Archive for the Alain Moussi Category

Review: Kickboxer 2: Retaliation (2018)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mike Tyson with tags , on March 28, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Alain Moussi, JCVD, Mike Tyson, Christopher Lambert, Sara Mulakul Lane, Renzo Gracie, Sam Medina, Hafthor Bjornsson

Fight Choreography by Jim Khaowwong

Directed by Dmitri Logothetis

Directed by Alain Moussi returns as Kurt Sloane, now a few years removed from the kumat-the Ques-the–let’s just call it a tournament where he defeated Tong Po. Now having taken Lui from the previous film as his wife, they are enjoying a romantic train ride when Kurt is taken captive, and tossed into a backwater prison run by warden Thomas Moore (Lambert, with the most boring character name ever), who wants Kurt to fight in another match versus his champion, Mongut (Bjornsson)(why do these films have white guys with Asian names? I mean, just call the dude Hafthor. That’s pretty badass too).  In order to help Sloane prepare for the fight, Moore brings in Master Durand (JCVD) but this time with a catch: Durand has been blinded since he last saw Kurt for his being “complicit” in the murder of Tong Po, and tossed into prison by Moore. Now, with both Durand and a new teacher in convict Briggs (Tyson) Sloane must enter the ring for a fight to the death with a killing machine…

Moussi. JCVD. Tyson. Lambert. Bjornsson. For goodness sake why not just make a sequel to Street Fighter instead? Let me have a go at this. JCVD back as Guile, Tyson as Balrog, Bjornsson as Zangief, Moussi as Ken, Lambert taking over as M. Bison. Your welcome, Hollywood.

But I digress. The story here runs a bit overlong for the subject matter, and some better editing may have made this a leaner, faster moving film. Despite this the film has hiccups, where things move fast and then grind to a halt, ramps back up, and goes back down again. Moussi is about the same as he was in the previous film, not bad, but not great either. JCVD seems to like playing the blind man, and makes the most of his screen time, but there is a bit less of him fighting in this film, which is a little disappointing as he still looks great onscreen. Tyson is a LOT better here than he was in Ip Man 3, and brings some humor to the proceedings, but his acting still needs a bunch of work. Bjornsson is just a giant monster here, who spends most of the film growling at everyone. Christopher Lambert looks like he’s having fun as the villain, and it’s a welcome sight to see him back in the world of martial arts action films (The Hunted is still one of my favorites).

The fights in the film vary in quality, some of it due to how it was filmed. There are two scenes where we get a tracking one-shot of Sloane fighting and assortment of baddies as he traverses a building under construction, and then while chasing one of his wife’s kidnappers to the song “Wipeout” (which is as cheesy as it sounds). It’s okay but the choreography is simple and the movements aren’t too exciting, but after watching Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais raise the bar on one take fight scenes, it was underwhelming in comparison. So too was the fight between JCVD and Mike Tyson, which should have been the main event of the film, but here is just a little give and take before they buddy up. There was one fight scene I didn’t know I always wanted to see but did.

Jean-Claude Van Damme vs. Christopher Lambert.  That’s right, OG Sloane versus the God****n Highlander. Swords and kicks rule the day here, and it was great. Great enough that I really want to see a rematch in a film just about those two Frenchmen. Actually if they had just killed off Sloane and made it a Durand vs Moore film I would’ve been in heaven. As it stands, we have a nice fight scene between two screen legends. The other fights where Moussi fights a bunch of cannon fodder is okay and entertaining, but nothing really stands out about them. The final fight against Mongut drags on far too long, and doesn’t have enough excitement to really stay invested, since Sloane gets beaten about a thousand times, and has three or four different “he’s down for the count! But Wait! He’s still got some fight in him! He’s getting up!” Ugh.

Maybe it’s time for Kurt Sloane to stay down.

Oh yeah. Last gripe: No Stan Bush. No Sasha Mitchell.

Once again, no Stan Bush. But never fear, I got ya’ll covered:

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

Kickboxer: Retaliation doesn’t really do much for me as a sequel film, but adding Lambert classes up the film nicely. Hopefully part 3 can bring it all together. 

 

 

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Kickboxer: Retaliation Trailer!

