The Kickboxer franchise has officially returned and it is currently available to watch on VOD, with the Blu-ray being released on November 8th. It doesn’t break any new ground story wise, as it is essentially a reboot of the original that features practically the same plot and the same characters swapped in for new actors. Despite the obviously formulaic plot, it delivers more than enough action to keep fans of the genre entertained and Jean-Claude Van Damme steals the show in a co-starring role. Kurt Sloan’s (Alain Moussi) brother is killed in an underground Muay Thai fight in Thailand. He goes to Bangkok and trains with Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) in order to fight his brother’s murderer and get his revenge (a noted story clone from the original).
If you’re expecting an epic story or some type of new twist on the genre, then you should seek out something else to watch. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel here and the purpose of the plot is mainly to further drive the fight sequences. Dialogue is kept to a minimum, opting for more training and fight scenes than conversation. The camerawork is well done and they make excellent use of the exotic Thailand locations and old world set designs. There are several stunning large scale scenic shots and a number of others that show off some of the beautiful temples located in that country. The fight scenes are all filmed well and the editing never detracts from them or makes them look overly choppy or hyper-edited.
Moussi takes the helm as the star of the feature, replacing Van Damme as the Sloane character that he portrayed in the original Kickboxer (1989). It’s hard to tell if he is going to become the next big action star, because he barely has any dialogue in this. There is no doubt about his physical abilities, as they do an outstanding job of showcasing his talents as a martial artist. Only time will reveal if this is beginning of something big for him, as this is his first major lead role. Even though Van Damme plays a secondary role, he absolutely stands out as the true star and shows that he can still kick butt at the age of fifty-five. He is in phenomenal physical shape and has several good fight scenes in this. The combination of Van Damme’s presence and Moussi’s physical abilities is most likely what has led to the announcement of Kickboxer Retaliation, expected to be released sometime in 2017.
|I may dress like Michael Jackson in this movie but I can still kick your ass, pal.|
The rest of the cast includes a who’s who of former professional wrestlers and UFC stars turned actors; this includes Dave Bautista as the main baddie, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, and Fabricio Werdum. They all feature the needed name recognition to bring in a collection of fans of action movies, WWE, and UFC. They all perform well in their respective roles; although Carano wasn’t really given much to work with. The rest of them each had at least one decent fight scene that they were involved in.
Make some popcorn or have a few drinks and just enjoy some pure entertainment, featuring some superb fights, a possible emerging martial arts star, and Van Damme at his best.
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