Jiu Jitsu (2020)
Directed by: Dimitri Logothetis | 102 minutes | action, science fiction | Actors: Alain Moussi, Nicolas Cage, Raymond Pinharry, Mary Makariou, Tommy Walker, John D. Hickman, Eddie Steeples, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos, Philip Kkalas, Tony Jaa, Frank Grillo, Marrese Crump, JuJu Chan, Ryan Tarran, June Sasitorn, Dan Rizzuto, Rigan Machado, Jack Kingsley
‘Jiu Jitsu’ is based on the comic book of the same name by Dimitri Logothetis. He wrote the book especially to be able to make it into a movie. Amazingly, Logothetis got the green light for this. It is the first Hollywood production filmed in Cyprus, within a filming period of just six weeks. Logothetis originally wanted action star Bruce Willis in the film, but because he had already signed for three other films, he had to cancel. Nicolas Cage became his replacement. Cage filmed his part for the film in three days. As a result, the actor is only in ten minutes of scenes. Yet Cage is at the forefront of all production equipment. It’s pretty obvious why this is the case.
‘Jiu Jitsu’ is a very bad movie. So bad, in fact, that the above facts are more interesting than the print itself. The film’s uninspired plot focuses on an ancient order of Jiu jitsu masters. Every six years, these masters must battle Brax, a dangerous alien. Brax (who looks like a disapproved Power Rangers villain) isn’t about world domination, though. As long as the alien gets a good fight, he’ll leave again. Jake (Alain Moussi) is the newest member of the order to take on Brax. But when Jake loses his memory and then refuses to fight, a big problem arises. Suddenly the fate of the earth is at stake and the order is distraught. The mysterious Wylie (Nicolas Cage) might be able to help, but what is his motive?
While watching ‘Jiu Jitsu’ it is very clear to anyone who has ever seen John McTiernan’s ‘Predator’ (1987) where the film got its inspiration from. From the alien who has the technique to make himself invisible in the jungle, to the muscles that are being killed one by one by this creature. It’s right on top of it. Some scenes even seem to have been copied identically. It’s hard to ignore excessive plagiarism, but if we take this for granted for a moment, does ‘Jiu Jitsu’ at least have original finds of its own? No Unfortunately not. We’ve all seen this before. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s what a movie shouldn’t be under any circumstances: it’s boring.
Logothetis never tries to give a different twist to his clichéd plot elements. The main character with amnesia is a good example of this. We learn next to nothing about Jake. As a viewer you are constantly waiting for the moment when his amnesia will play a crucial role in the story, but this never happens. Gradually, his handicap is even omitted. The characters forget it and it is never brought up again. Amnesia isn’t that impactful at all, the film seems to want to say. Maybe Logothetis should have watched a little less “Predator” and a little more “Bourne” movies.
The performance of the actors is also unconvincing. Leading actor Alain Moussi remains one-dimensional throughout the playing time. His facial expressions can be divided between the ingredient list on the back of a pack of muesli and the endless emptiness of a black hole. A bitter disappointment, however, is especially Nicolas Cage, who, on the contrary, could have stayed longer on screen until Moussi. Cage has starred in many B-movies over the years, but unlike many other downtrodden actors (like Willis), he’s always had the ability to deliver on his chosen films through his utterly maniacal acting. However, in ‘Jiu Jitsu’ he doesn’t get the time for his usual stick. It appears, hangs for a moment, and then disappears again. mortal sin.
Starring Nicolas Cage, as the production material would have you believe, ‘Jiu Jitsu’ couldn’t have been much better. There is simply too much to do with the whole thing. But the movie could have been more bearable. And while a lot can be said about ‘Jiu Jitsu’ in its current form, bearable is a word outside its vocabulary.