The sport of ring mixed martial arts fighting has laid low in movies, but rears its mastery in the film Kickboxer: Vengeance just released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film takes the contact sport to a new level with a story that takes you to Thailand where the caged ring is open for battle to the death. The choreography makes the action look real, the use of actual fighters creates excitement and the cinematography and sets put the audience close showing some excellent examples of the contact sport. You don’t have to be a kickboxing fan, but if you are, get ready to watch some of your favorites take on some very realistic acting.
Brothers Kurt (Alain Moussi) and Eric Sloane (Darren Shahlavi) come from a family of martial arts champions and have taken on the sport since they were kids. Now older, Kurt has laid back on the blood sport to manage and train the younger Eric. Winning a world championship, Eric thinks he’s on the top of the world and unbeatable.
On the night of the celebration the brothers get a visit from Marcia (Gina Carano) a fight promoter for underground kickboxing in Bangkok, Thailand. She offers Eric $400 thousand to take on the unbeatable Tong Po (David Baustista) for a no holds barred three rounds. Still with his head in the clouds from his big win, he accepts the challenge against Kurt’s wishes. When word gets back that Eric has been killed in the ring, Kurt sets out to even the score with the help of trainer Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Liu (Sara Malakul Lane) a Bangkok cop
The action gets fever pitch with the filming of the excellent mixed martial arts fighting. Noted director John Stockwell (Into the Blue, Turistas) puts his famous fighters through their paces in some excellent bouts that look so real you’d think they were actually pounding each other into the ground. Well, according to the special feature on the DVD the fighters actually did their own stunts and fighting giving followers of the genre a treat.
If you do like the sport of kickboxing/mixed martial arts then this film certainly works well for you. David Baustista who plays the fierce Tong Po is a former professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. A member of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) he was a six-time world champion. The moves you see in the film are an example of his power and agility.
One of the leaders in women’s MMA, Gina Carano, who plays Marcia in the film, became a well know fighter winning 12 matches before leaving the ring for movies. In Kickboxer: Vengeance she plays a tough role of working with Tong Po to get him opponents. Although she doesn’t fight in the film, it still brings back memories of some of her roles in movies like Deadpool and Fast & Furious 6.
Alain Moussi who has the lead in the film as Kurt Sloane trained with Jean Yves Therieault a 23 times champion in kickboxing. He does all his stunts in the movie that includes combat with over 30 experienced kickboxers. A veritable Jackie Chan, he can move like a fighter and do flips and spins to get out of the way of his opponents.
The film also has a very good performance by Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Durand the instructor for Kurt who puts him through a rigorous routine. He then becomes his corner when he fights Tong Po. Although Van Damme has continued to make films nearly every year starting in 1984, he’s at his best in martial arts films like this one. In fact he played the part of Kurt Sloane in the original Kickboxer 1989 and will reprise his role as Master Durand in Kickboxer: Retaliation that will be released sometime in the future.
Kickboxer: Vengeance has a couple of cool Extras.
“Behind the Scene: Kickboxer: Vengeance” takes you through the “making of” with several of the actors and producers that explain the some of the key scenes. They also give their personal views on the film.
“Photo Gallery” has several cool shots from the film.
Kickerboxer: Vengeance has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, language, brief nudity, sexual situations.
FINAL ANALYSIS: If you like the blood sport of kickboxing and a cool storyline, then this film’s right down your ally.
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: David Baustista, Alain Moussi, Georges St-Pierre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, T.J. Storm, Matthew Ziff, Sara Malakul Lane, Sam Medina, Hawn Tran, Luis Da Silva Jr.
Director: John Stockwell (Into the Blue)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, Contains violence, language, brief nudity, sexual situations
Genre: Action, Martial Arts
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Video Release Date: November 8, 2016
Original Film Release Date: September 2, 2016
Review Format: DVD (also available in Blu-ray)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Number of Discs: 1 disc
Distributed by: RLJ Entertainment