Posted in Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme on January 5, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

I enjoyed Kickboxer: Vengeance well enough, but between that film and watching Jean-Claude Van Johnson (Review coming soon) I don’t see why we couldn’t have just continued with JCVD still playing Kurt Sloane. So here comes the sequel, once again starring Alain Moussi as Sloane and JCVD as his teacher Durant. Let’s see what they have us…

 

So Christopher Lambert and Mike Tyson are along for the ride on this one? That’s kinda cool. Yeah, its another final fight against a big man, but the rest of it looks like a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing this one. Hopefully JCVD will have a bigger part! I’d still love for JCVD to take over his series (sorry Alain, but it will always be JCVD’s) for the final film in the trilogy. I liked Alain in the first film but wasn’t sure he had the onscreen presence to really make it all work. He looks better in this film, but as with all things, it remains to be seen.

 

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Blu-Ray Review: Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Emmanuel Manzanares, Georges St. Pierre, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme, TJ Storm with tags , on November 8, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Who’s in this film?

Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Georges St. Pierre, TJ Storm, Sara Malakul Lane

The Film:

Alain Moussi now takes over the role of Kurt Sloane, who serves as a fight assistant to his successful karate champion brother Eric Sloane (Shahlavi). When mysterious fight promoter Marcia offers Eric a lot of money and the chance to face Tong Po (Bautista), a Kickboxing Muay Thai champion, Eric accepts, much to the dismay of Kurt. Eric goes to Thailand, and Kurt eventually follows, only to see his brother killed in the ring by Tong Po. Seeking revenge, Kurt tries to murder Tong Po, but with the help of a local cop (Lane) he hides at the home of Eric’s trainer, Master Durand (JCVD). There Kurt learns how to kick a ton of ass and finally is good enough to challenge Tong Po to a duel to avenge his brother…

The Review:

The film pretty much follows many of the beats of the original film, except for the beginning, which I won’t spoil here except to say that we first meet Kurt Sloane in a very dark place. There is a little time jumping, and the story doesn’t really allow me to connect to Kurt’s pain over his brother’s death, because their relationship isn’t touched on very much. Also a little baffling was the romance (sex) Kurt has with Liu, the Thai cop. It seems to just pop out of bloody nowhere, and there is no real resolution to it. Alain Moussi does a good job of playing Kurt Sloane, but doesn’t quite have the charisma that JCVD had in the same role. Speaking of which, JCVD was great every time he was onscreen, and in fact so much so I wish Master Durand was simply THE Kurt Sloane retired to train Kickboxers. JCVD even gets into a few scraps that show he’s still got it, but that’s no real surprise. I wonder now if JCVD being in the film hurts it rather than helps it.

The late, Great Darren Shahlavi, in his final role, is far too underutilized as Eric Sloane. I wish the film had not strayed from the original and kept Eric alive, which would have meant seeing a lot more of Darren. Gina Carano is in the film but is a complete waste. Her character could have been played by literally anyone. Sorry, if I see a prime Gina Carano in the credits of a film, I damn well expect to see her kick someone’s ass. The same can be said for Georges St. Pierre, who does have a few fight scenes, but there is one glaring edit of one of his fights— or some incident—that left me baffled as the film makes no explanation as to how he suddenly has  a broken arm after seeing him fairly healthy not many scenes before. Dave Bautista is okay as a much more menacing and intelligent Tong Po, but in the end he’s nothing more than a standard cookie-cutter baddie. Sara Malakul Lane is a stunningly beautiful woman, but her character doesn’t bring much to the story, except to slow things down too much with a useless side story.

The place where Kickboxer: Vengeance truly surpasses the original are the fight scenes, which many, and well shot and edited, and really gives Alain Moussi a chance to shine, but in the wake of Muay Thai films like Ong Bak or The Protector, some of it feels a little derivative. The best fight in the film, to me, is the fight between JCVD and Moussi. JCVD has better choreography here than I’ve ever seen this side of No Retreat, No Surrender.

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The Picture:

It’s a fantastic blu-ray transfer, as nearly all newer films are nowadays, and the colors pop appropriately.

Extras:

The only extras is the usual photo gallery and a commercial behind the scenes. The behind the scenes shows a lot of surface stuff, and doesn’t really go into the actual making of the film. In other words, incredibly disappointing. I would’ve loved to see a BTS of the fight choreography sessions (especially since Larnell Stovall and Emmanuel Manzanares of LBP Stunt Chicago are involved), not to mention maybe more interviews of JCVD or shots of him on set. Heck, even a trailer would have been nice. There were a hundred ways they could have gone with extras, and they really dropped the ball here. I also would’ve liked to hear the actors talk about the late Great Darren Shahlavi and what it was like to work with him.

