Jiu Jitsu (2020)

Dimitri Logothetis

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Alain Moussi, Frank Grillo, JuJu Chan, Tony Jaa, Rick Yune, Nicolas Cage

Intending to kickstart a franchise, writer and director Dimitri Logothetis has crafted an interesting idea. Every six years, an alien invader returns to Earth to fight the best warriors the human race has to offer. From special ops soldiers to martial arts experts, the future of humanity hangs in the balance. This blend of Predator and Mortal Kombat has high potential, but the execution unfortunately misses the mark.

For a film focused upon its action, it's worth mentioning how great the casting is. The martial-artists utilise their strengths very well, serving as the film's highlights. This makes it rather puzzling how their skills are undermined throughout. The pulse-pounding energy of these scenes are undercut by needless slow-motion, while dizzying camerawork and darkly lit scenes obscures the talents of the assorted cast. Sadly, this isn't the end of odd choices made throughout. From early on, comic-book style interludes are thrown into the film, a choice which adds nothing to the picture. There are also strange camera choices, as one-scene appears to be filmed from the cast-members chests, and a first-person action sequence feels ripped from a VR game. These are interesting choices to shake up the film, but just feel like intrusive distractions we didn't need.

Unfortunately, there's just little tension in watching underdeveloped cannon fodder fighting a super-powerful alien. We're given little reason to care for the characters, including the blank-slate of a lead whose amnesia plot seems to exist for a lacklustre twist. At the very least, Nicolas Cage is entertaining as Wylie, a sword-wielding, long-haired Yoda style figure. In spite of this flourish, it's disappointing how dull this story is. It ends with a character remarking "See you in 6 years", but personally, I wouldn't be sad if we didn't.

Jiu Jitsu is available on Digital Download 21st December, and on Blu-Ray & DVD 4th January