TITLE: Kickboxer Vengeance
DIRECTOR: John Stockwell
WRITER: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath
CAST: Dave Bautista, Alain Moussi, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Sara Malakul Lane, Darren Shahlavi, Jean-Claude Van Damme
Eric Sloane (Darren Shahlavi; IP Man II) is an up and coming, champion fighter. Promoter Marcia (Gina Carano; Deadpool) tells Eric about an underground fight in Thailand that will sure to bring him fame and more money than he’s ever dreamed. Eric’s brother Kurt (Alain Moussi; Street Fighter: Resurrection ) tags along only to watch his brother get matched with the infamous Tong Po (Dave Bautista; Guardians of the Galaxy) whom kills Eric in the ring. Wanting to avenge his brother, Kurt tries to seek out Tong Po and challenge him, only nearly getting killed himself. Liu (Sara Malakul Lane; Sun Choke) a spunky police detective finds him a place to stay with reclusive trainer Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme; Kickboxer ). With Master Duran’s tutelage, Kurt becomes a stronger and agile fighter. Will Sloane be good enough to match against Tong Po in a battle to the death?
THE GOOD: In an outtake, Alain Moussi does Jean-Claude Van Damme‘s dorky dance moves from the original. The montages were silly; almost a parody of the original. Alain Moussi and Jean-Claude Van Damme should do another film together because their chemistry is great. I especially loved the add-on drunk fighter buddy Kavi (Georges St-Pierre; Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Dave Bautista is still working on his acting chops, and he does a decent job as the morose, but confident villain. Lots of original film callbacks which were great.
THE BAD: This is almost a shot for shot remake of the original, so you know exactly how the film’s going to end. The film quality is better and there is a better cast than the original, but it doesn’t have the awkwardly sensual Van Damme in the lead role. Montages were 80’s-90’s action movie staples, and they just don’t work here because they’re so damn cheesy. The side story with the detective was not necessary. I really didn’t care much about her character, but we were supposed to be led to believe she’s a badass that can handle her own. The fight scenes are good, but there’s not enough. The film is called Kickboxer, where’s the kicks? Since when are swords and other weaponry used in kickboxing?
There’s only a 5 minute featurette on this Blu Ray, so I couldn’t recommend purchasing this film; unless you are a total UFC fan to the point where you are obsessed. This is more of a wait for cable-watch with your buds experience.
TOTAL RATING: C+
REVIEWED BY: JM Willis