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Film / Blood and Bone

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Blood and Bone is a 2009 American direct-to-DVD martial arts film directed by Ben Ramsey and written by Michael Andrews. The film stars Michael Jai White, Eamonn Walker and Julian Sands, and features martial artist Matt Mullins and MMA fighters Bob Sapp, Kimbo Slice, Maurice Smith, Gina Carano and Ernest "The Cat" Miller.

After being released from prison, Isaiah Bone (White) decides to make a name for himself in the underground fighting scene in Los Angeles in an attempt to fulfill a promise to a dead friend.

Flew largely under the radar and only earned 2.5 out of 4 stars at the News Blaze, though it has developed a cult following for its fight choreography and the use of prominent MMA fighters.

This movie contains examples of:

  • All Amazons Want Hercules: One of the street fighters (played by real-life MMA star Gina Carano) is very impressed with how easily Bone beats people up and gives him her cell number.
  • All in the Manual: Bone's first name is never seen or heard until the ending credits.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When James loses it and tries to kill Bone with a katana, he is instantly made to regret it. He gets beaten down with nothing but the scabbard of a Chinese jian and eventually gets his hand sliced off with his own sword.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: "Pretty Boy" Price. Described in-universe as "pound-for-pound, the best fighter in the world", and his entire appearance up until Bone takes over the fight shows as much (trying to get Bone to flinch at a feint, taunting him by giving him a free shot on the chin Roy Jones style). To his credit, he fared better than anyone else who fought against Bone in the entire movie.
    McVeigh: [seeing Price still in his suit] Do you want to change first?
    Price: [gives Bone a quick once-over] For what?
  • Asian and Nerdy: Pinball heavily averts this. He uses a lot of urban hood slang and curses just as much. He's basically Jake Long in a R-movie setting with no powers.
  • Ass Shove: In the end, James gets sodomised with a shiv.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: In his first two OHKOs, Bone takes a brief look at his opponent's warmups and notices the opening after throwing their techniques out...and swiftly exploits them.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Price wears a suit and gives Bone far more of a challenge than most other opponents.
  • Bathroom Brawl: Bone takes down some prisoners in the bathroom that try to ambush him without much effort.
  • Berserk Button: James really doesn't like people swearing around him.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: James responds to a racist tirade by relating a story about how rich white men from hundreds of years ago used to think they were superior to all the dark skinned savages they met until "one of the brothers dropped their loin cloth".
  • Boomerang Bigot: James to an extent, though he does come to the defense of his ethnicity when a member of another race badmouths it and him by extension.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: A random fighter gives Bone his hardest fight in the movie, and is the only one to cause him any injury.
  • Brick Joke: Pinball takes lower odds on Bone's first fight because he's a no-name fighter, and asks for the runner's suit. Later on, during Bone's winning streak, Pinball ends up winning the suit off that same bookie's back.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: How James presents his $10 million entrance fee for Bone to fight "Pretty Boy" Price.
  • The Brute: Hammerman fits this trope to a T. Large, imposing, none too bright, and savage to fight against...unless your name is Isaiah Bone.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Several inmates in prison try to ambush and kill Bone, despite the fact that he's extremely physically fit. When Bone turns around, he's very quick to show them why picking a fight with him was a bad idea.
  • But Now I Must Go: After fulfilling his promise to his friend Danny, Bone declines Tamara's and Pinball's offers to stick around, and walks off towards the sunset.
  • Celibate Hero: Though he gets the number of a female fighter after winning a match, is bribed with sex by James to fight for him, and shares tender moments with Tamara, Bone is never shown actually having sex with anyone. Even when he shares a bed with Tamara, they notably have all their clothes on.
  • Cloth Fu: Before being ambushed in prison, Bone soaks his shirt in water, then uses it as an improvised whip and blinder.
  • The Comically Serious: This little exchange after Bone clears out an entire crowd of fighters.
    Pinball: Goddamn! You just took out the whole village! The whole fucking village! *wooh's at the wad of money in his hands, previously liberated from an opposing gangster's pants, and promptly sniffs it*
    Bone: You know where that's been, right?
    Pinball: Goddamn you one crazy sonuvabitch!
  • Cold Ham: James speaks in a very low growl most of the time, but he's an obvious villain.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: This is Bone's specialty.
    • The Cowboy didn't stand much of a chance against the Hammerman after hurting his fist on the big man's forehead.
