What I Knew Going In / What I Was Expecting
This is another Bounty Hunters 2 situation for me. I'd never heard of the Bloodfist series before I decided to watch this one, but "Bloodfist" doesn't really leave too much for the imagination. It's going to be violent, and it goddamn better well have some punching.
The fact that there are eight of them is simultaneously surprising and totally expected. My guess? Probably some martial arts series. I just hope it's not about a bunch of tournaments. That's only fun like once, maybe twice, and then it just starts to get sad.
I'm going to guess that Bloodfist is a kung fu master who has pledged himself to an eternal quest for inner peace, so he wanders the globe trying to find the perfect spot to meditate. But wouldn't you just know it, every time he stops somewhere to try and attain zen, some assholes start harassing innocents and he's forced into violence. The first seven adventures were fun, but now he's sick of it and decides to train somebody else to do the dirty work. But the training's tough, so it'll be a... hard way out.
On a separate note, I appreciate that they put the number in the title. I would've never known how late I was getting here otherwise.
The Plot Summary
Did I say the title made this predictable? Wow, I was off the mark.
Any resemblance to a martial arts movie this series might have had must have disappeared long ago. Bloodfist VIII is the worst kind of generic action movie - the kind where nobody looks like they really feel like getting on their feet and doing things.
It's about a dude named Rick Cowan, a teacher who works either at a college or a high school run like a college and comprised entirely of seniors who were held back several years. For the first few minutes, the movie's just about his strained relationship with his son, Chris. Chris is kind of a secret genius who's capable of stunning feats of ingenuity and engineering, but he resents his father for being an absentee deadbeat when he was much younger.
Their lives are turned upside-down one fateful day when assassins show up at their house and Rick busts out some surprise moves to dispatch them. Suddenly on the run, Rick admits the truth to his son about why he was never around years ago: he's a former CIA agent and his past is catching up with him.
Rick goes to his former boss for help, and the CIA puts the two in a safe house in the woods. Unfortunately, the safe house is immediately attacked by more assassins, so that was a waste of a scene.
Then they go to Ireland for some reason and Rick meets up with his old pal, an ancient Irish stereotype with a super computer in his basement who does surveillance for fun. Rick's Irish buddy has heard through the grapevine that the assassins were sent by Italian extremists who are out to get vengeance for their comrades who were killed by Rick during his time at the CIA.
Rick gets into a chase scene with one of those extremists while a couple of bumbling Irish cops fail to put a stop to their chaos. That ends up not really going anywhere, so in the meantime, the CIA reveals that they're actually the bad guys for no good goddamn reason except to keep the plot moving forward. They kidnap Chris in order to extort Rick into doing deeds of nebulous ethics.
There's a showdown on a boat where Chris uses his engineering skills to prank his way out of a prison cell. Then Rick kills the CIA and takes Chris back home, re-united with him by violence.
What I Liked
It was under 90 minutes.
What I Didn't Like
I can't even summon the energy to beat on this movie. It's so plain and boring that I'm losing any capacity for thought to discuss it.
My main problem with it is the premise. A title like "Bloodfist" can take you in infinite directions, but they're all united by a common image: punching somebody really, really hard. You know what action trope is least likely to let you punch people really, really hard? An ex-CIA agent having gunfights with assassins. If that's the way you were going to go, you should've called it "Gunfist."
I'm sure Don Wilson, the star, is a talented martial artist. A quick peek at his biography shows that he's an extremely successful kickboxer. So where is that in the movie? Almost all of his action scenes are him running, driving, or shooting. There's a little bit of him getting into hand-to-hand fighting, but not nearly enough. He's so underutilized - it's worse than the way they wasted Jason Scott Lee in Dracula III.
Would I Recommend It?
Not unless you're a huge fan of the series already.
What I Think the Prequels Were About
Do I really have to come up with plots for all seven of them? Fuck me. I'm not putting any more effort into them than they put into this one.
Part 1 - Rick joins the CIA and has a tough mission.
Part 2 - Rick has a slightly tougher mission.
Part 3 - Rick has a mission that goes wrong and he goes on the run.
Part 4 - Rick is tracked down by the CIA and has to clear his name.
Part 5 - Rick re-joins the CIA and has a mission that's not as tough as the first couple. This is probably the one in the series that everybody considers a low point.
Part 6 - Rick has his toughest mission ever, but he has to complete it by going totally rogue.
Part 7 - Rick has a really bad week at work and quits.
My Pitch for Another One
The CIA gets revenge on Rick.