That Donald J. Trump handed out pardons like candy at Halloween on his last days in office but neglected to pardon “Jiu Jitsu,” the new Nicolas Cage sci fi fantasy film, now on VOD, for its crimes against cinema is astounding. This movie is equally as bad as anything Roger Stone could have done and yet Stone gets a pass and “Jiu Jitsu” doesn’t. Incredible.
The bland yet still confounding plot sees an ancient band of jiu-jitsu warriors come together every six years to save the planet from a vicious alien with world domination on their mind. When their leader, the muscle-bound uber-soldier Jake (Alain Moussi) loses his memory and is captured by army intelligence, the mysterious Kueng (Tony Jaa) comes to the rescue and begins the process of helping him rediscover who he was before the amnesia.
Jake’s old team, ace fighters Harrigan (Frank Grillo), Carmen (JuJu Chan) Forbes (Marrese Crump) among them, and mentor (and paper hat maker) Wylie (Cage), must get Jake back to form to fight off the extraterrestrial and existential threat.
Nicolas Cage can usually be counted on to spice up even the dowdiest of b-movies but here, even his gonzo stylings add little to this leaden and dreary undertaking. You don’t expect much from a movie like “Jiu Jitsu,” just some fun action, some cheesy dialogue and a cool alien. Instead, we’re given loads of long, unremarkable fight scenes with obvious body doubles, kitschy dialogue that positively drips with queso and an ET in an ill-fitting Halloween costume.
“Jiu Jitsu” feels like warmed-over “Predator” with high kicks, samurai swords and a botched video game style.