I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Jai White and think he is really underrated. Blood and Bone displays one the best martial arts choreographed straight to dvd movies I’ve ever seen. This kind of film is perfect for White because he is a professional martial artist who holds seven black belts in various disciplines. More importantly, what he shows in this film is something that should not be missed by anyone with an eye. It is not the typical fight movie, where the main character goes to various scenes to fight the best fighters and crowned the champion after he defeats the most-feared/best fighter at the end.
Michael Jai White plays a character who is a recently released convict who is looking to move on with his life. There is only one thing standing in his way of doing that, a jail house promise he made to a now deceased friend behind the walls. So he has to make a name for himself leading to a showdown with the man who killed his friend. After watching, The Wrestler last year, it is good to see former WCW wrestler and actual martial artist Ernest The Cat Miller in another good performance in his fight with MMA star Maurice Smith who also is good in this. This, however, is the first film where White really gets to show off his stuff as a martial artist and it’s about time. Some fights are better than others but I doubt anyone will complain. You won’t ask yourself the silly questions of why is he there, how did he get into this situation or why does he have to fight this guy. To me, that is major kudo points.
Blending Asian philosophy, fast-paced fight sequences and urban gangster drama, Blood and Bone is pretty solid as a martial arts actioner. Even better than all of the above though, for this type of movie anyway, the characters don’t immediately show you what they’re all about. Between all the action there’s also some quieter, less crazy but still tense moments, which also helps for the story’s pay off. I think Michael Jai White is a great actor and very underated. He really brought it to this film and I truly enjoyed it. I wish he could make more films like this with a better budget and then he really would get his chance to shine.
Though its editing leaves something to be desired, the film is surprisingly well-written and even more so surprisingly choreographed in terms of fight scenes. It does get a little slow toward the ends and culminates in a predictable confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist, but it is nothing that will distract you from thinking this is a well made film. This film brings nothing new to the table but it is a lot of fun and I don’t see how any of my reader wouldn’t enjoy this flick. Also be sure to check out Michael Jai White in Black Dynamite, another truely classic film.