Monday, November 23, 2020

Jiu Jitsu 2020

This film plays like a student film created using cell phone technology. Now imagine that same student film having access to a school for stunt performers and you will understand 90% of this film. You won't understand what the hell is going on but you can see why it was made in the first place. Add two famous costars like Nick Cage and Tony Jaa and this is what results. 

Non-stop fighting should not be this boring but it is. Not an ounce of original thought went into this one. It's derivative but in all the wrong ways. Could have been fun. Turned out to be tedious.

Most of the stunt men overact to each softly delivered kick and punch. I stopped being about to suspend the disbelief necessary for a movie like that. Another failure. For a minute I thought they just took the dailies and edited together whatever they could capture on film. It also appears that they wrote it as they went along.

It's like an SNL skit that went on a bit too long. I could deal with all those issues if the movie at least was fun. It's not. It's obvious and exhausting to watch. Nick Cage needs to take a long break from movies if this is all he has left to give to me.


The movie's "elite warriors must defeat an ancient alien invader" plot, adapted from a comic book by Logothetis and writer Jim McGrath, is a nonsensical mush of Stargate, The Bourne Identity, and Predator. Moussi plays Jake Barnes, an incredibly muscular man who gets chased by some deadly blades, falls in the ocean, gets picked up by a fisherman, and dumped at a U.S. military compound, where he's held for questioning. Jake can't remember who he is or why he's in Burma, but he quickly makes an important discovery: He has a gift for beating up soldiers. 

Eventually, Tony Jaa shows up to free Jake, and sets off the first of the movie's winningly staged fight sequences, which involves running and punching more soldiers. Occasionally, the camera switches to an annoying first-person P.O.V. mode, like something out of Hardcore Henry, but, with little rhyme or reason, the approach gets abandoned. It's just that kind of movie. Ideas get picked up and toyed with—for example, little animated comic-book interstitials appear between scenes—but then get tossed away.

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