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. 

 

 

Advertisements

Watch “The Debt Collector (2018) | Official International Trailer (Scott Adkins) HD” on YouTube

Posted in Scott Adkins with tags , on March 20, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Because, you know. We can NEVER have too much Scott Adkins!!!! Watch the trailer below, and know that Tony Todd is simply awesome.

Review: Gintama (2018)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 7, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Masami Nagasawa, Masaki Okada,

Fight Choreography by ?

Directed by Yuichi Fukuda

Gintama is an adaptation of a popular Japanese anime and manga about a world in which aliens took over the Earth during the Edo-period, and all swordsmanship has been outlawed. Enter Gintoki and his friends, who are set out to recover a powerful sword that may be able to swing the balance of power once recovered, but find that the mission is far more dangerous than they believe, and they aren’t the only ones looking to possess the sword, and must ultimately defeat the serial killer wielding it…

At least that’s what I think they are trying to do. It’s really hard to tell, partly because this film is really, really bad.

The performances are okay, but even if they weren’t they are the least of this film’s problems.

I’ll admit up front I’ve never seen the anime, so I don’t know how accurate it is. Truthfully it shouldn’t matter. Films should be able to stand on its own two feet, and not dependent on having read or seen anything else (unless it’s part of another film). This film has a group of silly, unfunny characters, an unlikable hero, unnecessary and 4th wall breaking that is really not funny save for one, and only one scene that evokes a Miyazaki film, and tries way too hard to stage scenes and moments right out of the anime, which comes off looking silly.

Someone thought this was a good idea.

There was potential in the story, but too many times the film want to be the Naked Gun of live-action manga films, but first you need to have more successful ones before doing that. The film is mostly a comedy, and there isn’t as much action as you’d think, and what is there isn’t very good, despite being glossed over with special effects. At no level does this film work, not as a comedy and not as an action film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 2

I nearly gave this film a 0, but fans of Gintama may get more out of it than I did. If you want an offbeat batshit crazy Japanese film, I’d suggest Tokyo Tribe instead.

Sometimes we deserve nice things… Michael Jai White knows this!

Posted in Michael Jai White on March 5, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

While we wait for Black Dynamite 2, MJW is kind enough to bring us another badass character, the Outlaw Johnny Black, in what looks like a remake of Buck and the Preacher, (and I noted a few shots from A Fistful of Dollars and morebut you’ll not hear me complain! It may not have martial arts ( but I’ll bet it does) but I’ll never turn away a MJW film! He could recite Shakespeare and I’d cover it here. Watch the epic trailer below!

The Teaser Trailer for Cobra Kai is here!

Posted in Ralph Macchio with tags on February 15, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Will Daniel get that leg swept again? Whatever happened with anyone from the Karate Kid 2? Will Daniel meet Hillary Swank’s character for a team-up beatdown? At least one of these questions will be answered in the webseries Cobra Kai, and behold the teaser below:

 

Hmm. I’ve been hesitant about this series ever since I heard about it, but there is a chance to have good drama following these characters again. I can’t imagine these characters will face off again, but who knows? I wonder who the fight choreographer is? What do ya’ll think?

Because we can never have enough Vlad in our lives.

Posted in Vlad Rimburg on January 29, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

So here’s some cool stuff to get the week started. Vladislav Rimburg, fight choreographer extraordinaire, graces us with a prior unreleased little jem he made back in 2010 with Andy Long and some other good folks you may recognize. Enjoy, and happy Monday everybody!