One of the many fun things about watching old movies is catching a glimpse of a now famous actor in a role back when they were young and hungry. This weekend I happened to catch, on cable, Jean Claude Van Damme’s first movie Bloodsport, which I hadn’t seen in more than a decade, and had completely forgotten that a very young Forest Whitaker had a supporting part in the film.
In the picture, he plays an Army military officer who’s assigned to track down and arrest Frank Dux (Van Damme), an Army officer who has gone AWOL to fight in an underground illegal martial arts tournament.
Whitaker, by the time this film was made back in 1987, had already appeared in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money , in a terrific scene, playing a pool hustler trying to con Paul Newman, as well as a role in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. So doing a Van Damme film might look like a step down, but hey, it was a gig, and promised an all expensive trip to Hong Kong, so why not?
On top of that, it was a martial arts film. You would have to be a dope to turn that down.
This is the scene where Whitaker and his partner finally catch up with Dux, but he gives them the slip, leading to a foot chase though Hong Kong, ending up in a har-de-har-har “hilarious” scene. Or at least that was the intention. Enjoy