“I am the punishment from God. If you have not sinned greatly then God would not have sent a punishment as great such as me.” - Genghis Khan
Blending Asian philosophy, hard-hitting fast-paced fight sequences and urban gangster drama, director Ben Ramsey’s “Blood and Bone” is pretty solid as a martial arts actioner. Despite the unoriginal premise and flimsy plot devices, the film stays aloft with the displays of bloody, brutal fights and the skills of one Michael Jai White (Spawn) who just grabs the screen with his charisma. This is his follow-up to the highly entertaining “Undisputed 2” and the man delivers the blows to break the “bone”.
Isaiah Bone (Michael Jai White) is an ex-con who after being paroled, goes on to rent a room in a not-so desirable neighborhood. He hooks up with a small-time street fighting promoter named Pinball (Dante Basco), to conquer the Los Angeles underground street fighting circuit who is ruled by a mob boss named James (Eamonn Walker). Bone goes through the competition one by one, each fight is harder than the one before until he calls attention to himself that James recruits him for the biggest underground pay off of them all; James sets him up to fight against the “Consortium’s” best fighter. But Bone has a hidden agenda and things aren’t the way they seem…
“Blood and Bone” has a plot that is very unoriginal. We’ve all seen this premise in movies such as “Lion Heart”, “Fatal Contact” and “Hard Times” and quite frankly the film offers hardly anything new. An ex-con with a heart of gold who wants to have a shot at redemption and a sleazy selfish gangster who dreams of the real “big time” are formulas that have been overused many times. Some details of the plot require a suspension of disbelief and characterization on the part of its supporting characters are very flimsy but the direction covers up the flaws in the script with the way it overloads the screen with numerous exciting fight sequences.
Director Ben Ramsey portrays the “Bone” character as something out of the pages of a chambara film and spaghetti westerns. The man is an enigma as we really don’t know much about him until the second half. He is a fantastic fighter and obviously he is a man on a mission. The plot is a little predictable to those used to these types of films; yet, I found the main character very interesting and thought that the mysteries of his persona to be the film’s main strength. We don’t really know how he learned to fight like that and he seemed to appear at times when he is needed. Yes, the film leaves a lot of the plot details to the imagination and honestly, some may say that it is lazy storytelling but the direction keeps the pace fairly tight despite the amenities of its plot. The links to Bone and Angela (sexy Michelle Belegrin) is predictable but at least the screenplay doesn’t attempt to be pretentious and it only has one goal…to entertain with fight scenes.
Now does the film deliver in the fight scenes? Michael Jai White always knew his stuff and I was very impressed with him in “Undisputed 2”; White doesn’t disappoint with this film. For a large man, he is agile and is amazingly quick; and what is more amazing is the fact that he shuns all wire work and does the moves the old-fashioned way, skill. Much of his opponents are your typical street fighters, tough and dirty but most do lack discipline. The last fight with Price (Matt Mullins) was very good and cool in its own way and this was the only time that I felt Bone had the risk of losing. I was a little disappointed that the final fight wasn’t as well-choreographed and that the katana sword looked very fake (this is a major sin in action films). Despite the flaw there was no doubt that Bone was going to prevail, this was a good Michael Jai White show.
So what makes an action film stay aloft? It usually depends on how convincing the main actor is in the role and White has the appearance of a highly-skilled fighter. The fights were brutal and bloody (some CGI to enhance the old-fashioned gore effects) that action junkies will not be disappointed. “Blood and Bone” is a low-budget affair but it isn’t your usual “direct-to-dvd” popcorn snooze. It plays all its cards right; it doesn’t pretend to be anything else and provides solid action entertainment.
BLOOD & BONE I have been waiting for a martial arts film or what most call a "fighting" movie that actually had a real storyline and interesting characters. After all the searching I finally came across this wonderful piece of filmmaking called "Blood & Bone". This movie is very enjoyable with excellent fight scenes, wonderful acting, and a great story behind it all. The great thing is that I thought the director did … more