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Bloodsport is a 1988 martial arts film "Based on true events in the life of Frank Dux" as portrayed by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Although it enjoyed little box office success, it is considered a genre classic by martial arts film enthusiasts for showcasing a large variety of international fighting styles, ranging from Kung Fu to Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai.


Based on supposedly real-life events which took place between 1975 and 1980–1981, Bloodsport tells the story of an Americanmarker man named Frank W. Dux (Jean Claude Van Damme), who was trained from his youth in the ways of Ninjutsu by a Japanese master of the art, Senzo Tanaka (Roy Chiao). Primarily to honor his mentor out of gratitude and respect for having been allowed the training in place of Senzo Tanaka's deceased and only son, Dux leaves for Hong Kongmarker to participate in the Kumite — an illegal and underground, freestyle, single-elimination and occasionally deadly full-contact martial arts tournament to which the world's best martial artists are clandestinely invited every five years.

The movie begins with the preparation of the Kumite somewhere in Kowloon Walled Citymarker. Then it shows a number of fighters preparing for the Kumite with their own training regimens (from climbing trees to bash coconuts to breaking big ice blocks and boards). Then it shows a man cleaning a platform when it finally shows Frank Dux kicking a speed bag in an Army gym. An officer talks to him about how the commanding officer found out about Frank leaving for the Kumite in Hong Kong and wanted to talk to him. Frank tells that he would take a shower and talk to him only to go AWOL from there.

Dux goes to the Tanakas' house to say goodbye to his trainer and remembers back to his training days. A flashback sequence shows a younger Frank Dux being goaded by two schoolmates to steal a sword in Mr. Tanaka's house. As Mr. Tanaka and his son Shingo catches Dux in the act, the other schoolmates run away, leaving Dux to be the fall guy. Dux explains that he was not stealing, but trying to put the sword back in its rightful place. Tanaka tells Dux that the sword cannot be stolen and it must be earned. Tanaka uses the sword and cuts off the front of Dux's cap, who doesn't flinch during the ordeal. Impressed by his "fighting spirit," Tanaka makes a deal where he will train Dux in exchange for not calling the police on him. Despite being used for a "punching bag" by Shingo during training (at one point Shingo disrespects Dux by calling him a "round-eye"), Dux saves Shingo from two bullies at school. Shingo confides in Dux that one day he would make his father proud by going to the Kumite. Shingo dies years later, and despite initial resistance to the idea, Tanaka agrees to train Dux as a member of the Tanaka Clan.

Back in the United States, two military law enforcement agents (Air Force Criminal Investigation Division) (Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker) are sent to track down and arrest him.

After arriving in Hong Kong, Dux befriends fellow American contestant, vale tudo fighter Ray Jackson (Donald Gibb) and Victor Lin (Ken Siu), the latter of which acts as a manager/liaison for Dux and Jackson. Lin explains that the tournament is "anything goes," and that there are three ways to win:

  • Knock your opponent unconscious;
  • The opponent submits and shouts "matte;" or
  • The opponent is thrown out of the fighting area.

Dux eventually becomes involved with a female American journalist, Janice Kent (Leah Ayres), who is attempting to investigate the secretive Kumite event. Dux believes the Kumite is for the fighters, and not for the people who read newspapers. As the tournament progresses, Dux beats all of his diverse opponents, including Syrian fighter Sadiq Hossein (Bernard Mariano), Muay Thai kickboxer Paco (Paulo Tocha), and sumo wrestler Pumola (David Ho). He advances to the third and final day of the tournament to face the defending Kumite champion, Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) — a man with the tendency to cripple and sometimes outright kill his opponents on the platform, and who has also hospitalized Ray Jackson during the second day of the Kumite. When Chong finds that Dux is the better fighter, he blinds Dux with a handful of quicklime, but Dux manages to train his senses and makes Chong Li shout "matte" to become the first Western winner of the Kumite, defeating 511 other competitors. The film closes with Dux returning to the United States and statistics detailing the real-life Frank W. Dux's alleged achievements (such as the fastest KO) are shown.

Kumite Tournament Bracket


Despite being only modestly well received at the box office, Bloodsport became one of Jean Claude Van Damme's first starring vehicles and extensively showcased his athletic abilities. On display are numerous physical feats such as his trademark helicopter-style, jump spinning heel kicks, and Van Damme's ability to perform a complete split.



Bloodsport's soundtrack score was composed by Paul Hertzog, who also composed another Jean-Claude Van Damme movie titled Kickboxer. Hertzog's score was only issued on CD a few times. Due to its rarity, it is now considered a collector's item and goes for as much as $150 on eBay.

The movie's score contained the songs "Fight To Survive" and "On My Own", both of which were performed by Stan Bush. However Stan Bush's songs as featured in the movie are not present on the official soundtrack, and alternate versions with vocals by Paul Delph are present on it instead. Paul Delph received a Grammy nomination for his efforts.

The film also contained a song by Michael Bishop titled "Steal The Night", which plays during a scene when Van Damme's character runs away from Helmer and Rawlins. This song was never released until the mid 2000's, when it was made available for online purchasing. The single contains a vocal and instrumental version.

