Every single thing about Jiu Jitsu sounds as though it’s the product of a fever dream, or perhaps even a trip caused by the misuse of psychedelics. For all we know, it could even be both, because the sci-fi martial arts actioner is absolutely off its rocker in terms of conception, construction, and execution, for a myriad of weird, wild, and wonderful reasons.
Co-writer and director Dimitri Logothetis deserves some credit for wrangling such an unwieldy array of disparate parts into a semi-cohesive genre flick, even if a 28 percent Rotten Tomatoes score is far from a stellar return. Audiences enjoyed it a great deal more, though, which was to be expected given that the major selling point of all the marketing materials was Nicolas Cage fighting aliens with a sword while wearing the latest in his never-ending procession of terrible wigs.
Sadly, Cage has a lot less screentime than the trailers would have you believe, but it’s not as if Jiu Jitsu is lacking in the ass-kicking department when grizzled great Frank Grillo, international superstar Tony Jaa, VOD veteran Alain Moussi, former Bond villain Rick Yune, and rising star JuJu Chan rounded out the ensemble.
The plot is as simple as it is silly; every six years, intergalactic invaders descend upon our planet to try and kick off a hostile takeover, with only masters of the titular fighting style capable of stopping them. Fortunately, Netflix users have a soft spot for such ridiculous things, as evidenced by the fact that Jiu Jitsu has instantly crashed onto the platform’s worldwide watch-list as its 12th top-viewed title per FlixPatrol, having cracked the Top 10 in 18 countries since being added to the library.
Cage enthusiasts may be disappointed, but everyone else gets exactly what they were promised.