When they announced a rebooted Kickboxer movie I had no expectations Kickboxer: Vengeance would be anywhere near as good as the 1989 flick, even with Jean-Claude Van Damme back in a leading role. But, I’ll be damned, it was pretty friggin’ good and JCVD seemed motivated for the first time in a minute. I mean, he was hardly the “Mussels from Brussels” anymore, but he brought it when called up. Now can they recapture that magic with sequel Kickboxer: Retaliation? Ehhhhh…, maybe stopping at one would’ve been the smart move.
It’s Jean-Claude Van Damme vs. The Mountain!!!! Well, not quite. That would have been awesome, but no. The sequel finds dull star Alain Moussi back as Kurt Sloane, lured back to Thailand (how do you get lured to Thailand???) and held captive by a powerful gangster played by Christopher “Highlander” Lambert, who forces him into a battle with his champion, a massive behemoth named Mongkut. Mongkut is played by Hafþór Júlíus “Thor” Björnsson, and yes he was The Mountain on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Van Damme is back looking like a Bangkok hobo as Master Durand, while Mike Tyson throws jabs faster than he has in 30 years as Briggs, a fellow prisoner. The whole thing looks rather shoddy, but then again so did the last movie and that turned out okay. I’m going to stay optimistic because I’ve got a screener of it sitting in my inbox and the only way I’ll watch it is to be positive.
Kickboxer: Retaliation opens January 26th.