What joys of Netflix await tonight? Do I want some interesting documentary, or a political thriller? No, I go for a run of the mill fighting film. You probably already know the story of what it is about as it is loosely based on the 1989 film starring Jean Claude Van Damme. If you have ever watched any film involving a fight story of some kind and had never seen the 1989 original, you could probably still have a good guess at what will happen.
Spoilers from this point on.
The story starts with our young vengeance hunter Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi) heading to Tong Po’s (Dave Bautista) training camp. To prove he is worthy he faces off against a couple of fighters, beating the first one (played by UFC veteran George St Pierre) before succumbing to the other. During the night he sneaks into Tong Po’s room to try to kill him, but Tong Po is aware of this and knows he is there to get revenge as Tong Po killed his brother. We then get a flashback by three months wrapping up how things have got to the current day and introducing our Greedy corporate type Marcia (played by former UFC fighter Gina Carano) who set up the illegal fight to begin with, and the fight and death of Kurt’s brother.
Back to current day and Kurt seeks out his brothers teacher Master Durand (played here by Jean Claude Van Damme) and asks him to train him. We get what feels like half of the film in a training montage featuring coconut smashing, baseball bat kicking and all manner of frankly strange training methods.
Before long he has mastered the art and faces off against his nemesis before ultimately winning, but not before he takes a battering, and fights back from the brink.
Most of the fight choreography was good except the needless spin kicking to finish off an opponent throughout, and there was the obligatory Superman Punch whenever Georges St Pierre was in a fight. One unintentionally hilarious moment comes courtesy of jumping over some elephants while fighting off some bad guys but it is really obvious that the elephants are not real. Sarah Malakul Lane serving as the love interest of the film would have been better suited to be of a more standard fare, rather than the not wholly believable Police Detective trying to shut down the illegal fighting rings.
Was it a great film, no. Was it a good film, probably not. Was it the worst film I have ever seen, far from it. It wont stop me from watching other films of this type (even with their similar storylines)
While researching this film online noticed there is a follow up due to be released this year, Kickboxer : Retaliation, featuring Christopher Lambert and Halfor Julius Bjornsson (The Mountain from Game of Thrones, and a personal training hero of mine) as the big bad this time round. Strangely I want to see this. There is also a confirmed third film due to be released in 2018.
If you are into martial arts films and have a spare 90 minutes check it out.