Archive for the Jean-Claude Van Damme 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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It’s time for Beyondfest 2017!!

Posted in Jean-Claude Van Damme on September 7, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

BEYOND FEST ANNOUNCES ITS FULL SLATE FOR 

THE RETURN OF LA’S BIGGEST GENRE FILM FESTIVAL  

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vince Vaughn, Dario Argento, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Edgar Wright, Tommy Wiseau and Paul Williams headline a star studded roster of guests and a slate featuring 23 West Coast Premieres including BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, and BEST F(R)IENDS.

Los Angeles, CA – Thursday, September 7, 2017 Beyond Fest, the highest-attended genre film festival in the US, is excited to announce its full slate of 2017 programming featuring 32 events and 23 West Coast premieres of cinematic excess. Co-presented by Shudder, Beyond Fest returns to Hollywood’s famed Egyptian Theatre for 12 days of movies, music and mayhem spanning Friday, September 29th – Tuesday, October 10th to generate funds for the nonprofit 501c3 American Cinematheque.   

With a diverse slate that includes films from all corners of the globe Beyond Fest is proud to open with BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 with director S.Craig Zahler returning with Vince Vaughn and Udo Kier in person, while closing night honors are bestowed upon Yorgos Lanthimos’ ferociously-twisted follow-up to THE LOBSTER, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. Other hotly-anticipated titles making their debuts include the World Premiere of Justin MacGregor’s BEST F(R)IENDS with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero reunited and in person, Joe Lynch’s blissfully violent MAYHEM, and, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video, a very special theatrical premiere of JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON with the Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme, in person with the show’s cast and creators.

“While the two worst manbaby haircuts on the planet prepared for nuclear destruction, we prepped cinematic armageddon,” said Beyond Fest Co-Founder, Christian Parkes. “We’re immigrants and we saw DR. STRANGELOVE – we know how this ends – but at least we get to watch some great films with our heroes and friends and go out with a real bang.”

The most beloved genre films are highlighted with a series of special event screenings throughout the festival. Arnold Schwarzenegger takes center stage for an explosive 30th anniversary one-two punch of PREDATOR and THE RUNNING MAN. The Master, Dario Argento, will be in attendance to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SUSPIRIA with screenings of Synapse Film’s 4K restoration AND the recently unearthed 35mm print. ‘Car Chases, Collisions & Conversation: An Evening with Edgar Wright and Walter Hill’ covers four decades of filmmaking and the interrelated nature of the pulsating smash BABY DRIVER and the seminal THE DRIVER in one epic night. Musical maestro, Paul Williams, will share stories from behind the mask of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Mick Garris and Masters of Horror preside over a reverential tribute to two of the greats – George A. Romero and Tobe Hooper –  with a double bill featuring the West Coast premiere of MOMA and FIlm Foundation’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 4K digital restoration and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. And the theatrical premiere of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE BOOTLEG EDITION pairs a totally gonzo WTF double bill with HOWARD THE DUCK on 70mm with Lea Thompson in person.

Beyond Fest welcomes the return of genre streaming platform Shudder as its co-presenting sponsor, a partnership that provides 14 screenings (11 West Coast premieres) absolutely free to film fans. Every night, the 90-seat ‘Shudder Theatre’ will feature a brand new film selected from across the world including Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s triumphant return BEFORE WE VANISH, home invasion thrill ride BETTER WATCH OUT, the critically acclaimed Canadian zombie shocker LES AFFAMES (THE HUNGRY), Marc Meyers’ searing portrait of a serial-killer-in-the-making, MY FRIEND DAHMER, Alexandre O. Phillippe’s revelatory PSYCHO shower scene doc 78/52, and Ted Geoghegan’s sophomore scalper, MOHAWK.

For Cinematic Void’s sidebar they have enlisted the help of like minds as they venture further into the unknown with a series of special screenings. Author and academic Kier La Janisse will be present for Jean Rollin’s THE GRAPES OF DEATH and the release of the book, Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin which she is publishing. Friday Night Frights are co-presenting the west coast premiere of the 4K restoration of the thoroughly bugnuts RAWHEAD REX and the Death Waltz Records record release of HELLRAISER on 35mm. And filmmakers Amy Holden Jones and Deborah Brock will be present for a double bill of anniversary screenings of their films SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE and SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II.

