A few days back it was announced that producer Ed Pressman, writer Robert Mark Kamen and director Phillip Noyce were teaming on a remake of 1988’s “Bloodsport”, the film that rocketed a then-unknown Jean-Claude Van Damme to megastardom (Fantastic flick; still one of JC’s finest moments, much credit to scribe Sheldon Lettich for the film’s compelling, realistic portrayal of off-the-books fighting).
Details were scarce, but the story was said to this time tell of an Afghanistan war vet who heads to Brazil for some chillaxing and instead ends up fighting in an underground fight tournament.
Doesn’t sound a lot like the Van Damme movie, right? Good reason for that! it’s ”Bloodsport” in-name only.
Whereas the Newt Arnold film told the story of Frank Dux, a Kung Fu expert who arrives in Hong Kong to compete in the Kumite, a violent championship fighting contest, the remake will actually take it’s inspiration from the 1969 brazilian film “Antonio Das Mortes” by Glauber Rocha.
Antonio das Mortes was a character that featured in several films, but mostly famously the ’69 film. He was a rugged, bearded hitman and wanderer who, for the right price, would take anyone out. Director Rocha took home best director for “Antonio Das Mortes” at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Here’s the synopsis of the film, courtesy Amazon :
Following on from the hugely successful and acclaimed Black God White Devil comes Glauber Rocha’s powerful award-winning sequel Antonio Das Mortes (aka O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro). Part epic, part folklore, part political allegory, Antonio Das Mortes is one of the most memorable films of the Cinema Novo (Brazilian filmmakers movement) by one of its finest filmmakers. The film returns to the Brazilian Sertao 29 years after Antonio das Mortes killed Corisco (the Blond Devil), last of the Cangaceiros. The legendary ‘warrior saint’ Antonio (Maurício do Valle) is now the central character a jagunco (hired gunman) contracted to kill cangaceiros and protect a powerful landowner. He tracks down and kills the members of a guerrilla band, only to realise after killing the last rebel in ritualistic combat that his fight should be against the landowners rather than the dispossessed country folk.
To say this “Bloodsport” will be significantly different from the original is an understatement. Still, I hold out hope for a Donald Gibb cameo!
Kamen is still working on the script so this one is still a ways off from the sounds but there’s a great team on this thing – Noyce, “Karate Kid” writer Kamen, and Pressman, who has produced such gems as “American Psycho” and “The Crow” – so may be worth the wait.