"Kickboxer: Vengeance" Movie Review
Kickboxer: Vengeance is a remake of the 1989 classic Kickboxer which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. The original was powerful, mostly from the intense training and fight scenes. It was one of Van Damme's best, for sure. So how did the remake hold up?
Kickboxer: Vengeance opens up with Kurt Sloane travelling the world to find a trainer. His brother Eric was killed by a seemingly unbeatable fighter named Tong Po (played by Dave Bautista). Kurt was hell-bent on taking revenge and searched far and wide for the best of the best, finally discovering and training under Master Durand (played by Van Damme).
I loved the fact that Van Damme returned for the remake. What I don't love is yet more of the same awkward casting choices. Tong Po, clearly an Asian name, being played by American Bautista. The original Master was Xian Chow, played by Dennis Chen who was a native of Hong Kong. Van Damme was the Master in this one. Eric was paralyzed in the first, but killed in this one. The training sequences were nowhere near as physically taxing as the original. It was like training was tiring, but not really getting much done. The fight scenes, however, were fantastic.
I usually hate to compare one film to another, but these differences need to be noted. Kickboxer laid out the ground work, the mythology behind what happened to Kurt and what he experienced and suffered through in order to avenge his brother. He devoted the entirety of his being to beating Tong Po. Kickboxer: Vengeance didn't have the level of heart and dedication the original had, nor the acting skills. The original made you feel every ounce of pain and emotion that Kurt felt. The remake just gives you some cool fight scenes and quick story filler with very little emotion. The fact that the mythology from the original was changed for the remake is a problem. To me, it shows that there wasn't much respect for the original. Had Van Damme had creative control, the film would have been better and it would have had the heart that the film is obviously missing. I rate it 1.5 out of 4.
© 2016 Nathan Jasper