Final Thoughts:

If you loved the film, or even if you just liked it, you’re going to be disappointed by the lack of extras here. It’s as bare bones as you can get. Here’s hoping the sequel will fare with better extras, ones that fans of martial arts film enthusiasts can get behind.

My original film review score stays the same: 6.5.

Kiai-Kick’s Blu Ray Score: 4

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Not even Gina Carano can save the lack of extras here.

 

Review: Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Emmanuel Manzanares, Georges St. Pierre, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Larnell Stovall, TJ Storm on September 12, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Georges St. Pierre, TJ Storm, Sara Malakul Lane

Fight Choreography by Larnell Stovall

Directed by John Stockwell

This is a particularly difficult film to attempt to review objectively; it’s a remake of the original, with many of the story beats the same, and still stars the main actor now in a supporting role, plus has one of the cheesiest/best dance scenes in the history of ever. Plus, I really liked the original, if for nostalgia’s sake.

Alain Moussi now takes over the role of Kurt Sloane, who serves as a fight assistant to his successful karate champion brother Eric Sloane (Shahlavi). When mysterious fight promoter Marcia offers Eric a lot of money and the chance to face Tong Po (Bautista), a Kickboxing Muay Thai champion, Eric accepts, much to the dismay of Kurt. Eric goes to Thailand, and Kurt eventually follows, only to see his brother killed in the ring by Tong Po. Seeking revenge, Kurt tries to murder Tong Po, but with the help of a local cop (Lane) he hides at the home of Eric’s trainer, Master Durand (JCVD). There Kurt learns how to kick a ton of ass and finally is good enough to challenge Tong Po to a duel to avenge his brother…

kbv

The film pretty much follows many of the beats of the original film, except for the beginning, which I won’t spoil here except to say that we first meet Kurt Sloane in a very dark place. There is a little time jumping, and the story doesn’t really allow me to connect to Kurt’s pain over his brother’s death, because their relationship isn’t touched on very much. Also a little baffling was the romance (sex) Kurt has with Liu, the Thai cop. It seems to just pop out of bloody nowhere, and there is no real resolution to it. Alain Moussi does a good job of playing Kurt Sloane, but doesn’t quite have the charisma that JCVD had in the same role. Speaking of which, JCVD was great every time he was onscreen, and in fact so much so I wish Master Durand was simply THE Kurt Sloane retired to train Kickboxers. JCVD even gets into a few scraps that show he’s still got it, but that’s no real surprise. I wonder now if JCVD being in the film hurts it rather than helps it.

kbv2

The late, great Darren Shahlavi, in his final role, is far too underutilized as Eric Sloane. I wish the film had not strayed from the original and kept Eric alive, which would have meant seeing a lot more of Darren. Gina Carano is in the film but is a complete waste. Her character could have been played by anyone. Sorry, if I see a prime Gina Carano in the credits of a film, I damn well expect to see her kick someone’s ass. The same can be said for Georges St. Pierre, who does have a few fight scenes, but there is one glaring edit of one of his fights— or some incident—that left me baffled as the film makes no explanation as to how he suddenly has  a broken arm after seeing him fairly healthy not many scenes before. Dave Bautista is okay as a much more menacing and intelligent Tong Po, but in the end he’s nothing more than a standard cookie-cutter baddie. Sara Malakul Lane is a stunningly beautiful woman, but her character doesn’t bring much to the story, except to slow things down too much with a useless side story.

The place where Kickboxer: Vengeance truly surpasses the original are the fight scenes, which many, and well shot and edited, and really gives Alain Moussi a chance to shine, but in the wake of Muay Thai films like Ong Bak or The Protector, some of it feels a little derivative. The best fight in the film, to me, is the fight between JCVD and Moussi. JCVD has better choreography here than I’ve ever seen this side of No Retreat, No Surrender.

Extra Bits:

The film was dedicated to Darren Shahlavi, and I was really happy to see they did that.

Yes, we are treated to JCVD’s original bar dance again, along with a side by side of Alain trying the same thing during the closing credits. Sorry, but JCVD STILL wins that dance-off, Alain!

