'Lady Bloodfight': Film Review

Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
The action is kickass, the dialogue not so much.
5/5/2017

Amy Johnston plays an American who competes in a deadly Hong Kong martial arts competition in Chris Nahon's action film.

Chris Nahon’s action film effectively lives up to its title. It features sexy ladies fighting in bloody fashion, and on its own limited terms provides the sort of violent entertainment geared to fans who enjoy watching movies like, well, Lady Bloodfight. Fans of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1988 cult classic Bloodsport, which this film closely resembles, will best appreciate this distaff version starring ace stuntwoman Amy Johnston, who possesses the gorgeous looks and superb physicality to carry the vehicle.

Johnston’s character, June, establishes her badass bona fides early in the film when she efficiently dispatches a rude male customer at the diner where she works. Desperate to help her mother, whose miserable state is signaled by her heavy drinking and smoking, June travels to Hong Kong, where her military father mysteriously disappeared years earlier. Her goal: to compete in the Kumite, a brutal female martial arts competition offering a substantial monetary prize.

Jane soon finds herself being tutored by Shu (Muriel Hofmann), who specializes in instructing her pupils in the spiritual aspects of martial arts. Meanwhile, Shu’s former rival Wai (Kathy Wu), who approaches the discipline from a far more deadly point of view, mentors Ling (Jenny Wu), a petty thief. The competition features numerous international competitors, including a saucy — what else? — Australian (Jet Tranter) and a vicious — what else? — Russian (Mayling Ng). Watching over the proceedings with great interest is gambler Mr. Sang (Kurt Kishita), who by the film’s end reveals himself to be even more villainous than he initially appears.

Bey Logan and Judd Bloch’s screenplay proves far too complicated for what is essentially an excuse to showcase plenty of extremely buff women bashing each other’s brains in. Director Nahon (Kiss of the Dragon) keeps the action suitably fast and furious, even if he overly panders to male viewers by including apparently requisite locker room scenes in which the women are even more scantily clad than when they’re fighting. And that’s saying something.

Frequently wearing only a halter top and skintight yoga pants, Johnston looks as great as she moves. While her dramatic chops leave something to be desired, they’re more than adequate for the rote narrative which only gets in the way of her kicking serious butt. Considering that her male predecessors in this sort of B-movie schlock include Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren, she’s following a well-established tradition.

Production companies: Voltage Productions, B&E Productions
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Cast: Amy Johnston, Muriel Hoffman, Jenny Wu, Kathy Wu, Jet Tranter, Mayling Ng, Kurt Kishita
Director: Chris Nahon
Screenwriters: Bey Logan, Judd Bloch
Producers: Nicolas Chartier, Zev Foreman, Bey Logan
Executive producers: Justin Bursch, Babacar Diene
Director of photography: Michel Abramowicz
Production designer: Gi Tsui
Editors: Chris Nahon, Frederick Thoraval
Costume designer: Miggy Cheng
Composer: Mark Kilian

102 minutes

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