Kickboxer: Vengeance

"OK"

Kickboxer: Vengeance Review


The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops up in this rather cheesy remake in the old mentor role. Designed as the launch of a new franchise for martial artist Alain Moussi, this movie just about gets away with being a guilty pleasure romp. Although the predictability of the plot and the corny dialogue make it sometimes feel like a spoof.

Moussi plays Kurt, a fit young guy who travels to Thailand after his big brother Eric (Darren Shahlayi) is killed while fighting the thuggish master Tong Po (David Bautista). Posing as a seeker, he enters Tong Po's training temple and challenges the master to a duo. But of course he's not ready yet. With the help of the very hot young cop Liu (Sara Malakul Lane), who feels guilty because the police neglected to investigate Eric's death, Kurt tracks down Eric's trainer Durand (Van Damme). But can he improve his skills in time for the big showdown? And what is underground fight organiser Marcia (Gina Carano) up to?

The screenwriters assemble this story by numbers, adding in a number of real-life mixed martial-arts champions (their underwritten roles seem added in to distract fans from the simple plot). Director John Stockwell shoots and edits the film like a cheap B-movie, although the exotic locations look terrific. And of course there's a major fight about every five minutes, each with its own specific gimmick (like an instant rainstorm or two handy elephants to climb on). Even so, the fight choreography feels somewhat cursory, more flashy than brutal. But the real problem is that most of the fighters simply aren't up to the acting challenge. Moussi has a charismatic presence and a lithe, muscly physicality, but his scenes only work when he's punching or kicking someone's lights out. Even his interaction with an unusually relaxed Van Damme only works when they're physically sparring.

As a demonstration of physical fight skills, there's a lot to see in this movie, as shirtless muscle men dive into every scene with gusto, hands and feet blazing. But everything feels so formulaic that it's impossible to get caught up in the suspense of the story. The characters are intriguing, but never more than one note. And the tepid romance between Moussi and Lane feels added in simply for the sequence that crosscuts their glossy lovemaking with a much sexier training montage. In other words, it's good for a laugh, but not much else.

Rich Cline



Kickboxer: Vengeance

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd September 2016

Budget: $17M

Distributed by: Headmon Entertainment & Productions

Production compaines: Radar Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Dimitri Logothetis, Rob Hickman, Allen Knudson, Samuel Cory Timson, Nicholas Celozzi,

Starring: Alain Moussi as Kurt Sloane, as Tong Po, Sara Malakul Lane as Liu, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Durand, Darren Shahlavi as Eric Sloane, Georges St-Pierre as Kavi, as Promoter

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.