What else did this film need? Stan Bush. No, really. Stan Bush for the win.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6.5

Kickboxer: Vengeance has its moments, but reminds me too much of the original, but JCVD shines in a limited role. Alain Moussi grew on me as the film went on. Any chance we see Sasha Mitchell in Kickboxer: Retaliation? I hope so.

RLJ Entertainment has acquired Kickboxer: Vengeance!

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme on March 15, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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So this is really good news, as now we for sure will get to see Kickboxer: Vengeance on select big screens! Seeing JCVD in the film is a good thing, and with Dave Bautista on board, as well as the late great Darren Shahlavi (we miss you, man!) and the many talents on board I think this is going to be a fun film. The real key is whether star Alain Moussi can fill JCVD’s shoes. Here is the announcement below:

RLJ ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES “KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE”

 Jean-Claude Van Damme Returns to Star in the Reboot of the Cult Classic

 

LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2016 – RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) has acquired all U.S. rights to the highly anticipated KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE.  Co-Written by Dimitri Logothetis (Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers) and Jim McGrath and directed by John Stockwell (In the Blood, Blue Crush), the film features the return of Jean-Claude Van Damme to the franchise (Bloodsport, Kickboxer) and a bevy of professional athletes including newcomer Alain Moussi (X-Men: Days of Future Past) Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Gina Carano (In the Blood), Georges St-Pierre (Captain America), and Cain Velasquez (Term Life).  The film was produced by Logothetis along with Nicholas Celozzi (The Lost Angel), Ted Field (The Last Samurai, Jumanji), Allen Knudson, Samuel Cory Timpson and Rob Hickman (who also orchestrated the majority of the financing on the film).

RLJE plans to release KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE in theaters and On Demand later this year.  Mark Ward, RLJ Entertainment’s Chief Acquisitions Officer, made the announcement today.   

“Fans of Jean Claude Van Damme have been waiting for a long time for this reboot of the Kickboxer franchise,” said Ward.  “The film delivers more action and an amazing ensemble of fighters from Dave Bautista to George St-Pierre to Cain Velasquez and Gina Carano.   Fans will not be disappointed.”

“There is a spectacular beauty in martial arts films that audiences have been deprived of for a significant period of time.  Making KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE has been a priority and passion of mine for several years and I’m thrilled to be able to partner with RLJ Entertainment to bring this genre back to theatres,” said producer and writer Logothetis.

An update to the 1989 classic film KICKBOXER, KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE follows the story of Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi), who travels to Thailand to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of Tong Po (Dave Bautista).  Kurt trains with the legendary Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) until he is ready to take on Tong Po in a brutal fight to the death.

Jess De Leo, Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for RLJ Entertainment along with Ward negotiated the deal with Logothetis, Field, Brian O-Shea, and Mike Weber on behalf of the film.

RLJ Entertainment previously released its theatrical titles under the Image Entertainment brand, which RLJE purchased in 2012.  Recent RLJ Entertainment releases include The Rewrite with Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei, written and directed by Marc Lawrence; The Cobbler with Adam Sandler, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Ellen Barkin, Melonie Diaz, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, and Dascha Polanco, written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Tom McCarthy; Blackbird staring Academy Award® winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique , Isaiah Washington , and Julian Walker, directed by Patrik-Ian Polk; and the critically acclaimed Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins, written and directed by S. Craig Zahler.

 

ABOUT RLJ ENTERTAINMENT

RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) is a premier independent owner, developer, licensee, and distributor of entertainment content and programming in primarily North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. RLJE is a leader in numerous genres including feature films and urban with distinct content via its owned and distributed brands such as Acorn (British TV), Acacia (fitness), and Athena (documentaries). These titles are distributed in multiple formats including broadcast television (including satellite and cable), theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, and digital streaming.

 

Through Acorn Media Enterprises, its UK development arm, RLJE owns all rights to the hit UK mystery series Foyle’s War and is developing new programs. RLJE owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited, which manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to some of the greatest works of mystery fiction, including stories of the iconic sleuths Miss Marple and Poirot.

 

RLJE leverages its management experience to acquire, distribute and monetize existing and original content for its many distribution channels, including its branded digital subscription channels, Acorn TV, AcaciaTV, and UMC – Urban Movie Channel, and engages distinct audiences with programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests. Through its proprietary e-commerce web sites and print catalogs for the Acorn and Acacia brands, RLJE has direct contacts and billing relationships with millions of consumers. For more information, please visit www.RLJEntertainment.com