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The new movie, Jiu Jitsu, starring Nicolas Cage, Alain Moussi, and Marie Avgeropoulos came out yesterday. When the trailer dropped I was highly critical of the movie, showing mainly karate and capoeira and precisely zero Jiu Jitsu. I was not excited going into the movie and saw it as a chore for this piece right here. I felt it my duty to inform you guys about this move and let’s just say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Full disclosure, I enjoy bad moves. But this wasn’t a bad movie, about 15 minutes in, I finally got what the movie was about: a nod to Bruce Lee, Star Gate and Marvel Comics. After all, it is based on Logothetis and Jim McGrath’s comic of the same name. You shouldn’t take the movie too seriously going in, just sit back and enjoy some actual good choreography, average special effects, and a story you don’t have to think about.
There will be mild spoilers so reader beware.
Jiu Jitsu Review
I will start out with a couple criticisms of Jiu Jitsu at the top of the review. First, it’s obvious the directors understood fight scenes but the writers did not the specific arts themselves. One line, Nicolas Cage says, “You have Jiu Jitsu” like it as chi or something. The special effects are sub par but, with a small budget, beggars can’t be choosers. It wasn’t that long ago that viewers had to suspend disbelief for this kind of stuff anyways.
Another thing that bothered me was the title. The movie is called Jiu Jitsu. While there is some Jiu Jitsu in the movie, it is predominately karate, taekwondo and capoeira. Then, to cap things off, it takes place in Myanmar/Burma, home of Lethwei. To my memory, I don’t recall one single headbutt in the movie, which frustrates me. But, that’s just me being nit picky.
The movie does some cool things with the fight scenes. If you’re a fan of karate masters beating up hoards and hoards incompetent “bad guys,” this will be an enjoyable movie for you. There are some cool scenes like a first person fight that’s very reminiscent of Hardcore Henry, a movie I also enjoyed.
In the first half of the movie, I was worried about the movie being titled “Jiu Jitsu” and not having actual Jiu Jitsu in it. But, 43 minutes in and we see our first olmaplata, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Nicolas Cage plays his typical, crazy hippie type role in the movie and it’s actually quite fun given the setting and tone of the movie. If you don’t believe that there’s Jiu Jitsu in the move, here’s Nic Cage doing a heel hook on an alien.
The Conclusion of Jiu Jitsu
No, this movie is not perfect. The special effects aren’t very good, the story is ankle deep, but for all intents and purposes, this movie does its job: a pretty fun sci-fi move that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
While it’s not a must see, even by martial arts fans standards, if you’re looking for something to tune out on, Jiu Jitsu will do the job.