Tickets go on sale starting noon on Friday, September 8th on Fandango.  See below for the full lineup of Beyond Fest 2017.

EGYPTIAN THEATRE

BABY DRIVER

Director: Edgar Wright

Country: USA

Runtime: 102 min.

Year: 2017

GUESTS: Edgar Wright & Walter Hill in Person

BAD BLACK  (free screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Isaac Nawibana

Country: Uganda

Runtime: 60 minutes / Year: 2016

BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM

Directors: Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski

Country: USA

Runtime: 76 min.

Year: 1993

GUESTS: Andrea Romano plus voice actors TBA in Person

EGYPTIAN THEATRE- Continued

BEST F(R)IENDS

World Premiere

Director: Justin MacGregor

Country: USA

Runtime: 95 min.

Year: 2017

GUESTS: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero and Justin Macgregor in Person

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99

West Coast Premiere

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Country: USA

Runtime: 132 min.

Year: 2017

GUESTS: S. Craig Zahler, Vince Vaughn and Udo Kier in Person

DOUBLE IMPACT

Director: Sheldon Lettich

Country: USA

Runtime: 110 min.

Year: 1991 / 35mm

GUEST: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich in Person

THE DRIVER

Director: Walter Hill

Country: USA

Runtime: 90 min.

Year: 1978 / 35mm

GUESTS: Edgar Wright & Walter Hill in Person

HELLRAISER

Co-presented with Death Waltz Records + Friday Night Frights

Director: Clive Barker

Country: USA

Runtime: 94 min.

Year: 1987 / 35mm

ICHI THE KILLER – Digital Restoration

West Coast Premiere

Director: Takashi Miike

Country: Japan

Runtime: 129 min.

Year: 2001

EGYPTIAN THEATRE- Continued

HOWARD THE DUCK – 70mm

Director: Willard Huyck

Country: USA

Runtime: 110 min. 

Year: 1986 

GUESTS: Lea Thompson in Person

JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON – Episodes 1 & 2

Presented by Amazon

World Premiere

Director: Peter Atencio

Country: USA

Runtime: 60 min.

Year: 2016

GUESTS: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Peter Atencio, Dave Callaham, Kat Foster, Moises Arias.

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

West Coast Premiere

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Country: UK, Ireland

Runtime: 109 min.

Year: 2017

MAYHEM

West Coast Premiere

Director: Joe Lynch

Country: USA

Runtime: 86 min.

Year: 2017

GUESTS: Joe Lynch and cast in person

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE – THE BOOTLEGGED EDITION

Theatrical Premiere

Director: Jared Hess

Country: USA

Runtime: 96 min.

Year: 2004

GUESTS: Cast and crew in person

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – 4K Restoration

West Coast Premiere

Director: George A. Romero

Country: USA

Runtime: 96 min.

Year: 1968

GUESTS: Mick Garris & Masters of Horror in Person

EGYPTIAN THEATRE- Continued

OPERA (aka TERROR AT THE OPERA)

Director: Dario Argento

Country: Italy

Runtime: 100 min.

Year: 1987

GUESTS: Dario Argento in Person

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE

Co presented with Creature Features

Director: Brian De Palma

Country: USA

Runtime: 92 min.

Year: 1974

GUESTS: Paul Williams in Person

PREDATOR

Director: John McTiernan

Country: USA

Runtime: 107 min.

Year: 1987 / 35mm

GUESTS: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Person

RAWHEAD REX 4K Restoration

Co presented with Cinematic Void and Friday Night Frights

West Coast Premiere

Director: George Pavlou

Country: USA

Runtime: 89 min.

Year: 1986

THE ROOM

Director: Tommy Wiseau

Country: USA

Runtime: 99 min.

Year: 2003

GUESTS: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero and Guests in Person

THE RUNNING MAN

Director: Paul Michael Glaser

Country: USA

Runtime: 101 min.

Year: 1987 / 35mm

GUESTS: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Person

EGYPTIAN THEATRE- Continued

SUSPIRIA – 4K Restoration

LA Premiere

Director: Dario Argento

Country: Italy

Runtime: 100 min.

