Kickboxer (1989)

Posted in Reviews by - July 15, 2012
Kickboxer (1989)

One of Van Damme’s best fight movies, albeit besieged by a two-bit story and dreadful acting. The action scenes more than compensate – choreographed by the man himself as a collection of macho encounters designed to fully display his distinguished repertoire of jumping split kicks, often repeated in slow motion. Unfortunately, his over stretched thespian skills do come a little unhinged during the film’s more dramatic aspects (check his excruciatingly awful crying scene), but for delivering muscle bound foot-in-face action, Kickboxer proves that Van Damme is most certainly the man.

It’s a heroic tale of revenge, with Kurt Sloane (Van Damme) and his world kickboxing champion brother Eric (Alexio) traveling to Thailand to sample the country’s martial delights, until Eric loses badly to the Muay Thai champ ‘Tiger’ Tong Po (Qissi) and is left paralysed from the waist down. Kurt learns the Muay Thai ways from respected Master Xian (Chan) in order to seek revenge. After a heady training montage, he is eventually ready to take on Tong Po the traditional way: in a fiery underground ring with glass glued to their hands. You would justly expect the ensuing finale to better live up to expectations, but this is still brain-dead violence at its athletic and enjoyable best, and a martial arts movie to cherish.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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