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Kickboxer: Retaliation

I don’t know what I was expecting from KICKBOXER: RETALIATION, the new sequel to 2016’s KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE, which was a remake of the 1989 Cannon classic KICKBOXER. I waited for midnight Thursday to watch it on V.O.D. as soon as it became available, so clearly I was excited. But I didn’t think it was gonna be this good.

The original Kurt Sloane, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, only made it to his part 2 in the form of a body double unceremoniously shot to death in an alley, leaving three sequels to a never-mentioned-before Sloane brother played by Sasha Mitchell. The remake Kurt Sloane, played by stuntman Alain Moussi, gets to stick around. A different Van Damme character, Sloane’s mentor Master Durand, does survive for the sequel and continues to be the heart and soul of the series.

I love when sequels open with the character we know suddenly in a whole different place and life situation. My go-to example is RAMBO III, where we find John living in a temple in Thailand, winning underground stick fights for money. But this is more like a TEMPLE OF DOOM opening because we find Kurt in a tux, sexy salsa dancing with his now-wife Liu (Sara Malakul Lane, Seagal’s daughter in BELLY OF THE BEAST) on a train at night. They get attacked and he has to slow-motion fight some people, including on top of the train in pouring rain as it crosses a bridge, until they all fall off.

Okay, so it turns out to be a dream, that’s too bad, but at least it kept us wondering what the hell was going on for several minutes and now will act as a prophecy throughout the story, giving Kurt hints about future events. In the waking world he lives in Vegas competing in a legit MMA league until some guys claiming to be FBI agents come to get him for the murder of Tong Po.

Of course the VENGEANCE of part 1 was winning the death match against the guy who killed his brother in the ring. Is there another sequel where the hero faces the legal consequences of having avenged a bad guy in part 1? The guys aren’t really feds but they do bring him to Thailand and dump him off in a prison where everybody loves Tong Po and knows this was the guy who killed him. He’ll have to stay there for life unless he agrees to fight a death match against the new champion Mongkut (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, World’s Strongest Man contender and third guy to play “The Mountain” on Game of Thrones). Still, he says “Never again.”

RETALIATION follows in the VENGEANCE tradition of star-studded casting. Of course there are a bunch of MMA cameos (Wanderlei Silva, Frankie Edgar, Renzo Gracie, Renato Sobral, Fabricio Werdum) and Roy “Big Country” Nelson is an inmate who pretty much befriends Kurt on sight, warning him “They’re making a move on you” and trying to help him. But more importantly we find out that there’s a sleazy money man behind the death matches named Mr. Moore and he’s Christopher Lambert (FORTRESS 1-2, THE HUNTED, MORTAL KOMBAT, MEAN GUNS). His voice wavers a little now but he still has that accent and he wears suits, tempts people with money and women, smiles mischievously watching fights and sometimes picks up a sword.

I guess the big new name on the poster is Mike Tyson. But any time he’s in a movie he’s pretty much gonna be Mike Tyson, right? I mean, I’d like to see what happened if they put a wig on him or something, but that doesn’t happen here. I’d enjoyed him in IP MAN 3, but didn’t think it was exciting for him to be in another martial arts movie.

Wrong! As soon as his character Briggs shows up, turning around to fight Kurt because “You interrupted my meditation!”, he is a joy. They get a long, seemingly super-powered prison fight where his fists hammer our kickboxer in many painful ways. He manages to dodge many, causing those beasts to bust through wood, bricks, a steam pipe. The guards break up the fight, cut to the two of them strapped to crucifixes getting whipped, Sloane screaming and Briggs just looking at him. After that they are allies. Briggs becomes his trainer for punching and pain avoidance.

It’s a slick, well-put-together movie with beautiful photography and locations, but I enjoy that there are some maybe-unintentionally-odd bits of storytelling here and there. For example, immediately after he seems to have a new mentor in Briggs, we learn that his original mentor Durand is also in the prison as an accessory to the murder of Tong Po. And then Durand immediately reveals that “Mr. Moore blinded me” but it’s okay because now he can tap into his senses in a different way and predict people’s movements before they happen. It’s exactly the type of mystical bullshit I love to see somebody learn through a series of training montages, which is in fact what we will get here – he will practice with all these teachers, swing around upside down on a rope kicking targets, pose in a high kick wearing only shorts standing on top of a big rock next to the water, etc.

Durand wants to “see” Kurt’s opponent Mongkut, and since he’s blind they don’t think it’s a problem. They take him to the mad scientist lab where this 6′ 10″ “superior human specimen” who has killed over 20 opponents in the ring sits in a chair tuning a guitar while they shoot him up with an “adrenaline cocktail.” Then he lifts two monster truck wheels attached to a barbell.

