For a movie entitled Jiu Jitsu, this trailer sure feels like a Predator reboot with a side helping of crazy Nic Cage. (He appears to be in full Face/Off glory in the trailer.)
Which is surprising, considering from whence it came. Creator Dmitri Logothetis has a bunch of martial arts bona fides—having immigrated to Los Angeles from Greece at age six, he first studied Tang Soo Do, receiving his first black belt in that discipline in 1975. He then trained under the legendary Ed Parker, earning his black belt in Kempo in 1978.
Logothetis has had a long career in Hollywood, occasionally working on projects that reflected his interest in martial arts. In 1989, he produced a documentary about Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier called Champions Forever.
Later, he acquired the rights to the Kickboxer franchise, and wrote, produced and directed Kickboxer: Vengeance. Jean-Claude Van Damme returned to the play the role of mentor to a protégé portrayed by sixth degree black belt in jiu jitsu, Alain Moussi. Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, and Georges St-Pierre rounded out the cast.
Given this dedication to the martial arts and MMA athletes, and the title of the movie, it seems strange how sci-fi heavy the storyline appears to be. Originally created as a comic book by Logothetis, he also wrote the screenplay adaptation. While he originally wanted to cast Bruce Willis to play Wylie, Nicolas Cage stepped into the role. Famously, Cage has trained with UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie, and has also studied Wing Chun and Jeet Kung Do.
Cage, a big fan of Bruce Lee, has said he wanted to do a martial arts film. Enter Jiu Jitsu, the first Hollywood movie shot entirely in Cyprus. He is joined by martial arts stalwarts Tony Jaa and Alain Moussi in this sci-fi martial arts film. Which, again, just really—really—feels like a remake of Predator. But with jiu jitsu, apparently?
Jiu Jitsu hits select theaters and is available on demand Nov. 20th.