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The Character You Likely Forgot Forest Whitaker Played In Bloodsport

We can thank the 1980s for giving us Forest Whitaker and some of the biggest stars of the last generation. With movies catapulting actors like Whitaker, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Keaton, Bruce Willis, and Tom Hanks, the decade set us up for the 90s. One of the more influential movies to land in the 80s was "Bloodsport."

The 1988 in-your-face martial arts flick built on the martial arts tournament trope essentially invented by Bruce Lee and "The Karate Kid" before it by upping the brutality. "Bloodsport" follows American Frank Dux as he travels to Hong Kong to compete in a last-man-standing tournament called The Kumite. The event is by invitation only, and the winner is crowned the greatest fighter in the world.

Along with contributing to establishing the martial arts genre and continuing it into the next decade, "Bloodsport" introduced the world to none other than the "Muscles from Brussels," Jean Claude Van Damm. The movie would catapult Van Damm to be one of the premier action stars in the world over the next decade. On top of that, it would showcase the talents of a future superstar in the background, Forest Whitaker.

He chased Van Damm around Hong Kong

One of the aspects of "Bloodsport" that made the film so compelling was that Frank Dux (Van Damm) wasn't supposed to be there. Not only is he a westerner, who are rarely invited to the tournament, but he went AWOL from the Army to compete in the tournament to bring honor to his shidoshi, Tanaka. The Army, however, wasn't going to take his absence lying down.

Colonel Cook (Ken Boyle) enlists the services of Helmer and Rawlins (Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker) to track Dux down and bring him back to his duty station to face the consequences. What follows is a chase all over Hong Kong for the two (let's call them bounty hunters). What begins as a comical chase scene through the streets ending in a fall off a boat culminates in the enlistment of the Hong Kong police. During a confrontation on the last day of the tournament, the two finally relent and allow Dux to compete (clearly, they had no choice as he already alluded them and bested the police). The final scene sees them all get on a plane together to head home after Dux won the championship, as he promised in the beginning.

While it was a small part, Whitaker's Rawlins went a long way to giving the film more depth and showcased more of what Forest Whitaker had to offer, assisting in jumpstarting a career still going strong today.