“This is not the martial art way,” laments Durand. “It’s not the truth.” I love it. He warns Kurt that this guy is “four times Tong Po.”

Mongkut doesn’t have 1/4 the personality of Dave Bautista’s Tong Po, but he’s a good one-dimensional monster. He easily picks Kurt up by the neck and slams him against a wall or punts him like a football. He also puts Kurt’s wife in a coma with one errant swing, and shows zero remorse. I do really wonder about the guitar, though. It’s nice if he has an interest in music.

I have exactly one significant complaint about the movie. It’s tempting to call it ACPs (Action Comprehensibility Problems), but that’s not precisely it. I can follow the action, it’s just that there are a few parts where harsh edits or close-quarters handheld camerawork literally made me dizzy. Hopefully it won’t happen to everybody, because there is some great stuff in here and visible elbow grease put toward one-upping the action sequences from part VENGEANCE. Most significantly there are two long takes following him as he progresses through a series of opponents, each set to a song. The first one is his introduction to the general population at the prison and has him going down a hallway and swinging through some bars and strutting off with the remaining prisoners having seen enough to back down. The other is in public on a walkway – it begins with him eyeing each of the objects he will use as weapons and ends with a chase that involves two modes of transportation, one by land, one by sea. There’s alot of ramping to slo-mo in a way that glorifies him much like John Woo did to Chance Boudreaux.

Moussi is credited as fight coordinator along with fight/stunt coordinator Jean-Francois Lachapelle, who was the stunt coordinator for the Oscar-winning movie ROOM (!?). They must know each other from the stuntman days because they overlap on WHITE HOUSE DOWN, BRICK MANSIONS, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST/APOCALYPSE, WARCRAFT, SUICIDE SQUAD and several others. I think they’ve done a great job.

Admittedly, I like the character of Kurt Sloane more for his physicality in these scenes than his personality. That said, they give him a bunch of good smartass lines in this one, and a scene where he tells the guards to call the prison doctor and predicts the specific injuries he’s about to give his attackers. Reminds me of Clint ordering the coffins in A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.

Part 1 was directed by John Stockwell (TURISTAS, IN THE BLOOD) – I didn’t know if I should be nervous about screenwriter Dimitri Logothetis also taking on the director chair for the sequel, but honestly I think he’s taken what Stockwell established and built something more interesting on top of it.

Once again we have a movie with about ten or twenty times as much kicking as most movies that have any kicking. And there is also a whole lot of dodging. And some superman punches. And other.

It’s a prison movie and a fighting circuit movie, but it’s not confined to either of those things. Tyson comes off like a wise monk in a period kung fu movie, while Van Damme does one of his unpredictable character-actor performances – you never know when he’s going to say “You have to start to train” after multiple training montages, or “I hate violence, I need to go to the bathroom,” at the beginning of a big match.Van Damme also gets to spar a little with Tyson and sword fight with Lambert. And there’s a part where Mr. Moore’s bikini-clad companions seem like they’re trying to seduce Kurt, but then they attack him and run into the dark and their lipstick and tattoos glow in the black light. And some other crazy shit I won’t give away. I really liked this movie.

Thankfully another is already planned. IMDb calls it KICKBOXER: ARMAGEDDON, while Wikipedia calls it KICKBOXER: THE SYNDICATE, and “the third and final in the trilogy.” Now come on guys, let’s not be so hasty. AVATAR is doing three sequels. The original KICKBOXER had four. Let’s keep our minds open about how long this thing can continue. The world may be a flaming bag of shit right now, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve an ongoing KICKBOXER series to always be looking forward to. Please, we need this.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 29th, 2018 at 10:43 am and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

55 Responses to “Kickboxer: Retaliation”

  1. I have to admit my heart sank a little to read Tyson described as “a joy”. I really don’t get why he gets a pass these days.

  2. I really liked this one too. When I saw VENGEANCE I didn’t really like but enjoyed it more on a re-watch but this one out-does that one in seemingly every possible way. More involving story/drama, better action, and more style. If anything this movie gives us a sword fight between a Time Cop Person and an Immortal.

    Only bummer was that VENGEANCE shockingly played in theaters down here while this one did not. I think I would have broken my solo-theater boycott to see this one.

  3. Seeing this in theaters this week. Nice to hear Mike Tyson is a delight.

  4. Kev: Because he went to jail, served his time, and has not been accused of anything else since? You know, the way our prison system is supposed to work? If you can’t allow that people have the ability to redeem themselves, I don’t know why you watch movies in the first place, because that’s what every single one of them is about.

