The Quest – A Retrospective

Anyone who knows me for long enough, knows I am a giant fan of Bloodsport. I event mentioned it as an alternative in my recent review of Mortal Kombat. Well, a very wise man let me in on the existence of The Quest, which he described a spiritual successor to Bloodsport. So, naturally I decided to watch it.

Sometimes, you meet a movie that defies all categorization. Logic and reason are thrown out the door for…something? I’m not talking masterpiece territory. I’m talking Cry Wilderness and Fateful Findings kind of lunacy.

Describing The Quest as a movie is too generous. It is a fever dream of inflated egos and lacking talent. It is a home for the washed up and the less skilled. It is an attempt to build a hollywood franchise from nothing. It is a wonder and a marvel that it exists at all, and it’s kind of shocking that amazing films are lost for all eternity, but we have The Quest.

But, I am just being an ass. The Quest is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s attempt to do Bloodsport all over again. To the point where I am not surprised there was a lawsuit over it. Exotic tournament. American martial arts hero. Weird rules. Etc.

Except this time, its fucking weird. WAY WAY fucking weird.

I’m not going to cover the plot point by point, cause I feel like its a disservice to The Quest‘s existence. But, I do want to mention that its all over the fucking place. The actual journey to the fighting takes over half of the film’s runtime. Here, get a taste of that:

In addition to mimes and street urchins, you have Roger Moore looking like he is here for the paycheck and will eat all the scenery that gets in the way. All the acting choices could have benefited from other takes or like…just…..everyone deciding not to embarrasses themselves.

The script is a convoluted mess that has to take fifteen leaps and bounds for something that should be as straight forward as a martial arts tournament.

Ok, the fighting. You are probably saying to yourself, “as long as the fighting is good, thats all that matters right? Ill sit through mimes and shit.”

Mmmmmm. Check this out.

There is a ton to unpack there, so lets unpack it all:

  • See that weird ass slo-mo? Yeah the whole movie is filled with this fucking shitty digital slo-mo that ruins everything
  • Who the fuck is the fight choreographer and why did this person design the most boring fights on planet earth
  • The whole film has decided to take the…im going to say racist approach of having individual fighters from countries. Not every country, just whatever they can stereotype the most. So Brazil has this big dance move (when he first enters the competition he is announced by a samba style thing) when he fights and the guy from China has different styles…in which he just acts like the animal in question.
  • You felt how like weird and stupid that fight felt. Like, nothing compelling you as a viewer? Thats every fight in the movie

The film also is clearly trying to capture Bloodsport‘s amazing close-ups and has no style or finesse about it. It feels tacked on for no reason and is often distracting to trying to understand what is going on, if you can.

The music is just the most fucking bombastic, wishing it was like 50s era hollywood epic kind of score that devolves back into the most stereotypical “look we are in a country somewhere in ASIA” thing.

And another thing. You think of Jean-Claude Van Damme, you think of fucking kicking ass right? Wrong. In this movie, he just gets his ass beat, over and over. I really don’t want to spoil the climax(?) of the film, but if you are expecting like really slick stuff from Jean-Claude, you will be surprised to see him flop like a fish. Go watch Hard Target instead.

Congregation, it’s a fucking trainwreck. The conclusion kind of just happens, and then the film ends. You are left questioning what you are doing with your life and why you watched the thing.

It defies categorization. It spits in the face of sanity. I feel dumber.

I feel like any of the discussion on the merits that I just did is totally pointless. You can’t engage with this type of movie on that level. This movie is a question mark trying to be an exclamation point. I am not even sure what else to say on the thing.

MST3k/4 – Seriously, how has RLM or MST3k not covered this. I kind of feel like this thing is ripe for a good hosing.

Holy shit I need a drink

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