Archive for the Christopher Lambert 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. 




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.



Review: The Hunted (1995)

Posted in Christopher Lambert, Yoshio Harada with tags , , on August 9, 2013 by Michael S. Moore


Starring Christopher Lambert, Jone Lone, Yoshio Harada, Yoko Shimada, Joan Chen

Fight Choreography by Tom Muzila

Directed by J. F. Lawton

The 80’s and 90’s saw martial arts films in the USA going ninja crazy. So much so a lot of new films starring good folks like Sho Kosugi and others came and went, but the mystique of the dark clad assassins have always tickled the fancy of Americans. Around the mid-90’s the ninja craze was already fading, but not before an overlooked film would wind up being the best of the American ninja films.

Three words: Bullet. Train. Sequence. More about that later.

The film begins as we meet Paul Racine (Lambert) a computer tech executive from New York who is attending a business meeting in Tokyo, and while hanging out at a bar meets Kirina (Chen), a beautiful woman that Racine takes out and has a fabulous night, and after he leaves Kirina’s apartment, she is ambushed and marked for assassination by the ninja Kinjo (Lone) of the Makato Clan. No one has seen Kinjo’s face, but Kirina defiantly requests to, and he obliges her as this is his last kill, but Racine returns to her room unexpectedly, and is badly injured by the other ninjas, but not before seeing Kinjo’s face, and seeing Kinjo behead Kirina.

A day or so later Racine is visited by Sensei Takeda (Harada) and his wife Meiko (Shimada), Takeda himself a swordman and a modern samurai. He is looking to protect Racine from Kinjo, who is sure to come after him, but Takeda has other ideas for Racine, and for Racine to survive, he must learn the way of the sword and navigate his way through an ancient way of Japanese life that many had thought was long gone…


This is one of the few American films that, in regards to ninjas and samurais actually feels…right. Christopher Lambert is at the top of the marquee, but make no mistake this is actually a Yoshio Harada film, as his presence just dominates the screen whenever he’s there. John Lone is also great as Kinjo (even though he is Chinese) and brings a great deal of menace, and performs his fight scenes well. The story itself is well told, and moves at a good pace. There isn’t many slow moments, but the film never forgets to inject a little humor, and the good news is that it’s not at the expense of Japanese culture. The cinematography is okay but nothing exceptional, but Lawton does have one sequence to rule the all:

The Bullet Train Sequence.

This is a scene where Takeda, protecting Racine, starts at one end of the train, where on the other end, ninjas are making their way to the back, killing every single human being between them and Racine, meaning we get to see ninjas wiping out passengers by the dozens. It’s a tense scene, and once Takeda makes his way to them, you cheer when he starts slicing and dicing ninjas. It’s a great sequence and the camerawork does exactly what it needs to, and it’s not editing in quick cuts like so many American martial arts films tend to do. The sword fighting is well done here, and last exactly as long as each confrontation should, which as in many samurai films, is begun and ended quickly.


The other set pieces are well done, particularly the final fights including the Kinjo vs. Takeda fight, which is shot well, and gives a sense of space between the actors fighting, something overlooked in many swordfighting films. Once Christopher Lambert takes over, it all goes out the window for some deus ex machina moments in order for Lambert to become victorious.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

The bullet train sequence is one of the best “ninja” moments in the history of ever. A great film that is easily the best of the American ninja film genre.

