Jean Claude Van Damme kicks again in ‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’

Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes, and clips and puts it all in perspective.

Prior to Kickboxer: Vengeance, there have been five Kickboxer movies. After Jean Claude Van Damme relinquished the titular role in the first Kickboxer, Sasha Mitchell took over the lead role for three movies. Mark Dascasos starred in Kickboxer 5: The Redemption in 1995. And that is the last movie in this Kickboxer universe. 

In 1989, the year the first Kickboxer came out, Lloyd Dobbler (Say Anything…) told Diane's dad that kickboxing was “the sport of the future.” He was right. It's 2016, and mixed martial arts are more popular than they've ever been. And now we have a full-on Kickboxer reboot in Kickboxer: Vengeance.


The movie looks fun. I expect to hear inspirational music and see lots of kicking. That's all I want out of a movie about kickboxing. If there's more than that, I might question the meaning of life. As far as I'm concerned, Kickboxer: Vengeance delivers with a vengeance. 

The one thing that bums me out, maybe just from a process point of view, is why did it have to be a reboot? Why couldn't JCVD play an older version of the Kurt Sloane character instead of him playing some random trainer guy? I know Kurt died somewhere between Kickboxer and Kickboxer 2, but since when does that matter in movies? Kurt could have faked his death in lived in obscurity for awhile. In entertainment, if we don't see a body (and even if we do) we can assume that character could still be alive. If you're famililar with the Kickboxer movies, I'd think that it might be rewarding to see Kurt return just like it was  rewarding to see Vin Diesel playing Dom Torretto return at the end of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.  

It doesn't look like they went in that direction. And I think that's a mistake, as reboots are out and sequels with new leads yet carrying relationships with the older characters are in (see Star Wars: Force Awakens and Creed). Maybe Kickboxer's financiers got the memo a little too late.

Either way, Kickboxer fans, let me know if this movie was kicky enough!

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, I incorrectly stated that JCVD, Sasha Mitchell, and Mark Dascasos all played the same person.