  5. What exactly IS the deal with Mike Tyson? Every time I try to do some research, I first stumble across “he is a convcted rapist” stories, followed by “he spent time in jail based on a case that wasn’t clear and it seems like he was innocent” stories.

    Is he the black Woody Allen or is he a rape culture posterboy? Anybody of you trustworthy people can clear this up for me?

  6. He was violent during his champ days. But i think he’s genuinely repentant now.

  7. Yeah, he definitely did some shit even outside of the rape charge that were repugnant. But that was like 30 years ago and as far as I know nobody’s said anything negative about him since then. I’m all for writing some people off if they just don’t get it and never will but unless we’re willing to banish or execute every abuser then this is the thing we should all be hoping for: an abusive man who saw the error of his ways and changed. Mike Tyson means nothing to me but I think showing forgiveness when there’s real repentance, especially when punishment has already been meted out, is the only way forward for our society.

  8. Anyone saw Sly’s GRUDGE MATCH? Tyson and Hollyfield have cameos in it. They seem to have made up and gently make a joke about the “Ear Biting” thing.

  9. I agree with Majestyk, but I also understand if Kev isn’t going to forgive him enough to like me calling him “a joy.” His character was enjoyable to me in this movie. If you don’t think he should be in movies he will be a distraction.

  10. You can’t compare Tyson to Woody because Woody is a creepy piece of talented garbage that hasnt answered to anything for the shitty things he has done where Tyson did his time yadda yadda yadda.

  11. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 29th, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Btw, Dutch fighter Rico Verhoeven is in this as well, he’s the champ Kurt has to take on in the bar. He tried out for the part of Drago Jr as well and posted a pic of himself with Sly but obviously didnt get it. Seems like he has a decent look and presence about him though.

  12. Sternsheim, until further notice, I’m in the leave-Woody-alone camp. Marrying the adopted, previously estranged daughter of his wife was creepy, but legal and the child rape accusations were not just investigated decades ago (note that we are still talking about the same accusations here and not any new ones, that might have resurfaced over the years), but they also came to the conclusion that nothing happened, except that Mia Farrow might have told their kids to tell everybody they got molested, until one of them started to believe it, which is also a story that is backed up by one of Allen’s alleged victims.

    Knowing that brainwashing their kids is totally a thing that mothers do in a divorce battle (although my mother never made up rape stories), that a fucking police investigation against the most jewish Jew in Hollywood (which most likely means they were really looking hard for a reason to lock him up) came up with negative results, one of his “victims” instead accuses his mother of brainwashing their kids and that he so far hasn’t made headlines with any other scandal in decades (And I’m sure that some reporters would kill for even something innocent like “Woody Allen walks out of strip club”), makes me believe that Woody Allen is most likely innocent. Come on, even in today’s #MeToo climate NOBODY ELSE came forward to say: “That tiny man, who isn’t as much of a Hollywood powerhouse as he used to be, so I don’t think I would have to fear a career suicide, raped me”. That doesn’t even makes you raise an eyebrow?

    Now I’m 100% prepared to give him the full Polanski/Cosby treatment as soon as we learn something new, but for now, he is just a guy who found love in a really fucking weird and uncomfortable, yet apparently 100% legal and maybe even not-as-creepy-as-it-seems-for-us-outsiders place.

    (Also I’m not sure if you were sarcastic and basically on my side, because I’m not fully awake yet.)

  13. CJ, I think we have to consider that a lot of people will hold back until he is dead because he’s “such a great artist”. Things are starting to surface about Ingmar Bergman now, and you know deep down that most of these old (and young) womanizers will follow soon. In my youth guys started bands to meet girls, but it seems all famous men have been wanting fame just to get close to women.

  14. @Vern, I appreciate you being able to see where I’m coming from.

    @Majestyk, Tyson may be redeemed in your eyes but not in mine and that’s fine. However, whether or not he served his time I’m under no obligation to personally forgive the man for his crime.

  15. pegsman, but again, we are talking Woody Allen here, who, and I say that as a fan, hasn’t really been relevant since the early 90s, despite making a movie, that wins a few awards every few years, but is already forgotten a few months later. And a shit ton of actors are suddenly willing to donate the money they made with starring in one of their movies, but hold back any career ending, yet jailtime starting stories that they might have about him? They all unite to bring down one of the most powerful Hollywood producers, but somehow stay quiet about a arthouse dramedy director, who is only able to make a movie a year, because they cost almost nothing to make and he is able to work with the same producers all the time?