Review: Mortal Kombat (1995)

Posted in Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Christopher Lambert, JJ Perry, Keith Cooke, Reviews, Robin Shou with tags , , , on February 9, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Robin Shou, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (CHT), Christopher Lambert, Keith Cooke (cameo), Bridgette Wilson, Linden Ashby

Fight Choreography by Pat E. Johnson

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

For martial arts fans in the US, the early and mid 90’s were rough. Unless you knew a buddy who got the bootleg stuff from Hong Kong and Japan, you were left with Steven Seagal with the ever-expanding waistline, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, master of the ass shots and splits. In other words you were shit out of luck. There was cool martial arts to be found in video games, with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat leading the way. Hollywood thought they would both make a good film, and they were half-right. Little did we know that Jackie Chan was about to change US cinema forever with Rumble in the Bronx a year later, but at that time we were given Mortal Kombat…

The film opens following three characters: Liu Kang (Shou), who wants to avenge the death of his brother Chen by the murderous Shang Tsung (CHT), Sonya Blade (Wilson) who is hunting a smuggler who killed her brother and has lured her into the tournament, and Johnny Cage (Ashby) a Van Damme-like movie star who enters the tournament to prove he’s the real deal. They make their way to an island owned by Shang Tsung (doesn’t the plot remind you of another martial arts classic?), and meet his fearsome fighters: Sub-Zero, a ninja who has perfected a freezing technique, and Scorpion, a ninja returned from the dead with a grapple claw and fire breath, which I hear is standard fare for all resurrected ninjitsu warriors. They also have to face Goro, a six-armed 7 foot tall muppet, and Reptile, a lizard who can transform into a ninja fighter. They are all from another dimension called Outworld, ruled by their master Shao Khan.

Our heroes are aided by Princess Kitana (Soto), the former ruler of Outworld, and Rayden (Lambert), the god of Thunder and Lightening, worshipped by the chinese monks for being a god of Thunder and Lightening. And a kung-fu master. And French. Liu Kang and his new friends soon find out they aren’t just fighting in a tournament, but are fighting for the fate of Earth, and each of them learn a valuable lesson about themselves in the process.

Yes, this is truly a silly film, but it’s still fun, probably one of the better video game adaptations done. They rip off the plot for Enter the Dragon wholesale, but hey, someone was going to eventually. Robin Shou does okay for Lui Kang, but his acting leaves a lot to be desired. His fighting isn’t so great either. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not bad. His kung-fu is technically good, but he doesn’t have the grace and speed of Donnie, Jackie or Jet. Everyone else is cut from that same Hollywood cloth of actors who don’t really know any martial arts but has a lot of stunt people doing it for them. In the case of Johnny Cage some of the stunts are done by JJ Perry, the fight choreographer fromUndisputed 2, and Blood and Bone, and Keith Cooke, he of China O’Brien.

The fights themselves are either pretty good or really weak. Sonya Blade’s fight is really weak, but Lui Kang versus Sub-zero and Reptile is pretty damn good. The best, in my opinion, is the fight between Johnny Cage and Scorpion. That has a great fight in Scorpion’s lair, with really good choreography, the best in the film. CHT brings the villany as he always does, and gives a decent fight to Lui Kang at the end of the film, but his-and Lambert’s scene chewing are the best moments of the film, aside from one last thing:

The Music. George S Clinton brought techno music to the attention of pop culture after being in the underground scene for years. Suddenly we became aware of acts like Orbital, Utah Saints, Massive Attack, Juno Reactor, and more. The Mortal Kombat theme itself wants to make you get up and smack someone. Think not? Listen to this:

Makes you want to jump up and give someone a tornado kick to the face! If anything, this film was a good mix of old school martial arts and special effects that had good and weak moments for both, but overall is an enjoyable film, but the soundtrack makes the film better than it actually is.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (7) Good choreography for an American film, and could have been better if the actual stars of the film outside of Robin Shou and CHT (I don’t think he knows much) actually knew martial arts.

STUNTWORK: (8) These guys had to hold up the actors who didn’t know martial arts and did a good job at doing so. The guy wearing the Goro suits deserved a raise.

STAR POWER:(6) CHT is money in the bank as always, and Christopher Lambert is always a treat. Robin Shou doesn’t have the charisma to be a big star. Everyone else is fairly forgettable. Some of the stuntmen in the film went on to bigger and better things.

FINAL GRADE: (7) One of the best video game adaptations ever, which is faint praise, but is a good check-your-brain-at-the-door film for martial arts film buffs.