By: John M Jerva

This weekend, I was suppoosed to attend the Boston Ace Comic Con but due to circumstances I’m sure you’re all aware of it was cancelled so I had an extra day off work to enjoy some great films. I go to watch recent hits like The Hunt and The Invisible Man but I also got to break out some tried and true martial arts essentials like Bloodmoon starring the great Gart Daniels along with the late, great Darren Shahlavi who is on bad guy duties and is in fine form.

The film which was an HBO World Premiere move back in 1996 featured Daniels as Ken O’Hara who is a former elite “Mindhunter” who is a specialist on the police force who can get in the minds of seriel killers and discover what makes them tick in order to bring them down. It’s a nasty job and one that can lead to bad things happening if you’re not careful.

O’Hara’s last case didn’t go well and he was left physically and psychologically damaged where he was forced to enter early retirement. Unfortunately, there is a lethal killer on the loose who is taking on and killing the world’s greatest fighters and this forces O’Hara out of retirement where he teams up with resident police detective and fellow martial arts badass Chuck Baker, played by real life martial arts wiz Chuck Jeffreys, and together the two set out to find the killer and take him out before anymore victims hit the city morgue.

This film was released during the heyday of the martial arts action boom on home video and it seemed like there were at least two of these types of films coming out every week. Some rose to the the top like this one while others didn’t fair as well and most of the time it was due to the level of talent involved. Here we had a recipe for action greatness as Daniels, Jeffreys and the late Darren Shahlavi all brought it in the action and fight choreography department and with international action maestro Tony Leung, who also helmed the pic, serving up the film’s epic and Hong Kong inspired bone crunching sequences, this one is a film that action enthusiasts watch as of today. I happen to be one of them if you couldn’t tell.

During the 90’s, Daniels starred in a host of action oriented flicks and while most of them featured dazzling martial arts wizardry, Bloodmoon was a fine example of how a western martial arts action film could give the Hong Kong crowd a run for their money. Of course, it helped that the film was locked and loaded with non-stop fight action with premiere talent like wrestling ace Rob Van Dam. This is a virtual action lovers dream come true.

Now this film came from the fine folks at Seasonal Film Corporation who were also responsible for other classic fisticuffs fueled films like King Of The Kickboxers with Loren Avedon and Billy Blanks, and the No Retreat, No Surrender films. Now, a lot of these flicks lifted the cheese factor to 10 and the acting was way over the top but that didn’t matter becuase it was all about the action and the death defying skills of the fighters on screen.

Bloodmoon features some of Daniels best fight work and he definitely rose to the occassion with this one and demonstrated that he could flash his fists and feet with the best the Asian action cinema world had to offer. Jeffreys, who was a master of some crazy and mad skills himself, was great as Daniels’ partner and he served up some fine comedic relief and it also helped that he basically looks like Eddie Murphy but Eddie Murphy if he was a Karate pro.

There’s multiple fights aplenty here with the standouts being a two on one affair in an apartment building and the finale where Daniels and Shahlavi use everything and the kitchen sink to engage in a battle royale to end all battle royales. When two of the genre’s finest go toe to toe, it’s a thing of bone crunching beauty and here martial arts fans are treated to the best these two legends have to offer. It’s that good people.

Sadly, Shahlavi passed away back in 2015 at the age of 42 and he was taken away from us way too early. It is comforting though that we have this film and all his other great works on film to remember him by and pay him the tribute he deserves because he was one of the greats.

Now I feel that this enough talk on the movie and it’s best to get down to business and watch some classic fight clips courtesy of YouTuber4 Yuki below. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out as you can find a DVD copy on the web because if you call yourself a true martial arts fan then you need this one in your collection!

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