    Like I said, when new shit about him surfaces, I won’t close my eyes and ears while yelling “LALALALALALALA THIS ISN’T HAPPENING EVERYTHING IS FINE!”, but for now he seems to me like the prime example of how accusation can follow a man around, even when proven innocent.

  16. Kev: I was actually gonna add that. Everyone has to draw their own line.

  17. CJ: Come on, man. Abuse charges without physical damage or evidence are incredibly hard to prove at the best of times but against a famous millionaire? In America, where rape culture is practically the law? He groomed his stepdaughter since she was 12. His other kids think he’s a monster. Most of his movies are creepy as fuck apologies for gross older men fucking much, much younger women. His own personal library that he donated contained a notebook full of disgusting underage girl fantasies. How much smoke do you need before maybe you might consider the idea that there might be some fire?

  18. Vern, this is how I know you’re my fave cinemafilm reviewist. I regularly read and look forward to your thoughts and words on movies I have no interest in and won’t ever see but still enjoy them by proxy of how much you enjoy them. And there’s almost always one little bit to takeaway that will give me a good chuckle throughout the day. Reading “Part Vengeance” did that this morning and is how I’m referring to all sequels from now on. “Terminator: Part Judgement Day,” “First Blood: Part Rambo,” “Alien: Part S,” and so on…

  19. I know I just said everybody needs to make up their own mind. And I’m not even saying you can’t still like Woody Allen movies if for some reason you still like Woody Allen movies. But people cling to the idea that the investigation found no wrongdoing, when what it found was no ACTIONABLE wrongdoing and lots and lots and lots and lots of red flags.

    There’s also the fact that you are continuing to call Ronan and Dylan liars. These are not brainwashed children. One’s the journalist who devoted his life to bringing famous predators down and actually fucking accomplished it. You think the motivating factor of his whole mission in life was based on some bullshit his mommy told him when he was little to get back at his daddy? That sounds like the simplest, most direct explanation for all this?

    I don’t know, man. Give it some thought, I guess.

  20. Let’s try that again:

    10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation

    Maureen Orth responds to the columns that have been published in the wake of Dylan Farrow's public allegations.

  21. On a lighter note, I think it’s awesome how excited black Americans are for Black Panther. I think there is a lot of hyperbole in the reviews but I legit think it’s still going to be special. I’m also so happy to get back to Earth after the last few in space.

  22. Again, I’m done with Allen as soon as there is new proof, but also like I said:

    – One of his alleged victims backed up the story of Mia Farrow brainwashing their kids (Which is coincidentally also when Mia Farrow stopped telling the story that he was molested too)

    – I’m not saying she is lying, but have you ever remembered something completely wrong? I had my fair share of “Wait, a second, that’s what REALLY happened!?” experiences, that went far deeper than “I was wearing a red shirt. No, yellow.”

    – I know from first hand experience how mothers train their kids to believe the wildest stories in a divorce battle (I point out again: None of the shit my mother told us had to do with shit that would put him behind bars and give us psychological scars, but man, it got ugly.)

    – Even back then Woody Allen was too much of a niche celebrity and also more or less a superjew, straight out of an “edgy” stand up comedian’s program about how all stereotypes are actually real and it’s okay to racist and anti-semitic. I doubt that there was ever a time when “Do you know who I am?” would get him out of a speeding ticket, not to mention full blown child rape charges in Judge Whitey’s law system.

    I don’t have any personal associations with Allen, other than really liking some of his movies, or a bone to pick with Mia Farrow. I’m usually team victim, because I know how this world works. Still, the Woody Allen case has too many things that make me go: “Wait…hmmm…I don’t think that’s right” and despite team victim, I also know that women aren’t saints and can do too many fucked up things. (Again: First hand experience here!)

    You said yourself: “Abuse charges without physical damage or evidence are incredibly hard to prove at the best of times but against a famous millionaire?”, which also can be used against Mia Farrow (brainwashing kids is abuse without physical damage and she was a pretty famous actress back in the days).

    This is not a Cosby/Weinstein/Polanski case IMO, where it’s really clear what happened and we should also talk more about Mia Farrow’s participation in that story, that’s all I’m saying.

    Anyway, before someone starts a discussion about John Landis and Helicopters, let’s go back to KICKBOXER. (Because seriously, I feel bad for turning the comments to THAT topic again, when Vern just tried to tell us about this awesome, new DTV joint, that most of us will most likely really enjoy.)

  23. I would just like to take a moment to point out that KICKBOXTER: RETALIATION sports an impressive 100% RT top critics rating, officially making it the LADY BIRD of KICKBOXER movies.