    • Except in the cases of Pretty Boy Price, who managed to get a few good licks in before Bone handed him his ass, and one of Bone's come-up matches against a guy in what looked like a strip club.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: James. He tries to come off as Wicked Cultured and Straight Edge Evil with a Foreign Culture Fetish collection of Eastern artifacts and talks of claiming to be a warrior scholar of Genghis Khan. He even claims to hate profanity. In truth, he's nothing but a vicious and sexist lowlife thug with delusions of grandeur trying to present himself as something he's not and the cultured charade disappears when things stop going his way.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Arguably subverted in the case of Bone and Angela, as he's only interested in her to fulfill a promise to his dying friend. Played straight with Tamara; he cites more pressing "business" and the fact that "[he's] trouble" as reasons to not stay with her.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Before the final fight, Bone accuses James of having his friend Danny sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, murdered before his release, taking Danny's wife Angela for himself, and having Bone's fellow boarder Roberto killed. James immediately cops to everything, unaware that Bone is secretly taping his confession on a cell phone. Bone sends the footage to Pinball, who presumably gives it to the police.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Pinball, no saint himself, is disgusted when retelling how James forced Angela to be his mistress by offing her husband in jail and supposedly her child as well, calling it "the kind of story that makes [you] lose faith in humanity".
  • Evil Sounds Deep: James has a pretty deep, gruff voice.
  • Excuse Plot: It's as bare-bones as you can get with a revenge story. Bone is out for revenge against a local mob leader who had his friend Danny framed for triple homicide and subsequently killed in prison.
  • Faux Affably Evil: James. Under the veneer of cheerful and cultured civility is a brutal crime boss who's a massive Sore Loser and thinks nothing of having a soon-to-be father framed, jailed, and murdered in prison in order to steal his wife.
  • Fight Clubbing: James has a huge stake in it, and Bones gets himself involved with Pinball as his promoter.
  • Guile Hero: Bone, in addition to being an action hero, is also manipulating events to the best of his ability throughout.
  • Heroic Build: Bone is seriously ripped. It's lampshaded too.
  • Hypocrite: Oh, James. He gets angry at people who curse around him, and says he doesn't drink. Cut to the climax of the movie, where you hardly see him onscreen without a curse word leaving his mouth or alcohol entering it.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: After watching Bone decimate the "Village people" with ease, the female fighter Veretta Vendetta hands him her number and asks him to call her.
  • Invincible Hero: 'Bone', even more than most of the heroes on that page. The only reason an opponent ever gets in a hit that actually leaves a mark is so he can get patched up by his Sassy Black Woman landlady and give her a Tai Chi lesson. It doesn't matter how many opponents he has, or what weapons they have, he pwns them. At least the other examples lose a fight or at least look like they might at times. Not Bone. The only two fights we see where anyone visibly land hits on Bone are during an indoor match where Bone and his opponent wrestled each other to the floor and Bone earned a scratch on his forehead, and with "Pretty Boy" Price, the best fighter in the world, in the final act.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The finale has a Double Subversion. James uses a katana to attack Bone, who easily fends him off with nothing but the scabbard of a jian. However, the katana is apparently so sharp that Bone is able to make James cut his own hand off just by lightly redirecting the blade with the scabbard.
  • Large Ham:
    Pinball: Alright, you mothafuckas and mothafuckettes!
    "Right about now, you'll be getting an idea about how the FUCK WE ROLL!"
  • Last-Name Basis: Isaiah Bone is never called by his first name on-screen.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Again, Bone. The guy is visibly ripped, strong enough to knock out the massive Hammerman without any fuss, and fast enough to take down 4 opponents without even being touched.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Big Bad James tries to put on this front. Deep down, he's just a thug, which is made all the more evident when he claims to not be a drinker, smoker or profanity user. But when his plans fall apart all around him, he suffers a Villainous Breakdown and loses all sense of composure, cursing repeatedly in every scene thereafter and, shortly before this, knocking back some scotch.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: So there's this girl you really like, but she's married to another man and about to have his baby. What do you do? If you're James, you have her husband thrown in prison for a crime he didn't commit, of course! And just to make sure there's nothing standing between you and the prize, arrange to have the husband murdered behind bars, the baby placed in foster care and get the girl hooked on drugs so she'll always be dependent on you. All's fair in love and war, right?
  • Not So Above It All: James. He usually raises a hand to Angela or otherwise shows disdain to people who swear in his presence, and also prides himself on not drinking or smoking. However, in the third act of the movie, when his plans start falling apart, he's cursing every third word and swilling down scotch while he's checking to see if his people have tracked down Bone yet.
