Film Review – Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Kickboxer: Vengeance is a remake/reboot of the 1989 original Kickboxer starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. It tells the same story of a fighter challenging a monstrous champion for murdering (paralysing in the original) his brother. It may have the same story and structure but it lacks the charm and certainly the punch of the original.

Replacing Van Damme as Kurt Sloane is Alain Moussi, a lot can be said for his athleticism but not much about his acting. He is up against Dave Bautista who spends the whole time looking tough and barely speaks. It makes his character in Spectre seem deep in comparison. The only actor who shows some life is Van Damme who returns to the franchise he made famous, only now as the elder teacher who Sloane turns to for help. While Van Damme clearly isn’t invested in the part, he does seem to be having fun – with a wry smile and the occasional shrug of the shoulders he gives the most likeable performance in the film.

The worst character (by far) is that of the love interest, played by Sara Malakul Lane. Her character starts off as a tough cop trying to stop the illegal street fighting that is plaguing Thailand. Upon seeing Sloane she almost instantly takes off her clothes and gets about to pleasuring him. It’s sexist, distasteful, out of date and even out of place in this straight to DVD quality film. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

The film looks cheap and is edited poorly, so while the actors and stuntmen might be doing a good job it’s hard to tell. The most distracting element is the subtitles; they appear in random parts of the frame, each word at a time, many in different colours. It feels as if the film is deliberately trying to confuse you.

Kickboxer: Vengeance is not a good film. A few good stunts and the ever watchable Van Damme make this, just about, watchable.

[rating=2] | Harry Davenport

Action, Martial Arts |USA, 2016 | 15 | Kaleidoscope Entertainment | 30th September 2016(UK) |Dir.John Stockwell |Dave Bautista, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Gina Carano,Georges St-Pierre, John Stockwell