Big Hollywood has missed the boat on coverage of one particular movie for some time now. I love them, but I can not wait any longer to give this movie the analysis it deserves: Bloodsport.
Any conservative worth his or her salt needs to not only have seen Bloodsport, but love it. There are countless conservative principles embedded in Jean Claude’s early classic and pre-cocaine-fueled-downward-spiral that it’s not even funny (I heard that’s all behind him now, but you have to question whether or not it’s true since he turned down an offer to appear in The Expendables).
Even better, uber liberal Forrest Whitaker plays a role, so the sooner conservatives can make and solidify the case for Bloodsport as an ultra-conservative fight-classic, the better.
Frank Dux’s story is filled with loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. If the acronym for that looks familiar, that’s because it is—it’s the Seven Army Values. And yes, Fank Dux was a military man. Critics will of course point out that Dux took part in the Kumite, despite a lawful order from his superiors not to. Touche. And, while it’s a very valid point, I don’t want to get caught in the weeds discussing the occasional douche-rules the military can dole out to good soldiers who need a break. There will be plenty of time for that in future Bloodsport posts…
Think about Dux’s story. He honors his sensei (i.e., for all intents and purposes his adopted father). He’s a member of the Armed Forces. He undergoes rigorous training and suffers countless setbacks in his youth, yet bears down and fights through it to accomplish things an earlier version of himself would have never thought possible. He travels great distances to take part in a contest where failure might mean death—for something larger than himself. He plays by the rules even when his opponent cheats, and ultimately he comes out on top.
The only time Frank missteps is when he decides to sleep with the sexy, blond, liberal reporter who looks down on the men involved with the tournament, but is willing to sleep with them if they’ll spill the beans. The error is so costly that it almost disqualifies him, as the reporter outs Frank’s presence to the authorities and tries to have the tournament brought down. Note to self: Resist sexy blondes at all costs.
Another interesting aspect of Bloodsport is the dichotomy between Ray Jackson and Frank Dux. Ray Jackson represents the stereotypical American: loud, brash, in your face, and uncultured. He’s rude, but he’s also loyal…and kicks ass. And finally, he’s cocky, which actually ends up being his downfall. Those who are familiar with the movie know that there probably wasn’t any limit to what Ray could have done if he would have reigned in his attitude, had a bit more humility, and listened to his good friend’s advice.
Frank Dux is the American ideal. He’s soft spoken, but confident and strong. He’s distinctly American, but he’s honed his skills by drawing from the best of multiple cultures. He’s honorable and loyal, but he’s very much an individual. He doesn’t go out of his way to pick a fight, but he recognizes evil when he sees it and he’s not afraid to step in to right wrongs from time to time (e.g., the fighter who was forcing himself on the reporter in the lobby). Frank makes no apologies for who he is or where he came from, and his goal is to be the world’s best. Period.
Given these two characters, most of us would probably want to be Frank. However, it should be noted that both kick a**. As a representation of the country, it’s safe to say that the liberal scribe usually opts to have characters not kick a**. They turn into Matt Damon, who is only allowed to display awesomeness if a corrupt U.S. government is on the receiving end, or if an international tribunal of United Nations appointed diplomats (perhaps caught up in an oil-for-food scandal?) give him permission.
When conservatives talk to young people about Hollywood they need to bring up such points. Yet they don’t. All too often, today’s conservative leaders shun the entertainment industry or cast it off as an abysmal cultural cesspool not worth stepping in to. We need to tease out what’s cool and conservative in the entertainment industry (even if liberal writers create it inadvertently), and talk about those things. We need to redefine what’s cool and get young people clamoring for it, instead of casting off the industry entirely.
There will always be power players behind the scenes attempting to frame the debate and set the terms for what young people should and shouldn’t desire. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, we need t entire the fight, fight to win, and make the other side say, “Matté!” And besides,with guys like Markos Moulitsas on the other side’s bench, to not do so would be an embarrassment.