SO….Lady Bloodfight is a film. in the dictionary sense of the word. It is over one hundred minutes long, has a beginning, middle and an end, and it has moving images that one can watch. It is basically a female version of Bloodsport, the Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts starrer. All the women are very attractive. That is all that can be said with regards as to what is good in this film.
Four minutes into the film it is apparent that this is not going to be a great watch. It opens with two women fighting on a rooftop. Shu (Muriel Hofmann) is fighting Wai (Kathy Wu). They are evenly matched and their match is decided a draw, much to the disgust of Wai. They are sent away to find a student each to teach, who might represent them in the next Kumite tournament, five years hence.
Two mysterious Chinese men go about recruiting women from around the globe to fight in the next tournament. Meanwhile, Wai’s would be student, Ling (Jenny WU), walks into her dojo and proceeds to beat up her best student. Wai, mildly impressed by her attitude, sacks off all her other students and decides to train the feral Ling for the Kumite.
Shu waits for the spirits – really – to send her a student. After encountering a multitude of unsuitable candidates. Jane (Amy Johnston), is a blue-eyed, blonde, who has traveled to Hong Kong in the hope of finding out what happened to her father, who just happened to disappear under mysterious circumstances whilst attending a Kumite tournament.
When she is set upon by a small crew of unscrupulous miscreants, she is forced to fight and is winning until one of them knocks her near unconscious and hands out a bit of a beatdown on her. Shu, witnessing the scene, intervenes and gives the thugs a quick bashing before taking Jane back to her place.
Jane, who I forgot to mention had already suffered a bit of a beatdown whilst on American soil, having insulted and embarrassed a patron of the white collar diner she used to work in, he and his buddies decide to set upon her in the underground carpark. She promptly handed out an ass whooping on the four of them, but not before taking a fierce bruising herself.
Back in Hong Kong, the twice concussed Jane asks Shu to train her in martial arts. Shu, highly spiritual and given to meditation, agrees to train her if she will enter the Kumite tournament. Jane agrees after Shu brings a bird back to life. Yeah, she can do that.
There is a training sequence, flitting between Jane and Ling. Jane’s training is based around the tenants of most martial arts, with Shu always counseling her to remain in control. Ling is encouraged to attack with brutal ferocity.
We quickly get to the tournament, where the women fight with unrestrained ferocity and Chinese people, the men, in particular, are made to look very bad. There is one black person in the film, a female boxer in the tournament. She is killed immediately. Jane is befriended by one of the other fighters, Cassidy, played by the brilliantly named Jet Tranter. She could use some help with her IMDB profile page though!
Cassidy is chatty and happy in contrast to the brutish Svietta (Mayling Ng) who relishes beating on every opponent she meets. As soon as Svietta and Cassidy are matched up in the contest, you know it is going to end badly for Cassidy. Svietta slits her throat, traumatising Jane.
Jane, who due to using her newly improved fighting skills to go and hand out a beating to the Chinese gang who beat her up when she first got to Hong Kong, is abandoned by Shu, has to face Svietta in the semifinal fight.
With Ling waiting in the final, Jane, of course, beats Svietta. In the course of beating Svietta, Jane suffers many more injuries herself. As she waits in the changing room, Mr. Sang (Kirt Kishita) comes and tells her that he killed her father and Wai’s brother, a brother Wai believed to have committed suicide because of a broken heart after breaking up with Shu, hence her hatred for her.
Mr. Sang is convinced that Jane will either forfeit the final or suffer defeat because of her injuries. Happy that his wagers remain safe. Jane goes to Shu and convinces her help her with her injuries so as she can contest the final.
Jane fights and defeats Ling in the final, forcing Mr. Sang to try and flee. He confesses to the murders and Shu and Wai become friends once more. The end.
Let’s start with that which I admire most in film and television, the actors. The script really does not serve them at all in this film, with Jet Tranter’s Cassidy getting probably the least raw deal. Every other character is a two dimensional, cliched, stereotype. Jane is the fish-out-of-water trier, who comes good and overcomes. Ling and Wai are the bad women/girl who realise the right path, in the end, Shu is the wise one, who sees that she, perhaps, is not always right.
Every cliche is ticked off. A quick peruse of the IMDB page of all the lead characters shows that they are all competent martial artist. Not that the camera work would have you believe that. It is, at times, unnecessarily haphazard and shaky. The fight choreography is good, however.
Some of the costumes are highly impractical for fighting – the floaty nonsense they wear for the opening fight scene is particularly ridiculous. The gratuitous use of blood make-up had me believing that they perhaps got it free or it was left over from an abandoned Tarantino film. Every punch causes a huge blood splatter. Every punch.
what really lets this film down, however, is the script. It is simply woeful. Bey Logan, who is credited with the screenplay and story, has a whole slew of credits for low to medium budget martial arts action films, none which are familiar to me.
Admittedly, the script does not scrape the depths of Anne Rice’s infamous efforts in Interview With A Vampire all those years back, but it comes close. With the poor script and Chris Nahon’s – not Nolan – lacklustre directing, it is a miracle that this film is watchable at all. The pacing is quite sprightly, which definitely helps, even if it does mean that the story lacks depth.
Bey sacrifices story for fight scenes, creating unnatural situations so as to shoehorn them in. Lady Bloodfight – a really rubbish title for a film – is a film that improves, though not greatly, as it goes along, almost as if they were learning as they went along in the making of the film.
Lady Bloodfight is not an unwatchable film, but nor is it a must see. If you have a couple of hours to waste and have not much else going on, there are worse ways to waste that time.