“Jiu Jitsu” Movie Trailer Is Explosive Stuff

It’s here. 

The new “Jiu Jitsu” movie trailer is out with a significant absence. There’s no Jiu Jitsu. There’s kicking, punching, stabbing, sword-fighting, shooting, more shooting, explosions, Ninja stars, crashes and throwing stuff action. Even Samurai style sword-fighting.

But for a movie named “Jiu Jitsu,” you would think there would be at least one technique in the trailer. Nada. Check it out.

Still, it looks like an exciting, action-packed thriller flick and Nicolas Cage plays his typical typical role, a Ronin type, rogue kind-of martial artist. Long-haired, snarky. You get it right? It’s the same character he plays in a bunch of his movies.

“He’s crazy, like me,” Cage says of the alien, and of himself in the trailer.

There’s lots of celebrity punching power

But it’s not just Cage doing combat. There are some super fight scenes and there should be. Tony Jaa is in the movie. So is Frank Grillo, Juju Chan and Alain Moussi. That’s a whole lot of fighting power. Even one of the most famous BJJ ever, Rigan Machado has a part. He plays Victor.

And the sword-lugging humanoid alien is pretty cool, armored to his teeth, shooting what amount to Ninja stars. A total bad ass with an attitude. 

Here’s the gist of the movie: “Every six years an ancient order of expert Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a fearsome alien invader in a battle for Earth. For thousands of years, the fighters that protect Earth have played by the rules…until now. When Jake Barnes, a celebrated war hero and master Jiu Jitsu fighter, refuses to face Brax, the indomitable leader of the invaders, the future of humanity hangs in the balance. Injured and suffering from severe amnesia, Jake is captured by a military squad unequipped to fight the merciless intruder who have descended upon the planet. After a brutal alien attack on the military squad, Jake is rescued by Wylie (Nicolas Cage), and a team of fellow Jiu Jitsu fighters who must help him recover his memory and regain his strength in order to band together and defeat Brax in an epic battle that will once again determine the fate of mankind.”

Whew! I’m out of breath.

I figure there are a pair of reasons “Jiu Jitsu” the movie doesn’t feature Jiu Jitsu the martial art in its trailer. The movie was made by the same guys who made the adrenalin-pumping, testosterone rejuvenating movies “Kickboxer” and “Retaliation.” 

And grappling isn’t always the most exciting thing to watch, pretty much unless you are into Jiu Jitsu enough to recognize what is going on, on the mat. I mean, five minutes of watching two competitors trying to pull ankle locks on each other, well, is not prime, exciting cinema for most moviegoers.

Here is some real Jiu Jitsu pulled by celebs

That last movie or television scene where I saw some Jiu Jitsu was pulled by Bruce Willis in “Red.” Pudgy Paul Giamatti, of all actors, actually got submitted in a Gi a couple of times before gaining an armbar in the TV series “Billions.” (Great show BTW. You gotta watch it. It also has BJJ legend John Danaher as Giamatti’s character’s instructor). Each though was a different scene, in other words, no real set up just right to the submission. While maneuvering and the strategy in getting there is half the fun when you are a competing, for movies and television, there’s no such thing as getting there. Audiences are impatient. They want crazy action and they want it now so they can gobble up their popcorn, and guzzle their drinks. And hopefully some day, we will be able to do that again.

Other movies that I found that have genuine Jiu Jitsu include “Earth,” with Tom Cruise, who used a triangle choke; an armbar (what else?) by former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey in “Entourage;” former MMA fighter Gina Carano in “Haywire” with a rear naked; Keanu Reeves, “John Wick 2,” harai goshi. Kimura, rear-naked. He trained Jiu Jitsu and judo for the movie.

I kind-of discount Carano and Rousey. But Reeves and Cruise. That’s nice.

Still, I am going to watch the movie. Not in the theater (who knows if there will be any left if AMC files for bankruptcy), but video streaming, at home, on my couch. Gobbling popcorn and guzzling soft drinks.

Garrison Wells

Garrison Wells is a third degree black belt in Nihon Jiu Jitsu, third degree black belt in Goju Ryu karate and author of six books on the martial arts for beginning students. He is an award-winning journalist for writing, editing, and investigative reporting across the U.S. He lives in Albuquerque and is the owner of Live Oak Center for Martial Arts and Healing.

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