As part of my movie watching for TGGeeks I’ve decided to take a look at movies for the LGBTQ community that have probably flown under most people’s radar, and this time I’m going to examine the 2010 martial arts action movie, Body Blow.
Businessman and model, Kelly has accepted a modeling assignment in Manila. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s been brought there under false pretenses as his “employer” is a mob boss and big businesswoman criminal Shao Yin. When Kelly doesn’t return home, his best friend and martial arts champion, Casper, travels to Manila in the hopes of finding him. His investigation pairs him up with an overly enthusiastic taxi cab driver named Bayani, and then he ends up locking horns with an Interpol agent named Jenny. Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, he learns that there is more to Shao Yin than previously thought. Shao Yin is using Kelly as bait to get Casper, she plans to carry Casper’s child, marry him, and then sacrifice him to the Opal Dragon in the hopes that he can survive the blade.
Does this sound even remotely familiar? What we have here is a very poor reinterpretation of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China, only this time set in Manila and given some of the worst production I have ever seen. First, this is a movie that was found on HereTV, and given my love for martial arts films, even some of the more cheesy ones, I thought that adding some type of LGBTQ element might make this more enjoyable. Sadly I was quite mistaken. There isn’t any LGBTQ content here, except we see a lot of shirtless men. There are no LGBTQ characters, but there does appear to be one hell of a bromance between Casper and Kelly. Aside from that, I couldn’t think of any reason why this movie should be on HereTV.
Despite being a reinterpretation of the cult favorite by Carpenter, this movie is sadly quite bad. There is little to redeem it. The acting is subpar at best sometimes, and despite being shot in English, some of the characters had their lines dubbed in English anyway, and the dubbing was at times just dreadful. This then leads to the next item and that is the action. Now as I said earlier, I love martial arts films, ranging from the somewhat corny Chinese movies that helped to inspire Quentin Tarantino make Kill Bill, which both volumes 1 and 2 are among my favorite of this particular genre, to the artistic and ballet-like wonder of the movies Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I’m also big on movies that attempt to give a more serious take on the subject, which includes the timeless Bruce Lee classic Enter The Dragon. Having watched these movies I’ve tended to become a bit spoiled on the quality of the action because Body Blow had inconsistent action sequences. Some of them looked good, but sadly the majority of them were quite poor. The movements were so slow that I could have easily dodged any incoming punch or kick. To compensate for that director David DeCoteau (who also wrote the story) does quick repeats of sequences through editing in an attempt to emphasize the power of the knock out punch. And speaking of knock out punch, DeCoteau used an unusual gimmick by using a special effect that gave the appearance of blood being splattered on the lens of the film camera anytime Casper knocked out his opponent. Not only was it ineffective, but its incongruity with the rest of the movie continued to take me out of the movie-watching experience whenever he would employ it. Lastly, the method in which this movie is filmed is quite peculiar. Some scenes are filmed in what is supposed to pass as natural color, but almost all of the scenes involving Shao Yin appear as if they were through blue-tinted aquarium glass. I don’t believe that this was an attempt to give the appearance of dusk. It simply looks like it was some form of artistic license to do this. Unfortunately, it only served as a distraction lowering the quality of an already badly made movie. If I had to mention anything positive about this movie is that it does provide for some lovely scenery in Manila, but that’s about all this movie does positively deliver.
Up until now the movies that have been made available for the LGBTQ community have at the very least been disappointing and ranging all the way up to spectacular. Body Blow, however, is the first movie to set the bar at a new low. I’m not sure who the intended audience is for this movie, but given that it’s on HereTV there is the automatic assumption that members of the LGBTQ audience would find it enjoyable. I can assure you that this movie does nothing of that sort. If that was its intended demographic then this movie failed miserably. This leaves fans of martial arts movies, and given the largely bad choreographed fight sequences, I can say that this failed equally as badly. Simply put, Body Blow is sadly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and if you’re ever looking for content on HereTV, let me do you a favor. Skip this movie. I normally don’t make a habit of speaking badly about any independently made movie (I can’t see any big studio getting behind this one), but this is without question a seriously badly made movie. If the premise interests you then just find a copy of Big Trouble In Little China instead.
On a personal note, I had to watch Body Blow using the HereTV app on my iPad and then Airplay it over to my AppleTV because the app for the AppleTV was stalling badly roughly every 18 seconds, making it virtually impossible to watch. Maybe I should have considered that to be a sign from the universe. In any case, I used the iPad app instead, which made the viewing experience only slightly less intolerable.
Body Blow can be found here on HereTV.