Friday, December 23, 2016

Film Review - Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Kickboxer: Vengeance (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you love the genre, this will quickly kill 90-minutes of your day."

A kickboxer travels to Thailand to avenge his slain brother, who was killed during an illegal fight.

Kickboxer: Vengeance is a reboot/remake of the classic Van Damme film. So, it's basically the same plot. Eric Sloane is lured to Thailand to fight Master Tong Po (Dave Batista) in hopes of winning a handsome prize. Unfortunately, Tong Po kills Eric in the ring as his brother, Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi), watches from the audience. So, Kurt begins his path to vengeance, which eventually leads him to Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who trained Eric and will train Kurt. Cue the mandatory training montage. It all leads to a exciting final fight and a predictable ending.

Kickboxer: Vengeance is an entertaining film. It's a remake, so it will feel very familiar if you've watched the original. Intentional or not, it has that cheesy 80s martial arts vibe to it. I didn't mind it, really. The action is fast and furious. It doesn't quite match films like The Raid, but it is exciting. The climactic fight in particular was great. It just doesn't do much to differentiate itself from the original, though, and it does some things worse than the original. It just doesn't resonate. It's a solid action film, but it doesn't leave an impression due to the lack of personality. I don't know, there was just something missing in this.

Maybe it was Alan Moussi, our leading man. Moussi isn't very good as the leading man. He's stiff and unnatural, always lacking in conviction. He just not as charismatic as a Van Damme or even a Scott Adkins. Dave Batista was good as Tong Po, though, and Jean-Claude Van Damme was also great. The film looked good. The choice of music was disappointing. The music is part of the reason the film didn't resonate, too. The film was written by Dimitri Logothetis and Jim McGrath, and directed by John Stockwell. The writing doesn't leave an impression. It's a remake of the original film without taking any chances. I'm surprised it had two writers. Stockwell's direction fares better, though. He's obviously capable of making a movie and his fight scenes are great.

Overall, Kickboxer: Vengeance is a good movie. I bashed it quite a bit, but I did enjoy it. It's a fast-paced, exciting martial arts movie. If you love the genre, this will quickly kill 90-minutes of your day. It's just not as effective as the original and it's not quite the throwback it wanted to be.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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