Kickboxer: Retaliation

posted 11 Apr 2018, 16:14 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Action

Stars: Alain Moussi, Jean Claude Van Damme, Christopher Lambert, Mike Tyson, Sara Malakul Lane

Director: Dimitri Logothetis

Certificate: 15

Run Time: 1hr 50mins

Year: 2018

This is the follow up to ‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’ which was loosely based on ‘Kickboxer’ the classic Van Damme film – there is also a third film in the works subtitled ‘Armageddon’ which I presume continues to follow the adventures of main protagonist Kurt Sloane (Moussi). Van Damme does have a backing role in these films as Sloane’s quirky (AKA nuts) mentor and trainer Durand.

The basic gist of this film is Sloane, a skilled MMA fighter, is kidnapped and returned to Thailand for the murder of Tong Po – If you’ve seen the first film, you’ll already know Sloane killed Tong Po in a fight to the death in revenge for Po killing his Brother. So, he finds himself in a Thai jail, with such inmates as Mike Tyson and Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho, I am not making this shit up. What crimes these guys were committing in Thailand is anyone’s guess, but I’m not sure this film is a good advert for holidaying in Thailand.

It turns out very rich fight promoter Thomas Moore (Lambert) arranged for Sloane’s return so he could fight his new champion – man mountain Mongkut. So, Sloane is offered the chance of a fight to the death with Mongkut or to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of Tong Po – oh and the prison is full of Tong Po fan boys who want to kick his ass daily.

Initially Sloane says no, gets into scraps with his fellow inmates including Mike Tyson, whom he then befriends and reintroduces him to Durand – who for reason’s unbeknownst to anyone has been blinded by Moore and put in prison for been complicit in Tong Po’s death. So, in order to get Sloane to fight his wife is kidnapped – so what happens next before the inevitable showdown with Mongkut is a collection of training montages, including Ronaldinho kicking balls at Sloane’s face for some unexplained reason and fight set pieces as Sloane tries to rescue his wife and avoid the Fight.

This is an old school action flick so don’t expect stunning acting, hell this film boasts Mike Tyson as one if it’s leads are you seriously expecting Oscar worthy acting? The only reason to watch a film like this is for the action as the plot is so thin it’s see through! In that department the film definitely delivers, the final fight I felt was a little elongated though and could have been shortened while still giving us a decent final fight sequence. The final fight involves a rather bizarre twist that will having you spitting a beverage everywhere and screaming “Are you fucking shitting me!” in total disbelief and not in a good way.

There are some good action scenes with some great displays of athleticism especially from Alain Moussi, who is primarily a stunt man in most his film work. There are two scenes in particular which are done in a ‘one shot’ way which adds a really exciting edge to the action sequences and gives them an edge of realism – not something I expected in a low budget film, where cutting and editing a scene together would be easier.

Van Damme seems to be playing It for laughs, there are some really smirk inducing moments delivered by Van Damme, the cynical amongst us would say it’s because he can’t act, but me though, I feel as though he’s taking this role very tongue in cheek and the things he does/says fit in with this bizarre slightly crazy Durand persona – It’s just unintentionally funny sometimes.

Lambert is Lambert, He’s never bettered his role in Highlander and he wasn’t exactly winning an Oscar there either. Tyson is cringeworthy playing a hard man, who gets whipped (literally) and doesn’t flinch but as soon as he opens his mouth and he talks like a little boy it deflates the hard man image instantly.

If you concentrate on the main star Moussi and his actions sequences you’ll enjoy the ride, he’s not a bad actor given the script he’s working with and his athleticism and fight scenes are entertaining and well-choregraphed. I think if the scriptwriters and Director put less unneeded distractions in the flow of the film and focussed on Sloane it would have a stronger serious tone and could perhaps be taken as much more serious action pic (Ironically much like many Thai films where this was filmed)

There are a couple of sequences where bad editing is noticeable as a couple of shots seem in the wrong order, once during a montage sequence and one right at the end involving Van Damme – which made his acting seem even more over the top and his character seem a little mental.

I think the film makers wanted this film to be bigger and grander than it really is. They tried this by starting the film with a dream sequence, then throughout the film this dream which was obviously prophetic has flashes to what is happening throughout the film. This is obviously done to try and give them film a little depth and gravitas and not just be a film with a guy going around kicking people’s asses. Which is ok, but it adds nothing to the film, he isn’t given this dream for a reason, to change something or as a warning, it just is! The film would still be exactly the same with or without it, it doesn’t hurt the flow of the film it just doesn’t serve a purpose in the story telling.

It’s a decent enough low budget action flick so if that’s the type of film your looking for its worth checking out. Just enjoy it for what it is!


Review by Woody