  24. Raygabriel64 – I like FIRST BLOOD: PART RAMBO. Although with that series that could sound like part 2 (it’s part 4).

  25. Love how a KICKBOXER review ends up being mostly about Woody Allen…

  26. How would a Woody Allen-directed Kickboxer movie turn out? Not as awesome as this one I bet.

  27. So the Farrows keep bringing it up decades later for what reason? Fun? Profit? Spite? What? What is the motive for continuing to hold firm to every single accusation all these decades later? That’s some pretty fucking effective brainwashing right there. Mia must be some kind of voodoo sorceress for that shit to take like that. Woody must have been afraid she was going to turn him into a newt, and that’s why he divorced her.

    And then there’s this:

    “Dylan’s claim of abuse was consistent with the testimony of three adults who were present that day. On the day of the alleged assault, a babysitter of a friend told police and gave sworn testimony that Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes, while she was at the house. Another babysitter told police and also swore in court that on that same day, she saw Allen with his head on Dylan’s lap facing her body, while Dylan sat on a couch “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.” A French tutor for the family told police and testified that that day she found Dylan was not wearing underpants under her sundress. The first babysitter also testified she did not tell Farrow that Allen and Dylan had gone missing until after Dylan made her statements. These sworn accounts contradict Moses Farrow’s recollection of that day in People magazine.”

    I guess Mia put the whammy on them too.

    “legal and the child rape accusations were not just investigated decades ago (note that we are still talking about the same accusations here and not any new ones, that might have resurfaced over the years), but they also came to the conclusion that nothing happened”

    That is not what happened AT ALL. Nobody on the investigation thought he was clean. NOBODY. The judge said his behavior toward his daughter was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.” The prosecutor has said they had enough to charge him but he was unwilling to put Dylan on the stand, and without her testimony, the case would fail. That’s hardly “nothing happened.”

    The investigation did, however, find that “nothing happened” in terms of the brainwashing that Woody and his lawyers cooked up as their only viable defense. The only report that supported that theory was not accepted by anybody on the case (The doctor never even met with Dylan OR Mia and subsequently recanted the conclusion of his own report) and, hey, also it mysteriously disappeared. But because Woody unethically leaked it to the press, that became the dominant story, because bitches be crazy, right?

    As to your other points: Moses wasn’t even there when the abuse room place and his claims are not consistent with the other witness so his defense of his father is irrelevant.

    And I live in Connecticut, where the investigation happened, so don’t tell me that the rampant anti-Semitism here was a factor like you know what you’re talking about. Wealth is the only religion in Connecticut.

    I don’t know why Woody Allen inspires such blind devotion in people who claim to not even like his movies. I once accepted the “bitches be crazy” explanation at face value, but then I felt bad about not believing the victim and did my research. There’s so much shit out there that shows him to be a world-class creep, just an astonishingly gross individual who does shit that none of us would accept in our daily lives (How fast would you cut off a friend who married his [in all but name] stepdaughter? Pretty fucking fast in my opinion) but some people have heard that women lie for no reason sometimes so I guess that balances the scales. A whole bunch of testimonial and expert opinions mean nothing in the face of anecdotal bullshit like that.

    So yeah, believe whatever you want. But nobody in the whole world needs to hear you defend Woody Allen. He’s not the underdog in this story and he does not need your help. You are not being the voice of reason. You are echoing the dominant voice of a culture that will take the word of a man over a mountain of evidence as long as that evidence came from a woman.

  28. Oh, and CJ, I hope there’s no hard feelings about this. I’m arguing real hard here because taking prisoners is not really my style but I got nothing against you. I hope we’re still pals.

  29. Majestyk, on this at least we can absolutely agree. Fuck Woody Allen. Thank you for that link by the way, I hadn’t read half of that stuff before.

  30. Any confirmation that Tyson will be in the next Kickboxer film?

  31. Kev: I’m like fuck all these guys, because they’re all still walking around free and clear and denying any wrongdoing. That’s why I feel like Tyson is the best-case scenario: He got caught, he got punished, he got rehabilitated, and it took. If that’s what happened to all abusers, the world would be in pretty good shape.

  32. It makes it a lot easier when the person in question is someone you don’t care too much about. My fear is that down the line there’s someone I really like.

  33. Don’t worry, Mr M, you still haven’t managed to make me hate you. I said it many times before, but I like how we can have more or less heated discussions here, that still end up civilized and in the action movie tradition of “You kicked my ass in a fair fight, so let’s have a beer and fight side by side next time”.

