I watched Kickboxer : Vengance last year when it was released on Netflix – a remake of the Jean-Claude Van Damme 1989 film starring Alain Moussi and Dave Bautista as Tong Po. Whilst digging around IMDB I noticed back then that a follow up was in development – with Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson starring as the big bad this time round – card was marked for watching this whenever I could get around to it..
Roll on a year and it was ready to consume..
Well.. at least my expectations were low to start with.. as this film is bonkers.. pretty much what you would expect a 1980’s action film to be – thinnest of plotlines wrapped around daft action sequence and one kick knockouts after one kick knockouts..
Plot wise, Kurt Sloan (Moussi) is fighting in MMA since leaving Thailand, until super-hokey henchman Thomas Moore (played terribly by Christopher Lambert) kidnaps him with the purpose of making him fight his new champion Mongkut (Bjornsson) in another fight to the death. Initially, he is put in a prison with corrupt prison guards and a whole lot of inmates who were friendly with Tong Po in the hope of convincing him to fight. He makes friends with a few of the inmates – Mike Tyson being one of the main guys – alongside a few MMA fighters such as Roy Nelson and Fabricio Werdum, plus footballer Ronaldinho (who’s training methods are kicking balls at him to avoid – yes seriously..) and Brian Shaw – a previous worlds strongest man. Other MMA fighters star, as they did in Vengance last year – either the production company, or director, has close ties with the MMA world it seems.
We get one of the worst CGI effects of jumping off a moving train – some crazy lady assassins (who obviously, since it is Thailand, wear next to nothing while attacking Sloan) – the assassins taking Kurt through a hall of mirrors ripped straight from Enter the Dragon. Sloan is near superman-level since his training in the last film as he one punch and one kicks all the red-shirts into submission throughout. In one scene he kick straight through a brick wall to take out two people… utter nonsense.
Eventually while tracking down his wife, Mongkut punches her leaving her fighting for her life, and Sloan wanting to fight him.
Oh yeah. I forgot that Mongkut has been genetically bred to be the strongest, fastest fighter ever (4 times as strong as Tong Po according to Van Damme). At least the film knows exactly what type of daft film it wants to be and never waivers from it – all seriousness from the first film has been tossed aside for the sequel resulting in the story being told from a virtually non-stop series of action scenes.
Upon reading, one of the most surprising things I found was its current 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.. with a 4.1/5 audience rating.. IMDB has it settled down at 5/10 where I pretty much agree on.
If you are into this type of film give it a whirl, especially if you already have a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.