#REVIEW: “JIU JITSU”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
We admit the first thing that drew us to Jiu Jitsu was Nicolas Cage. However, in its absolute insanity and over-the-top, adrenaline-filled action, Jiu Jitsu holds its own weight even without enough of him.
The Movie starts with Jake (Alain Moussi) running away from invisible ninja star-throwing enemies in the forest. To try and escape, he jumps off a cliff, injures himself and is brought to a local US base. It appears that Jake lost his memory being injured in his escape from alien Brax (Ryan Tarran) and is then rescued by his team of Jiu Jitsu fighters, consisting of Carmen (JuJu Chan), Harrigan (Frank Grillo) and Keung (Tony Jaa). Brax is hunting down the Jiu Jitsu fighters, which is his mission every six years and if they fail, Brax destroys the world. On an attack by Brax, Jake falls down a rabbit hole where he meets Wylie (Nicolas Cage), whom also is a member of the Jiu Jitsu. The team plots Brax‘s takedown and lure him back into the cosmic hole to ensure that they have another six years on Earth.
Jiu Jitsu is exactly as crazy as you’d expect, but contains plot holes that never quite get explained. The constant switching from third-person to first-person perspective, combined with constant cuts during action sequences, can be a lot to process. However, if one can overlook this, the Film is a silly, albeit enjoyable experience. Moussi is a Stuntman, so the action set pieces look incredible. His ability to perform and make his moves look so incredibly-real is our favourite thing here. Cage doesn’t get nearly enough time to shine and we wanted more. Chan, Jaa, and Grillo together ground the Film, not an easy task considering this is an ambitious and challenging story to adapt by Comic Book Creator Dimitri Logothetis, whom also directs.
While the Film is meant to by fun, we will say that Jiu Jitsu at times takes itself a bit too seriously. It views like an over-the-top action sizzle reel and should’ve gone all the way with it. That being said, the Film does successfully take its Comic Book origins, while borrowing a bit from alien movies and ridiculous action flicks, amounting to fun experience.
VVS Films releases JIU JITSU digitally and on-demand Tuesday, January 26, 2021.