Archive for the Sasha Mitchell Category

Review: Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)

Posted in John Machado, Rigan Machado, Sasha Mitchell, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 24, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sasha Mitchell, Brad Thornton, Kamel Krifa, Michele Krasnoo, Jill Pierce, Rigan Machado, John Machado, David Efron

Fight Choreography by Burton Richardson and Shuki Ron

Directed by Albert Pyun

Sasha Mitchell returns as the last remaining Sloane after Kurt and his brother basically got killed off in Kickboxer 2. Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor finds David Sloane in prison after the events of Kickboxer 3, and Tong Po, who seems to survive damn near everything, is now living in Mexico as…I can’t believe I’m typing this–a Mexican drug lord. The explanation for this is barely understandable, but anyway, Tong Po, to make sure Sloane suffers, kidnaps his girlfriend Darcy, and keeps her in captivity. Fast forward two years later finds Sloane, still in prison, but apparently receiving photos of Darcy being violated by Tong Po. For TWO YEARS. David, now a brooding figure with a half-assed attempt at a Clint Eastwood growl. After he strikes a deal with the Feds, he gets released with the job of bringing in Tong Po dead or alive, but in order to get close enough to do so he must enter a tournament held at Han’s fortres–I mean Tong Po’s fortress and fight his way to a one-on-one fight with Tong Po, and save his girlfriend…

Okay, right off the bat this film combines Kickboxer, Enter the Dragon and Bloodsport into one film that isn’t remotely as good as any of them. Oh hell, they even copy from American Ninja in one insanely baffling sequence. Sasha Mitchell returns as David Sloane and is pretty much the same as every other film as things go on. He’s still the martial arts teacher, which in a weird way I found endearing. Kamal Krifa is nowhere near what Michel Qissi was, and the fake bald cap and makeup is truly embarrassing to watch. I mean, the acting in this film is pretty atrocious across the board, and Albert Pyun, he of many low budget films that I quite enjoy, can’t make this one interesting, and the story just doesn’t work. There were some nice things. I noted one of the fighters wore a Dacascos KungFu uniform, so that was a nice shout out to the Dacascos family. I wish Mark had been in the film (wish granted; he’s in the next one).

What else I don’t like? I don’t like how women in the film are treated as either sex objects, damsels in distress, and the few who display martial arts are treated as woefully bad fighters and are nearly all embarrassed by the men they fight.

And the one girl who does win her fight gets Kanye-ed by a black dude who just jumps in. Unlike Kanye he gets what he deserves but it’s still embarrassing. And yeah, pretty much every black dude except one just gets owned, except for the Capoeira fighter ( but as usual these dudes can’t win more than one damn fight in a tournament film) It was cool to see the Machado Brothers in the film, but I wish they had more to do.

Speaking of which, the fights in this film actually aren’t bad for an American low budget feature, with the bar fight a funny standout ( the guy who ties to avoid getting punched or kicked through a window was pretty humorous) and the final fight that was basically a lower-budget version of the final brawls in Enter the Dragon. Many different styles get displayed here, from BJJ, Kickboxing, Karate, Capoeira, and more. It’s easily the best stuff of the film, unless it involved any woman not named Michele Krasnoo, but there it is.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

The decent fights here are wrapped in a terrible story with equally terrible characters. Unfortunately this is the last film in the series featuring Sasha Mitchell (still looking for him in the new films, with the hope they give him a better final Kickboxer movie)

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Review: Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

Posted in Benny Urquidez, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Matthias Hues, Michel Qissi, Sasha Mitchell with tags , on September 23, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sasha Mitchell, Dennis Chan, Peter Boyle, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (CHT) Matthias Hues, Michel Qissi, Vincent Murdocco, Gene Lebell

Fight Choreography by Benny” The Jet” Urquidez and Jim Nickerson

Directed by Albert Pyun

For whatever reasons, after Jean-Claude Van Damme had his hits films in Bloodsport and Kickboxer the producers were hellbent on selling the rights off to whomever would buy them, and were successful, if not incredibly stupid for doing so, and rather than getting a new JCVD sequel, we get a film directed by B-movie director Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Captain America, the crappy one) and written by future superhero writer David Goyer (The Blade films, Dark City, and Batman Begins) for whom this was his second film, and starring newcomer Sasha Mitchell, famous at the time for starring in the American TV series Step by Step, and was a kickboxing champion.

So…

The film begins as we meet David Sloane (Mitchell), youngest brother to Kurt and Eric from the first film, who has been running their gym a few years after both Kurt, Eric, and Mylee were all murdered at gunpoint by Tong Po after the events of the first film. David is a good man, and takes care of the gym as best he can, but is having problems as the gym doesn’t have enough money to stay open, which had been kept open by the Sloane brothers by the winnings from their fights. The problem is David no longer fights, seeing fighting as the reason his brothers were killed, and has adopted a more zen way of thinking, and fighting. David gets an offer from kickboxing mogul Justin Maciah (Boyle) who wants David to become his main fighter and spokesman, but David refuses, but Maciah is able to convince his star pupil Brian to fight for him. As the bills pile up, David unknowingly sets off a chain of events by challenging Maciah’s fighter Neil Vargas (Hues) to a match, which David wins. Maciah’s business partner from Thailand, Sanga (CHT) has David injured and burns down his gym in order to get Kurt Sloane’s master from Thailand, Xian (Chan) to come to America, and Sanga sets a plan into motion to have David and Xian come face to face with Tong Po, and Sanga will attempt to regain his people’s lost honor…

The film has a decent story, if a very straightforward good versus evil story. David Sloane doesn’t get to go on a journey of discovery the same way that Kurt did, primary because the budget of the film was so low they couldn’t leave Los Angeles, so the scope of the film is limited, and the rest of the film follows suit, even down to the songs, which had to get a guy who sounded a little like Stan Bush to do the music.

Understand the implication of this: they had to get a guy who was a cheap knockoff of Stan freakin’ Bush. Yes, Stan “You Got The Touch” Bush.

That’s how low-budget this film was, but to his credit Albert Pyun didn’t waste whatever dime he had to make the film with. Sasha Mitchell was pretty good as the last Sloane Brother, even if the acting was stilted in places, more blame to the script written than anything else. Peter Boyle was sufficiently slimy as Maciah, but of course classic baddie of the 80’s and 90’s Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa stole the show as the main villain, and Tong Po, for whatever reason, actually looks far more intimidating here than he did in the original film, a good job by Michel Qissi, but he doesn’t appear until nearly the last fifteen minutes of the film. Dennis Chan is as good as ever as Xian, but taking him away from the Thailand setting was a bit disconcerting, but any amount of Dennis Chan as Xian is good enough for me. Look for the legendary Bruce Lee grappling trainer Gene Lebell as the referee, Benny Urquidez as a corner man, and Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills 90210) as a punk kid getting schooled by Mitchell.

The fights may have been well done, but it was hard to tell, because the fight choreography is lost among too many close-ups, slow-mo, quick edits, and some long shots that are too far away from the action. Benny Urquidez and Jim Nickerson look as if they did a good job, but it was too hard to tell as the editing and Pyun’s directing (no, he doesn’t know how to properly direct a martial arts fight scene) bring it all down, except in the final fight, which has better editing and camerawork than any other fight in the film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

A sequel to Van Damme’s film that while showcasing a new talent in Sasha Mitchell, and bringing back Dennis Chan, fails to live up to the first film’s action and training sequences. 

NEXT: Marc Dacascos and Scott Wolf search for the Double Dragon!

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