Kickboxer (1989) Snapshot Review

kickboxer 1989 movie

Kickboxer (1989)
Director:  Mark DiSalle, David Worth
Screenwriters:  Mark DisSalle, Glenn A. Bruce, Jean-Claude Van Damme
Starring:  Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Alexio, Dennis Chan, Michel Qissi, Haskell V. Anderson III, Rochelle Ashana
Plot: Amateur fighter Kurt Sloane must avenge his crippled brother by defeating his attacker and Muay Thai champion, Tong Po.

There are a few things that need to be overlooked before you can truly enjoy Kickboxer. The first is that muscle-laden and heavily-accented Kurt Sloan (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is actually the corner man for his slightly flabbier and obviously American brother, Eric (Dennis Alexio). The second is that someone can learn Muay Thai in a few weeks.

Once your blind eyes have been turned, you can start focusing your attention on where it matters – on the hardcore violence. Nothing makes people angrier than bad sportsmanship, which is exactly what gets Van Damme’s feathers ruffled in this classic 80s action movie.

When his brother and US kickboxing champion Eric is ruthlessly crippled in a national Muay Thai championship in Thailand (the less you ask about the legal recourse of that, the better), inexperienced fighter Kurt seeks revenge.

Needless to say his journey plonks him in the most remote Thai village with the Mr. Miyagi of kickboxing, Xian Chow; and his good looking daughter, Mylee.

The plot is typical of a 80s action, but thanks to “that iconic dance scene” and “that iconic glass on the glove scene” there’s plenty of slap to go with the tickle. Kickboxer still remains a Sunday afternoon go-to movie, and certainly ranks higher than the 2016 remake, purely because of its retro charm.

Lower your plotline standards, avoid looking for any connections and don’t take it too seriously, because watching Kickboxer is like having a cheap and dirty one-night stand.

Thankfully Van Damme has the good sense to leave before you wake up from your ‘slightly rubbish’ action daydream, which played a hand in my generous score of…

Score: 11/24

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