    But honestly, recently every time I start one of those discussions or get dragged into one on here, I feel really guilty. Vern gives us this platform to talk about more or less random shit and he only steps in when shit gets really nasty, which of course rarely happens (Thank god “fishman love story” isn’t a mainstream genre yet), but sometimes it feels like coming to a friend’s house and ruining the let’s-watch-this-cool-movie party, by screaming at each other over something we’ve heard on the news.

  34. Usually when Vern writes about a brand spanking new movie, only some of us will have seen it. And then it’s easy to pick up on something in his text that we know a little about.

  35. CJ: That’s exactly it. Also, I feel that giving any of you regulars anything less than my full strength would be a show of disrespect. I know you can take it.

    As for KICKBOXER PART R-WORD, I will see it as soon as I can (I don’t even know how to VOD) despite not remembering a single thing about the last one except for a vague memory of Van Damme wearing a funny hat. There’s something about the recent crop of DTV action where they deliver the goods, I enjoy myself thoroughly, but they go in one ear and out the other. Too slick and generic maybe? I don’t know. But I guess it’s not so bad, because then the next time I watch them, it feels like the first time.

  36. After reading these comments and a few articles about the facts of the Woody Allen case as well as the complete judge’s ruling in the custody hearing the only fact I can now say I know for sure is that I would totally watch a Woody Allen KICKBOXER movie. And I suspect I’d enjoy it more than VENGEANCE and RETALIATION, both of which I found pretty forgettable story-wise. Though I did like the long take prison fight and the final fight in this one quite a bit.

    (I feel like I should note that Mr. Majestyk’s assertion that Allen groomed Soon-Yi from the age of 12 is not borne out by the judge’s custody ruling which states he had almost no contact with her until she asked to go to a Knicks game with him when she was 18 or 20.)

  37. I already posted my thoughts on the previous Kickboxer review but I agree with Kev 100%. OK, he went to prison, and it’s great that he hasn’t raped or beaten any women recently, but I don’t enjoy seeing him in movies, especially when he is playing up this “lovable goofball with a bad temper” schtick.

    Anyway, I liked the last Kickboxer a lot more than I expected so I guess I will watch this but I will complain loudly to my wife and/or dog about Mike Tyson being in it.

  38. Long take fight? Sold. If anybody here ever makes a movie and you want to guarantee you that I see it then put in a long take. I love those so much.

  39. Sorry to drag the spotlight off Woody Allen and back onto Mike Tyson again … but has he actually shown genuine repentance? I know he’s shown regret for some past behaviour (e.g. biting Holyfield’s ear), but doesn’t he still maintain that Robin Givens was a gold digger and Desiree Washington a liar? Even having done his time, given the nature of the crime I find it hard to feel joy when he turns up in a movie. It really puzzles me why he’s been welcomed back so readily. I mean, give him his space and so on, but for producers to actually go out of their way to cast him in comedies and stuff … I don’t get it.

    As for the movie at hand, I’ll watch this when I get the chance. I hope it’ll be a smoother experience than VENGEANCE. I went into the first movie with a lot of goodwill and while its heart was clearly in the right place, to me it just felt a bit too amateurish and choppy to be fully enjoyable. It was a fun time, but definitely would have benefitted from a bit of polish.

  40. Just watched this one and liked it a lot.

    I hope Mike Tyson and Christopher Lambert are in PART THE SYNDICATE or whatever!!

    Lambert was pretty great in this.

    Oh, when Moussi was fighting Tyson, it really felt like Little Joe fighting Tyson in the video game!! Same size difference, same hair… and then a minute or so later, Moussi is running, chasing after Van Damme on a motorcycle…which was the between levels animation on the original PUNCH OUT. Hmmmmm….

  41. Can’t find this on demand anywhere but they’re offering me 2 different versions of JUSTICE LEAGUE to see. Terrible!

  42. Late to the party but I finally got to see this one and really enjoyed it despite Mike Tyson being in it. Not sure if I liked it more than the previous installment but definitely looking forward to the next one.

    I had the same concern at the start when he did a jumping spin kick and they shot in extreme close-up so that you couldn’t even see what was happening. But then it didn’t seem to be an issue for the rest of the movie until the last fight when they added a lot of unnecessary cuts (probably to cover for the big man). I find it strange for vern to point that out though because I feel like all of LADY BLOODFIGHT was shot like that which kind of ruined that movie for me.