  • N-Word Privileges: Bob Sapp (Hammerman) has it and uses it. Dante Basco? Not so much. Didn't stop him from using it, though. This movie was very much a product of its time.
  • One-Man Army: There's no putting Bone down, no matter how many people you throw at him. As Pinball so eloquently put it:
    Pinball: You just took out the whole village! The whole fuckin' village!!!
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: James, played by British actor Eamonn Walker, has his American accent slip a few times. It's most noticeable when he says "I am hurt!" right before he runs down a woman with his car.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: While we never learn much about him, we do learn that Bone had a twin brother, who was killed by Bone's enemies in a case of Mistaken Identity. He tells this story while serving time in prison.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A few but James most prominently. He actually attempts to avert this- he doesn't smoke, drink and (usually) avoids profanity, but deep down he's a violent and sexist lowlife with delusions of grandeur.
  • Prison Rape: At the beginning of the movie, JC notes that he's seen this happen to guys like Bone, despite their muscular builds. In a Call-Back, it's the final fate of James, who has a muscular build.
  • Rated M for Manly: Crime, asskicking, muscles, and profanity everywhere? They knew who they were making this movie for.
  • Really Gets Around: James thinks this of Bone after he sends Angela to seduce Bone into agreeing to fight Pretty Boy Price, then later finds him in bed with Tamara. Strangely, in the latter case, they are on top of the covers and fully clothed. Maybe he doesn't know how sex works…
  • The Scourge of God: With the Genghis Khan references it was to be expected but Isaiah Bone does fit the trope description as well. Bonus points for having Bone be the one to SAY the quote to James's face.
  • Sheath Strike: In the climax, James attacks Bone with a sword. One of McVeigh's men tosses a Bone a sword to even things up. Bone opts to to throw aside the sword and fight with the scabbard. Not only does he win but he takes off James's arm.
  • Signature Move: Bone can kick the shit out of people. He prefers a powerful thrust kick (and a leaping roundhouse kick) to finish his opponents. Justified, as Michael Jai White is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do (a kick-heavy martial art) in real life.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Pinball is a very vulgar man. James devolves into this as well during his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Bone plays chess with his cellmate Danny and gets into an Escalating War with fellow tenant Roberto.
    Roberto: I'm always thinking 3 moves ahead.
    Bone: That's checkmate. I play 4 moves ahead.
    Roberto: Checkmate. 5 moves ahead, young'un. (laughs as Bone stares in disbelief, then forks over his cash)
  • Sore Loser: James. The moment his plan starts falling apart, he dispenses with all his niceties and eloquence, hurling F-bombs and threats all over the place. Even when it's made clear that his fight with Bone is a lost cause, he refuses to just accept defeat. It costs him his arm.
  • Take a Third Option: In the final fight scene, James issues Bone an ultimatum: fight (and beat) "Pretty Boy" Price and win James his $10 million, or James goes back to town and kills everyone. Bone instead beats Price, forfeits the match, and gets James arrested shortly after.
  • Tempting Fate: Ecstatic after Bone decimates another opponent, Pinball declares that he'll take opponents on two at a time. The fighter's manager, upset at the loss and reluctant to pay up, immediately takes Pinball at his word and sends two more of his fighters after Bone. And then three… and then four – you know what? Just send everybody.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth:
    • Danny was a "choir boy" who was wrongfully imprisoned, leaving behind his wife and son. Despite everything, he remained optimistic and promised to look out for Bone after his sentence was up. However, he's killed in prison by KC.
    • Roberto was just a nice old man renting a room next to Bone and spent his days playing chess. Unfortunately, James has him silenced for witnessing one of his killings.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them:
    • When JC tries to stab Bone with a shiv, Bone easily disarms him and then stabs him in the shoulder with it.
    • In the climactic battle, Bone redirects a slash from James' katana to slice off James' hand.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Though James was shown to have a temper throughout the movie, we really see him lose it when Bone starts to take out his whole gang. He even throws his no-swearing rule right out the window when things stop going his way.
  • Wicked Cultured: James thinks he's this, specifically by claiming to be a warrior scholar of Genghis Khan.
    • Becomes a bit of Dramatic Irony as he is describing his philosophy and scholarship to Bone: the movie makes it clear that Bone, and not James, is "The Scourge of God" that Genghis Khan once claimed to be, and that it is James that will take the brunt of that fury.
  • World's Best Warrior: Pretty Boy Price is the reigning champion of the underground fighting tournament. Subverted when he is defeated by Bone and only retains his title because Bone chooses to forfeit.
  • Would Hit a Girl: James. With a car. He also raises his hand against Angela and chokes her out when she repeatedly curses at him.