review by Bobby Blakey
I have been a massive Jean Claude Van Damme fan since seeing him on the big screen in Bloodsport and even No Retreat No Surrender before knowing who he was. After he was unleashed in Bloodsport Van Damme had a string of martial arts hits including another of my favorites Lionheart. This film was one of many collaborations between director Sheldon Lettich and Van Damme and now MVD is bringing the film to Blu-ray via their Rewind Collection.
Lionheart follows a paratrooper legionnaire that is forced to return home to Los Angeles after his brother is seriously injured. With his brother's family desperately needing money, he decides to earn it the only way he knows how - entering an underground fighting circuit. This is yet another vintage Van Damme flick that offers just enough story to keep it moving and give it purpose, but it is all about the fights. For a time it seemed every Van Damme film was the same formula of him being forced into fighting in tournaments of some sort and this one was no different. As a martial artist myself I was not only obsessed with the genre, but watching him executing his signature kicks and learning from them.
This film offered up some of the most variety to his fighting and holds up to this day as one of his best and I think underappreciated. A fun Easter Egg to be on the lookout for is martial arts action stars Tae Bo founder Billy Blanks and Jeff Speakman in a small role if you can spot him. This release offers up old and new bonus content including interviews, trailers, featurettes, a collectible mini-poster and more as well as both the theatrical and extended cut of the film.
Step into the ring and grab your copy of Lionheart Special edition when it hits Blu-ray on June 19th from MVD Rewind Collection.