28th Apr2017

‘Lady Bloodfight’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Amy Johnston, Muriel Hofmann, Jenny Wu, Kathy Wu, Jet Tranter, Mayling Ng, Sunny Coelst, Rosemary Vandebrouck, Lisa Cheng, Chalinene Bassinah, Lauren Rhoden, Lisa Henderson, Isa Sofa Chan Kwan Nga, Nathalie Ng, Kirt Kishita, Happy Ma | Written by Bey Logan | Directed by Chris Nahon

lady-bloodfight-dvd

Question: Are you a fan of Bloodsport, Kickboxer, King of the Kickboxers, or any of the many similar “fighting championship” movies that were released around the time Van Damme’s film hit it big? You are? Then stop reading any firther and go out and buy Lady Bloodfight. Right now. Go on. You can come back here later to read what I think…. Shop’s are shut? Go buy it digitally. Now.

Why? Because Lady Bloodfight is THE female equivalent of Bloodsport. It may have taken 28 years but we’ve finally got one. It’s just as badass, just as packed with top-notch martial arts and has just as iconic a bad guy, well… girl.

Lady Bloodfight follows Jane Jones, an American woman who travels to Hong Kong to find out what happened to her missing father. While looking for a youth hostel Jane is robbed. Although she manages to hold her own against the thugs robbing her, which draws the attention of Shu – a Wudang champion who is impressed by Janes raw fighting abilities. Shu recruits Jane, training her to fight in the viscious underground all-female martial-arts championship, the kumite.

After three months of preperation, Jane is ready to face the world’s best, and deadliest, female fighters – including Ling, the apprentice of Shu’s nemesis Wai, a Shaolin master whose only goal in life is to hurt Shu by any means necessary. But, as is the genres wont, Jane’s route to the championship will not be any easy one – besides her competitors Jane also has to contend with Mr. Sang, a notorious gambler who has his own way of controlling the outcome of the kumite.

That is the films plot in a nutshell. But who really needs a plot more complex than that? What we all came her for is to see badass women show of their martial arts skills in the greatest way possible. And Lady Bloodfight provides just the outlet for them. From hand to hand combat, mixing fighting style like Capoeira and boxing; to weapons techniques – in some particularly brutal, vicious, fight scenes. The most vicious of which come from actress Mayling Ng, as the films token villain (even moreso than Ling and Wai), who has the same evil affectations and “take no prisoners” attitude as both Bolo Yeung’s Chong Li AND Michael Qissi’s Tong Po put together!

Watching Lady Bloodfight it’s obvious that the film comes from a place of fandom, and it should. The film was penned by Bey Logan, an expert on Hong Kong action cinema and all things martial arts movies, whose writing I grew up on back in the days of Impact Magazine (honestly, back then his word was god on ANY action film). Apparently Logan wrote the film as a much smaller movie, to be shot on the cheap in HK with local talent. However Voltage Pictures got on board, as did director Chris Nahon, who has form in the genre – helming Jet Li’s Kiss of the Dragon and the underrated live-action anime adpatation Blood: The Last Vampire. I’m glad they did. Whilst I would love to see Logan’s original concept come to fruition, what we do have in Lady Bloodfight is a fantastic leading role for stuntwoman Amy Johnston (who stunt doubles for Scarlett Johannson). Johnston gets to show of her fighting skills against a wealth of talented women, managing to bring both strength and vulnerability to her character simulatenously.

If Lady Bloodfight had been released back in the 90s, when we were experiencing peak Van Damme, a rising star in Cynthia Rothrock and Steven Segal in his prime, Nahon’s film would have been hailed as a superb take on the genre. Today? Well we have to put up with the film coming to DVD (hey Icon, where’s the Blu-ray, eh?), with no fanfare and no publicity. Which is a crying shame.

I sincerely urge action movie fans to go out and buy Lady Bloodfight as soon as possible, it’s available for a mere £7 in your local supermarket(s) and on Amazon – though if you want to see it in HD, iTunes is sadly your only option – which is a bargain for a film as old-school and fantastic as this!

***** 5/5

Lady Bloodfight is available on DVD and Digital now from Icon.

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