Year: 1977

GUESTS: Dario Argento, Udo Kier, Barbara Magnolfi in Person

SUSPIRIA – 35mm Italian Cut

LA Premiere

Director: Dario Argento

Country: Italy

Runtime: 98 min.

Year: 1977

GUESTS: Dario Argento and Barbara Magnolfi in Person

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

Director: Tobe Hooper

Country: USA

Runtime: 83 min.

Year: 1974

35mm

GUESTS: Mick Garris & Masters of Horror in Person

SHUDDER THEATRE

78/52 (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

Country: USA

Runtime: 91 min.

Year: 2017

BEFORE WE VANISH (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Country: Japan

Runtime: 129 min.

Year: 2017

BETTER WATCH OUT (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Chris Peckover

Country: Australia, USA

Runtime: 85 min.

Year: 2016

SHUDDER THEATRE – Continued

COLD HELL (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Country: Austria

Runtime: 92 min.

Year: 2017

THE GRAPES OF DEATH AKA Les Raisins de La Mort (Free Screening)

Director: Jean Rollin

Country: France

Runtime: 90 min.

Year: 1978

HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Jon Schnitzer

Country: USA

Runtime: 88 min.

Year: 2017

JAILBREAK (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Jimmy Henderson

Country: Cambodia

Runtime: 92 min.

Year: 2017

LES AFFAMES (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Robin Aubert

Country: Canada

Runtime: 100 min.

Year: 2017

MOHAWK (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Country: USA

Runtime: 91 min.

Year: 2017

MY FRIEND DAHMER (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director: Marc Meyers

Country: USA

Runtime: 107 min.

Year: 2017

SHUDDER THEATRE – Continued

REVENGE (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director:  Coralie Fargeat

Country:   France

Runtime:  108 min

Year:  2017

SEQUENCE BREAK (Free Screening)

West Coast Premiere

Director:  Graham Skipper

Country:   USA

Runtime:  108 min

Year:  2017

GUESTS: Graham Skipper, Cast and Crew in Person

THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (Free Screening)

Co-presented by Etheria and Cinematic Void

Director: Amy Holden Jones

Country: USA

Runtime: 77 min.

Year: 1982

GUESTS: Amy Holden Jones in Person

Double Feature with SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II

THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II

Co-presented by Etheria and Cinematic Void

Director: Deborah Brock

Country: USA

Runtime: 77 min.

Year: 1987

GUESTS: Deborah Brock in Person

Double Feature with SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE

Attend Beyond Fest:

Tickets for Beyond Fest 2017 are will be made available for purchase through Fandango and the American Cinematheque on Friday, September 8th at noon PST.

For the latest developments, visit the Beyond Fest official site www.beyondfest.com and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

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

kbv4

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.

kbv

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

kbv2

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

kbv4

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.

Get over to Amazon and watch Jean-Claude Van Johnson right now!

Posted in Jean-Claude Van Damme on August 19, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

jean-claude-van-johnson-600x410

Amazon is currently asking for everyone to vote on 3 pilots that can go to series, and this is one of them! The premise is bonkers: JCVD plays himself, but has a secret identity as an assassin, spy, whatever he needs to be! He’s retired now, but has to get back into the game when his true love (Kat Foster) returns to his life, but he isn’t quite the agent he used to be.

Now that sounds like surefire failure, but folks, this show is pure GOLD. From all of the faucets in his house spouting coconut water to his segway to his JCVD soap and aftershave, and get ready to see the Hard Target Mullett JCVD again! The show allows JCVD to make fun of himself, but still manages to tell and interesting story. And wait until you see how Timecop figures into things, and seeing JCVD starring in an action remake of a classic book…you have to see this for yourself! Not to mention JCVD has to deal with the fight choreography of today’s movies versus his classic films! And yes, I would pay cash money to see Jackie Chan as General Tso riding a CGI Chicken. Watch and you’ll understand. And somehow its awesome to see The Cosby Show’s Phylicia Rashad as JCVD’s handler tossing out curse words right and left! JCVD proves he’s got some real comedy chops, and I hope some of his former co-stars can get into thise series! Bolo Yeung represent! And lord that 80’s music!

I NEED this in my life! Ya’ll need to watch this show and make it happen! Don’t disappoint me. Else I might just find you all and do a patented splits followed by a punch to your groin. Check out the trailer below:

Get thee to Amazon Posthaste!