    My favourite part was the one vern mentioned where a guy is charging at him with a sword and they slow it down to show him clocking all the items that he could potentially use as weapons. It’s such a simple but effective trick that I wonder why we don’t see it more often. I hope they do that in the next movie but with like 10 times as many items and then combines them in increasingly elaborate fashion. Same with the other part that vern mentioned where he tells each of them the specific injuries that he plans to inflict on him. These new Kickboxer movies are really fucking cool. I hope they keep cranking these every year.

  43. Well, I’ll be goddamned. This one was great! It’s about as generic as a Honkey Martial Arts flick can get, yet pretty much every scene is infused with some extra bit of elbow grease, inspiration, style, or simple balls-to-the-wall escalation to make it stand out. There’s more Mystical Action Horseshit than any five BLOODFIST movies combined, and that’s a good thing. Having to incorporate something like seven Inspirational Combat Slogans into the action makes the final fight one of the most epic of all time. I love how far they take it. Sure, we’ve seen heroes beaten to within an inch of their lives and come back victorious, but have we seen one SPOILER literally come back from the dead–twice? The fuckin’ balls on this movie to take it that far and know that we’ll swallow it. The long take fights had a swagger that set them apart and finally gave Kurt Sloane 2.0 some personality and made him feel like the kind of legendary badass who could beat Tong Po because he was tough enough, not just because the screenplay dictated it. the three scenery-chewing weirdos in the supporting cast fucking crushed it with quirky line-readings and mega behavioral choices. It is faint praise to say that this is Lambert’s best role in decades, but it’s not to say that this might be Van Damme’s best performance ever, both comic relief and beating heart of the story. I love how genuinely emotional he gets over his protege, even offering himself up to Lambert to save him. I can’t believe what a good actor he’s become. Thanks to his spacey but always genuine persona, he can pull off melodrama and naturalism at the same time, something I’d thought only Nic Cage was capable of. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone improve at anything as much as Van Damme has improved at acting. Compare it to his bug-eyed mugging in, say, DOUBLE IMPACT and it’s like he’s two different people. Maybe he really is twins and one of them was at Julliard while the other was hanging around the Cannon offices.

    Man, DTV is just fuckin’ crushing it this year. Bold statement: This is the best action has been since the early 90s. The whole world’s going to shit but this one little corner of it is getting a little better every day. Fucking inspirational is what it is.

  44. I’m so glad to hear you liked it that much. I feel like people are sleeping on this one, but it’s hard to get people excited about a sequel to a remake I already couldn’t get them excited about. “Who does it star?” “Well, he’s this guy, he was a stunt double. For, uh, Jai Courtney. In… well, in SUICIDE SQUAD. He was Captain Boomerang’s stunt double.”

    They’re missing out though! It will be so exciting if the third one is as good or (dare I believe it’s possible?) as much of an improvement over this one as this was over the first one.

  45. Somebody must be watching these movies. The sequels are coming out much faster and more confidently than the NINJ*s or the UNDISPUTEDs. I’m not naive enough to think that anybody is financing DTV action out of the goodness of their hearts so these new KICKBOXERs must be making a profit for somebody.

  46. I’ve read that both productions had issues with paying their crew timely(the former more than the latter), so that’s one way to save money. Also, Stockwell parted ways with the first movie after shooting wrapped in Louisiana . I believe those were the scenes in the arena and Tong Po’s camp since it looks a lot like the ruins used in the first season of INTO THE BADLANDS. Logothetis himself completed the Thai phase of the production. Behind the scenes turmoil aside, RETALIATION was a big improvement in all departments and since I saw the first two in theaters I will be back for part 3. I wonder if they’ll try to find an even larger opponent or maybe swing back in the opposite direction and recruit someone like Yayan Ruhian.

  47. It was supposed to come out this month over here but was now delayed until May 02nd.
    Here is the German trailer. Just because. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwypMDPwtEA

  48. That’s interesting to know. I had been worried about Logothetis directing the sequel – the writer taking over? – but it turned out to be much better directed than the first one.

  49. I think they should do a reverse UNDISPUTED and have a young up-and-comer challenge Kurt, who still thinks of himself as the underdog hero, only for him to later realize that the new kid has a legit gripe and that Kurt has become the Tong Po in this situation.

    Or they could have him fight a bear or something. I don’t see how they could get an opponent any more imposing than The Mountain without looking outside the human race.

  50. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 13th, 2018 at 5:02 am

    They should finally just get Adkins in there. Don’t waste him on a 3 sec cameo like they tried with the first one, but offer him a full blown villain part. It would make for an actual martial arts fight finale instead of a little guy running around trying to kick a barely moving huge guy until he falls over. To be sure Adkins’ character won’t be too much like Boyka though, they should let him wear dreads and use a Jamaican accent.

