Bloodsport vs. Balance of Power – 9 Reasons Why Bloodsport Works Better

5. Superior Villain

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Balance of Power differs from Bloodsport in that it has two main villains. There’s Takamura, the lead henchmen and strongest fighter in the tournament, and the head boss, Hastishita. Hastishita mostly gives commands; he rarely acts. In this sense, Takamura is the more present villain. And yet his interactions with Niko and friends is quite limited. He briefly threatens Niko at his dojo, Niko catches a glimpse of Takamura during the drive-by where Billy is shot, and then the rest of the time we see him fighting in the tournaments without any real interaction with Niko at all.

Takamura and Hastishita are villains in the sense that they do bad things, but the friction between them and the protagonists rarely surfaces. They exist purely to justify Niko’s and Matsumoto’s actions, but we don’t feel the connection between the two parties.

In Bloodsport, however, there is a subtle but consistent rivalry between Chong Li and Frank. He doesn’t say much to Frank, but he doesn’t have to:

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The rest of their rivalry is told with their eyes.

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This is a great way to show a story instead of telling it. We don’t need to be told that these guys are enemies because we are shown.

It also helps that Chong Li has decent characterization. In Balance of Power, Takamura comes out and shows us how crazy he is by picking up hot coals, but other than being intense, what does this tell us about Takamura?

Chong Li tells us who he is with gestures. Look at the dismissive way he enters the ring for his first match:

Head tilted back and cocky. He doesn’t do a kata or stretch or practice any forms before he begins to fight, he clears his nostrils. When the fight begins, he doesn’t even raise his arms to defend himself — he feels there’s no need.

Chong Li also frequenly does the pec dance to remind us how physically powerful he is:

And most importantly, we see how Chong Li loves the attention, loves the spotlight, which is one of the reasons he hates Frank so much because Frank threatens that popularity.

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