Kickboxer: Vengance is the 2016 reboot of the 1989 martial arts film Kickboxer, which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme (who appears in Vengeance as the main character’s mentor). The film stars Alain Moussi as Kurt Sloane; a kickboxer hell bent on avenging the death of his brother, Eric, who was killed in the ring by champion kickboxer Tong Po. Written by Dimitri Logothetis and Jim McGrath and directed by John Stockwell, the film also stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre and Darren Shahlavi (in his final role).
This movie is boooooooooooring.
It has a paper-thin plot and barely enough story to justify the events that takes place. And it’s a cliché story at that. It is surprisingly dull for a film that even if it’s bad should at least be fun because of the martial arts.
It’s not even that.
And the fact that it ends with the very cliché ass-pull of power and motivation that suddenly makes the hero stronger and better does not help.
In terms of the actors and stuntmen executing the choreography and making the fights look convincing, the fight scenes for the most part were alright. But they were boring to watch.
There was one fight scene in particular however, that was half-assed and weak; the kicks and punches were more like light taps and you could see the actors holding back so that they didn’t injure each other. Their movements were slow and didn’t look like they had any real power behind them.
Every single character in this movie is blander than bland. They have no charm, no charisma, no personality. Nothing. They are wholly uninteresting. To call them one dimensional would be to give them more character than they actually have. At least the kickboxers look good shirtless, as does that one female police officer, Liu, in that one sex scene.
Which, speaking of, is boring. And awkward.
The “romance” between Kurt and Liu came out of nowhere. There was nothing prior to them kissing the first time that made any indication that they were even remotely attracted to each other besides the fact that he is male and she is female. There was absolutely no chemistry between Moussi and Lane; they were so stiff and mechanical in that sex scene. They did not look like they wanted to have sex with each other.
The acting in this movie is terrible. The actors bring nothing to their roles; they just recite their lines at each other and try (and fail) to make convincing facial expression and that’s about it.
They act like they are trying too hard to project an emotion. Which they are. There is no feeling behind the performance and because of that you can’t connect with their already flat character that you don’t care about.
Dave Bautista is the best actor in the film and that’s because he doesn’t have to say or do much. All he had to do was look mean and for him that’s easy.
There was also an announcer who had really lame dialogue that delivered his lines like he was in a bad fighting game. He even said “Can I get an ‘Amen!’” at one point.
They did win points for having the Thai characters speak Thai and not English just for the sake of the audience. But quickly lost those points when two small Thai children had American accents for some reason.
This film is not engaging at all.
If you like mediocre action movies with no story or plot, characters that struggle to be interesting, painful to watch acting and a little showing of boobs, then maybe watch this? The fight scenes aren’t even good enough to keep it entertaining. It’s fine enough for a one-time watch. If you have access to the video on demand services this was released on (iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu) then stay home and watch it there.