  51. Impressive fight choreography, and an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Enjoy the top notch martial arts! The lead actor is the real deal.

  52. Ok this one completely styles on the first one. Alain Moussi improved a lot between movies. He’s actually got some swag to him in this. JCVD was a revelation. His spaced out Miyagi was taken to the next wavelength now that he’s even more mystical with it all. It was such an earnest evolution it truly made him vs The Muthafucking Highlander (A.K.A. the original THE HUNTED) in a sword fight really resonate.

    Can’t front the use of badass juxtaposition during Tyson’s intro fight was really well one. Also I’m always a sucker for martial arts vs boxing in action movies. So yeah Van Damme dodges heavyweight punches was also another highlight.

    Lambert was a breath of fresh air. Good to see him cackling with delight like in his GUNMEN and Raiden days. I just hope in the next one Mr. Moore isn’t suddenly played by James Remar. Not that I have anything against James Remar. Take a cue from Sesame Street and cast him as Mr. Moore’s Brother; Mr. Moore.

    The continuity was really swiftly pulled off. Count me in as another that appreciated the actions have consequences aspect of the narrative. Returning cast was also aces.

    Tong Po’s right hand man was a nice touch and the actress that played the wife improved between movies as well. Can’t lie I actually laughed when she got knocked into a coma. I just couldn’t believe they actually went there. Which made the moment she is back in action and uses adrenaline to bring her hubby back from the deadlands even sweeter. I appreciate how hard this couple goes for each other. The determination they both have to watch over each other by all means is pretty endearing.

    The villain. Jesus Christ. Where did they find this guy? he makes fighting Tong Po look like fighting Peter Dinklage. My only issue was that in the final fight I kept screaming “kill shot!” at least 4 times. It did feel a bit overstuffed. However I still appreciated the variety in the action.

    It wasn’t very KICKBOXER the KB dna is more in the training montages. But I appreciate the way they mixed it up. Long take gen pop joint reminded me of the hallway fight in THE RAID. The final fight had a lot of BEST OF THE BEST 2 sensibilities and there is even a LIONHEART-esque match up. I’m sure when Van Damme showed that to Sheldon Lettich he must’ve responded with a high five.

    Overall this was a pleasant surprise and one of my best weekend movie picks in a while. I am absolutely all in with the next one or if the universe is just next ones.

  53. Guys, I’m not sure where to post this or if someone posted it elsewhere already but I was looking for the release date of the next Kickboxer and saw the following that I think we all need to be aware of. I mean, holy shit…

    “Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in Jiu Jitsu, a martial arts action indie written and directed by Dimitri Logothetis (Kickboxer: Retaliation, the upcoming Kickboxer: Armageddon) based on the comic book of the same title, which Logothetis wrote with Jim McGrath. Alain Moussi (Kickboxer: Retaliation) also co-stars in the pic, which Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab.

    Here’s the logline: Every six years, an ancient order of expert Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a fearsome alien invader in a battle for Earth. When war hero and master Jiu Jitsu fighter Jake Barnes (Moussi) 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 who have descended upon the planet and is rescued by Wylie (Cage) and a team of fellow Jiu Jitsu fighters who must help him recover his memory and regain his strength to engage in an epic battle that will once again determine the fate of mankind.”

  54. That sounds like the kind of movie that everybody outside of this websight will dislike when it’s played totally earnest and straight faced instead of Zomgsobaditgoodniccagebadactoryoudontsaygrimacelolololshittysharknadohowdidthisgetmadelolomgjiujitsualiensniccagekickpunch

  55. Did like that they didn’t reset button Kurt’s development from the first movie and he’s still the Tong-Po-killer, a one-man army who beats up entire prisons like he’s doing a speed-run of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

    Didn’t like that Mongkut was so much of a non-entity. I guess the real villain was Christopher Lambert, but then he didn’t get much of a comeuppance either.

    A bit funny that after all Kurt’s training, the key to victory is to just grab a chain and start wailing on the other guy.

    I know it’s a long-ass movie already and maybe Bjorn is a non-actor and getting him to do fee-fi-fo-fum choreography was the extent of his powers, but it kinda bugged me when we get to the final fight and Kurt is beating up a downed opponent and using chains and such. I guess it’s not against the rules, and Mongkut did accidentally punch his wife and made a rude comment about her and abused steroids… still don’t know if any of that is worth the death penalty. But as long as we’re going the whole spiritual-honor-the-fight-promoter-is-the-real-bad-guy route, I feel like they should’ve whipped up an ending where Kurt refuses to kill anyone and screws Moore that way.

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