Jean Claude Van Damme’s version of Creed takes you back to late 80s martial arts nostalgia.
Taking a page form Sylvester Stallone, Van Damme, despite still having the skills to pay bills, which he shows off in the film, moves from student to mentor in what is a reboot of Kickboxer.
Or is it a remake of Kickboxer 2? Alain Moussi who takes over the role Van Damme had in the first movie, Kurt Sloane, looks more similar to Sasha Mitchell than he does to Van Damme. I see this most with Darren Shahlavi who plays Eric Sloane, The brother Kurt has to avenge after he’s killed in the ring. Shahlavi looks a lot more like a very little Van Damme.
Kurt Sloane tries to convince his big bro Eric to not do a Thai street fight, but Eric does it and is killed. Now Kurt seeks out Eric’s Master Durand (Now played by Van Damme) to get in shape to take revenge against Kickboxing Master, Tong Po.
Tong Po is now played by wrestling sensation, Dave Bautista. Bautista did a great job of looking like an unstoppable monster. His body seemed leaner and more like a kickboxer than a wrestler, and despite his skill level being applied to a different fighting method, he was still very impressive as a kickboxing villain.
The film is actually filled with some great fighters. One of my favorites is, Kavi a kickboxer in training and a somewhat friend to Sloane. One of the best scenes in the film is the beginning when the two meet. Classic Kung fu style, Kavi was the door keeper Sloane met before getting to see the master and he had to fight Kavi whose love of the bottle created a interesting drunken Mai Thai Technique that kicked this film off with…a hard kick!
Kickboxer: vengeance maybe an update to the original, but it’s very stuck in that late 80s-early 90s era when Seagal And Van Damme were leading a new martial-arts film craze. It’s like the movie pokes fun at itself realizing who it’s audience is and doing nothing to appeal to anyone else. Very little talk and lots of fighting. Some fight scenes go up to twenty minutes long.
It goes by fast and never slows down. It’s like Expendables, with some high octane testosterone pumping on the screen even from Gina Carano who plays a weaselly fight promoter. The only estrogen comes from The stereotypical eye candy from Sara Malakul Lane who plays Sloane’s love interest, a cop who can’t possibly function wearing those tight dresses and high heels.
If you’re a fan of the beginnings of Jean Claude Van Damme, than you got to watch Van Damme put on his old mentor swagger in Kickboxer: Vengeance. It’s a perfect film to watch, cause it does not pretend to be what it’s not and is only focus on being what it is.