Every Kickboxer Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

How do the Kickboxer films rank, from worst to greatest? 1989’s Kickboxer is a cult traditional and probably the most well-liked martial arts movies in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s profession. With the primary movie within the sequence, Kickboxer pit the Muscles from Brussels in opposition to the ruthless Muay Thai killing machine, Tong Po (Michel Qissi).

Kickboxer could be adopted by 4 sequels, although Van Damme didn’t return as his kickboxing protagonist Kurt Sloan. Kickboxer 2 by means of Kickboxer 4 centered their consideration on Sasha Mitchell as the brand new hero of the sequence, David Sloan, whereas Mark Dacascos later headlined 1995’s Redemption: Kickboxer 5. Van Damme would later return to the franchise with the reboot Kickboxer: Vengeance in 2016, this time within the mentor position of Master Durand with Alain Moussi as the brand new Kurt Sloan, each returning for 2018’s Kickboxer: Retaliation.


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The Kickboxer sequence has lengthy been a persistently action-packed blast for martial arts followers. In addition to boosting the early profession of Van Damme, the Kickboxer franchise was additionally the massive break for most of the different aforementioned massive stars within the martial arts film world, displaying their abilities within the franchise’s roundhouse and spinning kick-filled motion scenes. As a testomony to the Kickboxer franchise, Tong Po himself additionally continues to face as one of many best martial arts film villains of all time. Here are all the films within the Kickboxer sequence, from weakest to strongest.

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

The Kickboxer sequence switched its protagonist’s chair to David Sloane for Kickboxer 2, and regardless of a number of first rate struggle scenes, the film took a really ill-advised strategy to that transition. David Sloane (Sasha Mitchell), the brother of Kurt and Eric Sloan, runs a kickboxing gymnasium in Los Angeles, and will get roped right into a scheme of revenge on the Sloane household by Tong Po. While writing in one other Sloan hero because the martial arts warrior main the Kickboxer franchise would have been a superbly welcome addition, Kickboxer 2 deflates a lot of the potential of that by opening with Kurt and Eric having been killed by Tong Po after the primary film. It is a twist as heart-wrenching and disastrous because the character deaths Alien 3 opened on, and is simply as unattainable to miss.

Despite the nice abilities of Mitchell and different martial artists like Vince Murdocco and Matthias Hues and the returning Dennis Chan as Kurt’s mentor Xian Chow, Kickboxer 2 can be a serious downgrade within the presentation of its struggle scenes from the primary Kickboxer‘s Van Damme-led martial arts battles. Much extra common than these of its predecessor, Kickboxer 2’s fights even have a weird factor of maximum close-ups on the bloodied faces of fighters taking punches and lingering there far longer than essential. Kickboxer 2 is just not the type of sequel one hopes for from the much more impactful unique, and whereas Murdocco snags some good moments in a number of of the sharper kickboxing fights of the film, Kickboxer 2 is in any other case a letdown with an underwhelming Tong Po return and largely unimpressively showcased struggle scenes.

Kickboxer 3: The Art of War (1992)

After the Kickboxer franchise plummeted to its low level, in distinction to the larger success of the Bloodsport martial arts film sequence, Kickboxer 3: The Art of War supplied a slight comeback for Kickboxer. Kickboxer 3 takes David and Xian to Rio de Janiero for a match, the place the 2 find yourself uncovering a toddler trafficking operation. Kickboxer 3 is a extra competent film general than Kickboxer 2, with real-life kickboxing champion Ian Jacklin bringing some nice new power to the sequence as David’s opponent within the ring as Eric Martine. Still, the step up it represents is hardly a correct return to kind, with the struggle scenes nonetheless largely common and the clunky story working too arduous to pit David and Xian in opposition to organized crime.

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In a variety of methods, Kickboxer 3 barely looks like it’s even part of the Kickboxer franchise, and doubtless would have even with Jean-Claude Van Damme returning as a result of basic tonal detour it represents, with each the attraction and the finesse of the unique Kickboxer a distant reminiscence the second the movie will get began. Like Murdocco in Kickboxer 2, Jacklin is the best supply of leisure in Kickboxer 3. Otherwise, there’s equally little to advocate.

Kickboxer 4: Aggressor (1994)

The Kickboxer films step by step clawed their method again to their unique requirements over time, and whereas Kickboxer 4: Aggressor is hardly the equal of the unique, it at the very least does what it got down to do much better than Kickboxer 2 or Kickboxer 3, this time bringing David Sloane to struggle Tong Po once more after the Muay Thai masster has grow to be a criminal offense boss in Mexico. Kickboxer 4 relatively unnecessarily reminds viewers of the lack of one-time Predator Van Damme’s protagonist Kurt and Dennis Alexio’s Eric Sloane throughout its opening credit, however as soon as the film will get previous that, Kickboxer 4 at the very least has some first rate motion scenes with David and his many opponents.

By the time of Kickboxer 4, Tong Po had been executed to demise after which some as a villain, (Kamel Krifa changing Michel Qissi in Kickboxer 4). The plot of Kickboxer 4 of David competing in Tong Po’s event to the demise to rescue his spouse Vicky (Deborah Mansy) is simply as simplistic as the primary two Kickboxer sequels, and director Albert Pyun (who additionally helmed Kickboxer 2) has executed much better work in films like Cyborg and Bloodmatch. Still, Kickboxer 4 does sufficient proper to point out that the franchise had extra life in it.

Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Kickboxer was up to date for the trendy age with 2016’s Kickboxer: Vengeance, with a brand new Tong Po in Dave Bautista and Van Damme passing the torch to stunt man Alain Moussi in his first main position. Kickboxer: Vengeance follows the essence of the 1989 unique, with Darren Shahlavi’s Eric Sloane defeated (and on this case killed) in a match with Thailand’s reigning champion Tong Po. Eric’s brother Kurt (Moussi) trains for a revenge match beneath Master Durand (Van Damme), and as with the unique, followers of coaching montages and the artwork of splits may have loads to take pleasure in with Kickboxer: Vengeance.

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Alain Moussi does an all-around fantastic job as the brand new Kurt Sloane, and is a marvel to behold in struggle scenes, particularly matching Van Damme’s trademark helicopter kick. Bautista additionally brings the highly effective presence {that a} villain like Tong Po calls for. Meanwhile, Van Damme, frequently flipping his ’90s persona, actually finds a brand new area of interest for himself as a martial arts mentor, although the choice to fairly noticeably dub half of his dialogue mars the movie. Kickboxer: Vengeance embraces the testosterone and ‘80s camp of the unique and is a enjoyable look ahead to martial arts followers, together with being an emotional one for being one of many final appearances of Darren Shahlavi, who tragically handed away in 2015 at 42.

Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)

Kickboxer: Vengeance was not with out its bumps within the street, and its 2018 sequel Kickboxer: Retaliation took discover of them to ship a considerably higher sequel. In Retaliation, Kurt Sloan is coerced by Thailand-based crime boss Thomas Moore (Christopher Lambert) into going through champion fighter Mongkut (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Dimitri Logothetis, the screenwriter of Vengeance, steps as much as direct Retaliation, and whereas the plot is just not a radical shift from the struggle movies of Van Damme’s filmography, he reveals actual promise as a martial arts filmmaker.

Alain Moussi is much more astonishing in his struggle scenes as Kurt, battling by means of a jail in a wonderful one-shot struggle and even taking up former world heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson. Van Damme can be again as Durand and reveals his clear knack for mentor roles has solely grown sharper, changing into a Miyagi-level Muay Thai coach who adapts to being blinded with out the slightest problem. If Kickboxer: Vengeance was a great warm-up, Kickboxer: Retaliation is an actual martial arts powerhouse with a villain aptly described by Durand as “four times Tong Po” and delivering on that in his showdown with Kurt, which can be absolutely behind requires Alain Moussi to be forged as Johnny Cage.

Redemption: Kickboxer 5 (1995)

While extra of a tangential off-shoot of the Kickboxer films than a full continuation of their story, Redemption: Kickboxer 5 is definitely the most effective of the 4 sequels. Mark Dacascos stars as Matt Reeves (to not be confused with the director of The Batman), on a mission to avenge the demise of his buddy and fellow fighter Johnny (Denney Pierce) in opposition to kickboxing megalomaniac Negaal (James Ryan). Negaal is correct out of the James Bond franchise in his efforts to forcibly construct the South Africa-based Negaal Kickboxing Federation into the last word kickboxing promotion, and his cartoonishly evil portrayal of Negaal is half the rationale to see Kickboxer 5.

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Mark Dacascos is spellbindingly superb in his struggle scenes in Kickboxer 5. Matt additionally has a considerably gruffer ally in Paul Croft (Geoff Meed) along with his personal vendetta with Negaal’s gang, along with his extra burly combating fashion contrasted to the fluidity Mark Dacascos dropped at the John Wick films seen in his position as Matt. Redemption: Kickboxer 5 is every little thing Kickboxer followers love concerning the sequence and every little thing martial arts followers adore concerning the ‘90s straight-to-video kickboxing sub-genre in one package, made that much better by Mark Dacascos as the movie’s high-kicking lead and James Ryan’s daffy narcissism as Negaal (who even will get in a match with a German fighter performed by Gavin Hood).

Kickboxer (1989)

Jean-Claude Van Damme was off to a begin robust in his early profession within the ‘80s, and Kickboxer is still one of the most refined and enjoyable martial arts films he ever made. When American champion kickboxer Eric Sloan (Dennis Alexio) travels to Thailand for a match with Tong Po, the vicious monster of the ring leaves Eric crippled with an elbow to the back. Van Damme’s non-twin brother Kurt trains with Xian Chow to defeat Tong Po. Kurt’s harsh Muay Thai coaching is among the greatest relationships of trainer and scholar ever portrayed in an American martial arts film, with Kurt additionally growing a romance with Chow’s niece Mylee (Rochelle Ashana).

Kickboxer’s struggle and coaching scenes present why the film stays a favourite amongst Van Damme followers, whereas Van Damme’s bar dance to Beau Williams’s “Feelin’ So Good Today” is a enjoyable romp of his affability and suppleness alike. Kurt’s showdown with Tong Po for the distinction of Eric can be one in all Van Damme’s all-time greatest battles, Kurt and Tong Po’s fists sure in glass-coated hemp because the hero spin-kicks his revenge in opposition to his enemy. Kickboxer is second solely to Bloodsport on the rating of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s films, however with regards to the Kickboxer sequence itself, with its excellent martial arts fights, coaching montages, and Stan Bush’s traditional rock ballad “Never Surrender”, the unique Kickboxer continues to carry the franchise’s championship belt.

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