp and Daniel Bernhardt fight it out to the death. It hardly makes for thrilling action. I've already explained how bad the fights are and that continues on into the Kumite... combine this with the crummy background setting and stupid costumes and basically you have a total mess. I assume it's meant to be climactic and emotional when Daniel is forced to fight the weakling undercover cop... but it just comes over as stupid. The Kumite is just 100% A-Grade lame!
For some strange reason, scene after scene is blessed with some of the most odd direction I've ever seen, with the only source of reference I can think of is Vanilla Ice's wacky 'Cool As Ice' movie from the early 90's... only without the sunshine, the immature attempts at comedy, the platform-hair, the parachute pants and the sudden explosions into song & dance. Although those ingredients might have actually made this movie more entertaining. The directing is very similar, with rooms spinning, distorted camera angles, bizarre colored lighting, heightened overacting, warped voices and a general drug-induced trip aura to the majority of the proceedings.
And so I must draw to a close. I could rant and bitch and whine and scream about how total pants this movie is all day long... but you'll get bored and never read my site again (plus I'm scared Daniel will hate me)! On the plus side of things, at least Daniel isn't ever going to star in anything worse. So I will say this much - you should actually watch it. Yes, it's absolutely terrible, but it's one of those films that's quite literally an 'experience', one that no, you're not going to enjoy at all, but should be sat through all the same. Its failings are so monumental that it deserves a viewing... at least just to say that you have - and then at least I won't have suffered alone!
By the way - just something to look out for; in the opening scene of the movie, when the camera first focuses on Blaire, there's this really creepy freak just to her left, staring at her right in the face and quite forcefully grabs her hand as she pretends to ignore it... only to never have anything to do with the movie. Disturbing.