review by Bobby Blakey
Director Dimitri Logothetis successfully rebooted the Van Damme film Kickboxer producing the series and even directing the second entry Kickboxer: Retaliation. Now he is reteaming with his Kickboxer star Alain Moussi for their latest film Jiu Jitsu. The film features a great cast including Frank Grillo, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos, Juju Chan, Tony Jaa and Nicolas Cage. Could this movie offer up action worthy of its title and cast or will it have to tap out?
Jiu Jitsu follows an ancient order of Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a vicious race of alien invaders in an epic battle for the survival of Earth. While I wasn’t sure this title works into the fighting styles of the film, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it. After seeing the film and getting the chance to speak with director Dimitri Logothetis it makes sense. Stepping away from the ideas of only Brazil Jiu Jitsu it is focused more on the older ideals of the art while still capitalizing on all the varying fighting styles of those involved.
For those that want to complain about the lack of Jiu Jitsu practioners in the film let it be known that Alain Moussi is trained in Jiu Jitsu as it Nicolas Cage and others. Through the fights there are Jiu Jitsu used in the film fused with Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do and more. This is a sci-fi flick more than anything so there is also a bit of fantasy that I took the idea of it also just being the generic term to their fighting styles in general. All that being said I had a ton of fun with the film despite some bumps in the road here and there.
On the action side it brings plenty of fun and often times creatively shot fight sequences. Everyone here including Cage get their moments to shine with the action and all of it works. Sure there are some silly moments, but its par for the course when you are playing in a fantasy world. All of this action is infused with them forced to face off against an alien of sorts that plays up like a homage to the Predator on some levels. This makes for even more interesting action and fun to watch.
The performances are hit and miss but most work well. Cage looks to be all in per usual and having a blast. He actually fits perfectly into this role and one of the more entertaining from him in some time. While Moussi is leading the charge the rest of the cast get to do their thing complete with Tony Jaa getting the longest fight sequence right out the gate. In the end this film isn’t breaking down any walls in the action genre, but it sure is having fun with it.
If you like martial arts action then get in on the fun and fighting Jitsu in select theaters, On Demand and Digital now and DVD on December 22, 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Check out my interview with director Dimitir Logothetis here.
Check out my interview with star Alain Moussi here.