Blu-ray Review: KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE

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KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE was directed by John Stockwell and marks the return of Jean-Claude Van Damme to the franchise, and a bevy of professional athletes including newcomer Alain Moussi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Darren Shahlavi, Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.

An update to the 1989 classic film KICKBOXER, KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE follows the story of Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi), who travels to Thailand to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of Tong Po (Dave Bautista).  Kurt trains with the legendary Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) until he is ready to take on Tong Po in a brutal fight to the death.

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This was my first introduction to Alain Moussi who has done all kinds of stunt work in movies and television and he did a good job for the most part. Maybe he needs to sharpen up his acting skills just a bit but he definitely looks the part of the clean cut action hero. He’s a real badass when it comes to fighting and of course he does his own stunts which is really impressive because that’s what this movie is all about – action. Speaking of action, there’s quite a few MMA champs and former champs in the movie and they all get some time to show off in different ways. Some get to show off their acting skills while others get to go a few rounds.

Jean Claude Van Damme played the part of Kurt in the original cult classic but he steps aside to play the trainer in this updated version. Even though it’s a supporting role, Van Damme plays an important part in this movie that otherwise would have fallen flat without him. Don’t get me wrong because it’s still a good action movie with lots of fighting but JCVD adds a little something special to the mix. It was good to see him back in the franchise that helped launch his career and he’s still got it after all these years. I’m also aware that he’ll reprise his role as Master Durand in Kickboxer Retaliation, so bring it on! Michel Qissi played the villainous Tong Po in the original film and this character kind of creeped me out as a kid. He was just a scary looking dude! For this relaunch Dave Bautista steps in to play the character and to be honest, he gives it more of a menacing look. This version is also scary but in a different kind of way and Bautista nailed it.

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The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Kickboxer: Vengeance was a great way to relaunch the martial arts franchise for a whole new generation to enjoy while staying true to the 1989 classic. The story is pretty much the same but it does have a few tweaks to it. There was this cheesy charm about the original that this movie steers away from so it sets off more of a serious vibe. There’s still some cheese and a little humor but it’s offered up in a different way, this time from some of the acting and JCVD who is simply fun to watch. John Stockwell was brought in to direct and he did a really good job capturing the action scenes with some familiar moments while giving the movie its own updated identity. The movie honors iconic moments from the original but it also offers up lots of new content as well. The action and fight scenes were all well choreographed to the max and that’s easily one of the best parts of the movie. They take the action to the next level and it’s impressive! There’s a lot of adrenaline junkie insanity in Kickboxer: Vengeance! This Blu-ray releases on November 8th and is worth checking out.

Distributor: RLJ Entertainment

Run Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: 

  • Behind-the-Scenes: Kickboxer: Vengeance (06:11)
  • Photo Gallery (00:15)

 

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