5 Actors Who Could Make a New Version of Bloodsport Hit Hardest
Because it's Tuesday, it's time for news about another planned Hollywood remake. The latest? The 1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme pre-ultimate fighting fighting film Bloodsport, which ScreenDaily reports director Phillip Noyce will shepherd back to the big screen with help from writer Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid, Taken). Before you bemoan the fact that one of the key VHS rentals from your youth will be updated for today's audiences, let's consider five actors who could make this particular update worth fighting for.
For those of you who weren't weened on the awesomeness of Bloodsport -- a fixture of Friday night sleepovers in my hometown -- some background: Van Damme starred as Frank Dux, a U.S. soldier and martial arts expert who enters "The Kumite," a deadly underground karate tournament. And, fight! (That's pretty much all the plot you need.)
The new version will re-imagine Frank (who may not even be called Frank) as a returning U.S. soldier from Afghanistan who heads to Brazil to recover from the atrocities of war and signs up for the shady tourney. Great. Let's cast this thing.
Does anyone do quiet brooding better than Taylor Kitsch? From Friday Night Lights to The Bang Bang Club to his role in the upcoming adaptation of Savages (a part of strong-silence that he was seemingly born to play, judging from the book), Kitsch feels like the current go-to guy for lost boy roles. Which is what this adaptation of Bloodsport sounds like it could be. That he's a physically imposing figure only adds to his credentials. No one wants to mess with Tim Riggins.
Anthony Mackie seems to be on the short-list for every major leading man role; unfortunately, he never seems to get hired. While Jeremy Renner has taken his Hurt Locker breakout and signed on for three million franchises, Mackie is left to support Hugh Jackman in Real Steel. Unfair, Hollywood (and yet sadly not too surprising). Leading something like Bloodsport for a respected action director like Phillip Noyce would be the type of small-scale project that could blossom Mackie into a viable box office leading man. After all, it wasn't like many people were knocking down Liam Neeson's door before he co-starred in the Kamen-scripted Taken either.
Before you scoff at the idea of Ron Weasley taking on burly Brazilians in a fight to the death, consider this: Rupert Grint needs to find something to separate himself from Harry Potter in the same way that Emma Watson (via her short hair and eclectic film choices) and Daniel Radcliffe (via Broadway) have. With that in mind: why not Bloodsport? Grint, like Kitsch, is a strong and silent-type, and you can imagine him expressing the inner pain of PTSD with simply a look. That he also appeared crazy-jacked in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (those trapezius muscles!) is an added bonus.
Who said the lead of Bloodsport had to be a man? Jolie is still the biggest film star in the world, and as her collaboration with Noyce in Salt showed, she isn't above getting very physical. Hollywood notably stays away from the idea of girlfights (with the exception of Girlfight), but if anyone can break that glass ceiling it's Jolie.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The world seems ready to embrace Jean-Claude Van Damme again (except for those Total Flex folks), and the meta-y idea of Van Damme reprising his original role from Bloodsport feels almost too perfect. An aging Frank Dux heads to Brazil after some contract work in Afghanistan and fights to save the son he never knew he had. OK; that's just wild Bloodsport fan-fic, but you can see how it could work. At the very least, it would make more sense for Van Damme's career than starring in something like The Expendables 2 or another Universal Soldier film.