Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kickboxer (1989)


We have a story of a man who is cocky as can be go to Thailand to challenge arguably the best kickboxer alive.  The rest of the movie focuses on the little brother who is out to exact revenge against the mighty Tong Po.  I will admit this movie is entertaining enough to finish watching it all.  Despite Jean-Claude Van Damme not having a lick of acting ability he makes up for it just enough with his fight scenes.

                I must get this out before I go any further but Xiao (Dennis Chan) was my favorite character.  Now he plays the eventual trainer to Karl Sloane (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and he’s quite hysterical.  I also believe Dennis Chan to be the best actor in the film which shouldn’t surprise even a diehard Van Damme fan.  He was in some Chinese film comedies and it obviously shows.

                Karl has an older brother named Eric (Dennis Alexio) in the movie who manages to be a worse actor than Van Damme himself.  I suppose a wise cast choice to make the star appear better at acting?  That’s what I think and it seems solid enough right?  Eric is the world champion of kickboxing yet he doesn’t know where the fighting style originated, he’s absolutely clueless.  When he finds out he just says something brilliant like well let’s go there so I can beat them up.  Back to where it came from though, Thailand dummy, even I knew that thanks to a video game called Street Fighter, Sagat!  Kickboxing is based on Muay Thai, you know like Thailand?  Let’s wrap up what happens to bonehead Eric shall we?  He challenges Tong Po, who is a beast at kickboxing, and paralyzes his uneducated arrogant self.  It’s truly fitting as you don’t find yourself rooting for him at all to be honest.  So Karl witnessed Tong Po kicking a concrete pillar to pieces in his changing room before all that and Eric still insisted.  He had it coming to him man.  
A.C. Slater is Eric Sloane, killer mustache
  
                The campy, corny 80’s music really hurts this film; it’s not needed at all!  It basically makes you laugh but that’s still a positive I suppose?  It’s a martial arts type of movie you need some soothing mystic sounds in the montages.  Karl gets focused on revenge of course.  He tracks down a guy named Xiao with the help of a funny, sometimes funny I should say, guy name Taylor.

                Eventually the training begins for the enviable rematch with Tong Po.  Xiao makes Karl do mundane tasks like grocery shopping for him which enables the ever bright Karl to fight in the store while trashing the place.  The shop owner is Xiao’s daughter that Karl obviously falls for, I mean why not right?  Did you see those attractive outfits he wore around?  The actual physical training sequences were comical when Xiao would drop these gourds from a tree onto Karl and make him run from his dog to work on his speed.  Trust me these are the best parts ha-ha!

                The final training moment is when Karl gets drunk at the local bar, which is like Louie’s restaurant place from Disney’s Tailspin as far as design structure, and just beats everyone up basically.  Xiao seems to be enjoying it and watching Van Damme try to be drunk is really hilarious.  It’s one of those it’s so bad its good type of deals.

                Alright the big final fight, for starters the fighting was choreographed to a fault.  It wasn’t very entertaining, I’d rather him get drunk first, it could’ve helped.  Tong Po’s managers or whatever they are kidnap his disabled brother to gain leverage in the fight.  They apparently really feel Karl is going to win in order to stoop so low but he has been training drunk so they could be right!  Eric eventually gets rescued so Karl is free to open his can of, well you know on Tong Po.  The fight goes completely 180 and Karl whoops Tong Po with a serious of flexes and muscular poses.  He also kicked him a lot.
Muscular pose +10 Style Points!

                It was a funny movie albeit it wasn’t trying most of the time, which makes it that much better.  The fashion worn by Van Damme is hilarious; you should watch it just to see that.  I will admit the physical abilities of Van Damme in the movie are impressive.  The split kicks always make smile as he incorporates it into every movie I’ve seen him in.  It’s nothing fantastic but it’s good enough to watch once a decade.  That constitutes as good still right?  My lingo on the matter varies so I wasn’t sure.  The test of time hurts this movie terribly as martial arts films are so amazing nowadays.  If anything watch it for Xiao!!

                Rating: 6 of 10


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