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Film Review: “Kickboxer” (1989) ★★★★


Great plot. Amazing storytelling. Enormous amounts of realistic fighting scenes. Training of ancient marital arts. Vengeance. Absolutely unforgettable soundtrack. Performance. And a beautiful and incomparable style of 1989’s filmmaking that no one ever will ever be able to achieve. This may sound a bit goofy for you, but when you watch Mark DiSalle and David Worth’s cult KICKBOXER starring the outstanding Jean Claude Van Damme, you will hardly be able to disagree with me, unless you have never seen it before…

Kurt Sloane (Jean Claude Vam Damme) is a younger brother of Eric Sloane, a U.S. Kickboxing champion, Eric Sloane (Dennis Alexio) hardly knew the taste of loss until the moment when he decided to face against a strong and ruthless Tong Po (Michel Qissi). During their fight in Thailand, Tong Po’s style of fighting leaves Eric paralysed for the rest of his life. Full of anger and desperation, Kurt vows to avenge his brother and seeks help from Zion, a kickboxing trainer, the only one who might be able to prepare him for the biggest fight of his life.

When the film begins, you find Eric, good or bad, but full of himself, confident that he is completely unbeatable. In order to prove that he is the best at kickboxing, he travels to Thailand to fight against the Thailand champion. But as it usually happens, you can’t teach Muay Thai to someone who was born in the country that invented that combat sport. Eric certainly forgets that, and pays a big price for it by losing the ability to ever fight again. When Kurt witnesses how his brother lost in an unfair fight, he promises to make Tong Po pay for it.

As the story unfolds, Kurt is getting stronger and stronger, while Zion not only trains the young man physically, but psychologically as well, to ensure Kurt will be ready to stand on the ring with the remorseless Tong Po, who can’t wait to send Kurt to the same hospital from where Eric was just released. In the meantime we were a beautiful training process, jean Claude Van Damme’s unique charisma, the same fighting scenes and choreography directed by Van Damme himself makes this film one of the best in its kind.

In the end, there is literally nothing to complain about KICKBOXER. It gives you everything you want to enjoy the film throughout without even needing popcorn. Despite being just an action film, this film, unlike many others will be remembered long after you see it. Because nowadays there are no such films being made which would ever be able to beat the original KICKBOXER, Jean Claude Van Damme or the fantastic feelings or emotions this film triggers in you throughout. And if this is not what it makes it timeless, then what is it?

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