The tracklisting for the original CD was as follows:

  • 1. Fight to Survive (02:23) - Performed by Paul Delph and Shaylin Walsh
  • 2. Kumite (Main Title) (02:39)
  • 3. Father and Son / Training (04:24)
  • 4. The Tree and the Sword / In Hong Kong / The Walled City / Ceremony (07:43)
  • 5. Chong Li Kills (02:50)
  • 6. On My Own - Alone (03:34) - Performed by Paul Delph (arranged by Shaylin Walsh)
  • 7. The Second Day (04:23)
  • 8. The Morning After (02:45)
  • 9. Preparation (02:32)
  • 10. Dim Mak (01:59)
  • 11. Powder (03:42)
  • 12. Triumph (02:33)

Also of note is a previously unreleased piece of score from the movie titled The Gamble, which was released on the "Best of Van Damme Compilation Volume 2" CD.

The 26th of June 2007 saw a limited edition release of the soundtrack on CD by record label Perseverance Records. This release is considered by fans of the soundtrack as a vast improvement over all previous releases as the CD contains for the first time, the original versions of the tracks performed by Stan Bush as heard in the motion picture. The track listing for this limited edition version is as follows:

  • 1. "Steal the Night" (04:28) - performed by Michael Bishop
  • 2. Kumite (02:25)
  • 3. Captain (00:23)
  • 4. Flashback/Martial Science/Father & Son/Training/Tree & Sword (10:20)
  • 5. In Hong Kong (00:58)
  • 6. The Walled City (01:53)
  • 7. Dim Mak (00:42)
  • 8. Police (00:14)
  • 9. First Day: Ceremony/ First Fight/Good, Bad, Ugly/Dux vs Arab (04:31)
  • 10. "Fight to Survive" (02:02) - performed by Stan Bush
  • 11. Morning After (01:55)
  • 12. Second Day (04:25)
  • 13. Samoan Balls (02:16)
  • 14. Jackson Falls (01:28)
  • 15. "On My Own - Alone" (02:12) - performed by Stan Bush
  • 16. Here for the Final?/Inspector, No! (00:57)
  • 17. Paco vs Dux (02:20)
  • 18. Chong Li Kills (01:29)
  • 19. Preparation (00:49)
  • 20. Finals/Powder/Triumph (07:28)
  • 21. "Fight to Survive" (End Title) (02:40) - performed by Stan Bush
  • 22. "Steal the Night" (instrumental version) (04:32)

Titles around the world

  • Argentinamarker: El Gran Dragón Blanco (The Great White Dragon)
  • Brazilmarker: O Grande Dragāo Branco (The Great White Dragon)
  • Bulgariamarker: Кървав спорт (Bloody Sport)
  • Canadamarker: Bloodsport
  • Czech Republicmarker: Krvavý sport (Bloodsport)
  • Egyptmarker: La3b il Mayet (The Game of the Dead)
  • Finlandmarker: Bloodsport: Viimeiseen Asti (Bloodsport: To The Last Man)
  • Francemarker: Bloodsport: Tous Les Coups Sont Permis (Bloodsport: All Strikes Are Allowed)
  • Germanymarker: Bloodsport: Eine Wahre Geschichte (Bloodsport: A True Story)
  • Hungarymarker: Véres játék/Véres sport (Bloody Game/Bloody Sport)
  • Iranmarker: Ringe Khoonin (Bloody Gym)
  • Italymarker: Senza Esclusione Di Colpi (Without Exclusion of Blows)
  • Mexicomarker: Contacto Sangriento (Bloody Contact)
  • Polandmarker: Krwawy Sport (Bloody Sport)
  • Portugalmarker: Força Destruidora (Destructive Force)
  • Romaniamarker: Sport sângeros (Bloody Sport)
  • Russiamarker: Кровавый спорт (Bloody Sport)
  • Spainmarker: Contacto Sangriento (Bloody Contact)
  • Serbiamarker: Krvavi sport (Bloody Sport)
  • Swedenmarker: Utmaningen (The Challenge)
  • Turkeymarker: Kan Sporu (Bloodsport)


  • Bolo Yeung, seen portraying the defending Kumite champion Chong Li, was 49 years old during Bloodsport's filming, while Jean Claude Van Damme was only 27.
  • Van Damme and Yeung would face off again 3 years later in the film Double Impact.
  • The character Johnny Cage, of the Mortal Kombat video games, was based loosely on Jean-Claude Van Damme's portrayal of Dux. The character's 'split & punch' attack is based on one from the Frank Dux v. Pumola scene.
  • Bloodsport makes several tributes to the late Bruce Lee. Dux originally convinced his mentor that he was worthy of the complete training - despite his being neither Japanese nor a member of the Tanaka familyline - by reminding Senzo Tanaka that; "You taught me using any technique that works. Never to limit myself to one style. To keep an open mind.", which is a direct reference to the philosophy behind mixed martial arts as it was pioneered by Bruce Lee in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In a later scene Chong Li also says to Frank Dux; "Very good. But brick not hit back.", which is a reference to a similar line spoken by Bruce Lee in the movie Enter the Dragon -- "Boards don't hit back.". Lastly, Bloodsport was set in Hong Kongmarker and is a compilation of numerous events Frank Dux had supposedly fought including the real-life Frank Dux Kumite debut. This occurred, according to Nov. 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine in the Bahamasmarker. Frank Dux retired after 329 professional matches, undefeated.
  • Former Warner Bros. VP of Marketing and Publicity, Joseph Sinda, states in a 2002 documentary one of his most memorable moments with Bruce Lee was Lee asked him to find Frank Dux, which Sinda did but sadly only after Lee's death, in 1975. Sinda, attending in Bruce Lee's honor the Kumite that is the basis of the film Bloodsport.
  • The game Jackson and Dux played when first befriending each other was the 1984 arcade title Karate Champ.
  • Was originally released on Region 2 in 2001 but has since been deleted and is a sought-after item.

See also


External links

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