Bloodsport III (1997)

Posted in Reviews by - April 03, 2022
Bloodsport III (1997)

The continuing saga of art dealer, ex-prisoner, new age hippy and Van Damme lookalike Alex Cardo (Bernhardt). After winning the Kumite, Alex scrubs up nicely as a tuxedo’ed high-roller in Sri Lanka. He meets the burly, booming Julius (John Rhys-Davies, who must’ve been sightseeing at the time) – another art dealer (why are there so many art dealers in these films?) – who wants to put together another Kumite for reasons which are purely plot-driven. When Alex refuses to take part, Julius blows up his sifu, James Hong, using an exploding telephone. Alex absconds to the hills to find a new master, Macado (Bernhardt’s real-life taekwondo instructor, Hee Il Cho), who helps him to avenge his master’s death by becoming a “warrior of the mind” as well as the body. This requires Alex to shepherd some cows, pick up a snake, and catch flying arrows when blindfolded; all the while trying not to have sex with Macado’s niece. Once he has completed his borderline sadistic training, he is ready for the Kumite – again – squaring off against another muscle-headed giant, called ‘The Beast’ (Oleson, who died shortly after making the film). There is a comforting low-budget familiarity to the film, although this is obviously stretching the Kumite conceit to breaking point, and there is no real attempt to create any sense of jeopardy, character or drama during the tournament sequence – other than providing Bernhardt with another good excuse to show off his muscles and wonderful kicks. Future action legends J.J. Perry and Chad Stahelski are in the mix, too, playing super-fit Kumite fighters who eventually get their asses handed to them by Bernhardt. This isn’t wholly a waste of time, but once it starts essentially repeating the same beats from the previous two films, then it becomes quite obvious┬áthat this is a franchise showing serious signs of fatigue.

AKA: Bloodsport III – Kumite.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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