Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)
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Critic Reviews for Kickboxer: Retaliation
A stylish and enjoyable fight flick with just enough tongue-in-cheek content to keep us smiling.
A very dumb, and very satisfying throwback to a simpler time when American action films were as predictable as they were formulaic.
Unlike the last movie, which stumbled when outside the ring, [the director] doesn't bog things down with too much plot about fraternal bonding, love interests, or anything that requires an emotion more complicated than punching someone's lights outs.
Audience Reviews for Kickboxer: Retaliation
The 22nd of this month was the first time, in a long ass time, that I watched two movies in the same day and, relatively, back to back. I remember back when I was in school, which was situated in front of a Blockbuster Video (for those of you old enough to remember those), I used to go to said Blockbuster Video and rent about 8 movies for the weekend. I watched one, with my aunt, immediately after getting home. Probably watched one myself later that day. Then, at night, me and my aunt would watch two movies back-to-back. And, honestly, looking back on it now, I really don't even know how we did that. What I mean by that is that it takes me so long to get through one movie now that I've never, seriously, given thought to even doing that again. Yesterday was the exception, thought it wasn't meant to be. I meant to watch Sharknado 5 on Monday night but, unfortunately, the power went out literally 2 minutes into the movie (at a quarter to 10 pm) and it came back at, around, 6 am. I suppose that's neither here nor there, just a bit of backstory, I guess. As far as this movie goes, honestly, I remember watching my fair share of Van Damme movies when I was a young boy. But, to be honest, I don't have as many memories of watching Kickboxer as much as I did of Bloodsport, which was one of those movies that I saw countless times on TV when I was a kid. I don't even know if I'd say that it was one of my favorite childhood movies, but it's just a movie that I saw a lot of. Kickboxer, on the other hand, I'm not as familiar with. What I do know is that this the sequel to the remake that came out in 2016. Remake which is, actually, still available on Netflix as we speak. Why I started with the sequel to the remake instead of the remake is beyond me, but it is what it is. Though, honestly, having seen this movie, watching the remake (while helpful) isn't essential to the plot. They catch you up on things fairly quickly and you never feel like you're out of the loop or confused with what's going on and why it's going on. Regardless, as far as these types of action movies are concerned, B-tier direct-to-video sequels, I haven't seen many of them. I do know the original Kickboxer had FOUR sequels, three of which were released directly to video. And, again, I've watched none of these movies. Honestly, while the may provide testosterone-fueled, macho cheesefest (where women are only damsels in distress), I'm just not that interested. Maybe this movie will inspire some sort of change in me and I'll start seeking out these low-budget direct-to-video 90s action flicks. Who knows? Having said that, and I know that this is wrong of me, but I came into this with very low expectations. I had low expectations, but an open mind, if that made sense. Because sometimes, some people, who go in with a certain expectation from a movie, have already made up their mind one way or the other. I don't like to do that, even if it happens from time to time, because I like to believe that I give movies a fair shot and I don't judge them based on any of my own thoughts prior to watching them. As far as this movie is concerned, I just wasn't expecting much. I wasn't expecting anything terrible, but I just didn't think this would amount to much. Well, would you color me surprised that this flick is actually, surprisingly, fairly decent and maybe even solid, depending on who you're talking to. Of course, it's not like the movie breaks new ground for action, and it was never meant to, but what it does it does well enough to where you might get some entertainment out of this. The narrative is predictable and formulaic. Sloane is kidnapped and placed into a Thai prison for murdering Tong Po (villain from the original and remake). The rich fight promoter that puts on these illegal underground fights to the death uses Sloane's imprisonment to lure him to, maybe, fighting Mongkut (this gigantic beast of a man) as he feels Sloane owes him one fight after killing Tong Po, his biggest attraction. Naturally Sloane, having had enough of this barbaric underground fight scene, declines. Eventually, Sloane agrees for one reason or another, I can't even remember. I just know that it happens after the arrival of Durand, his mentor from the remake (Van Damme). Or maybe it's before, I don't know. It doesn't matter. His wife, though, goes to Thailand to look for him and, naturally, she gets kidnapped by the bad guys, to give Sloane even more incentive to want to kick Monkgut's massive ass. It's made into a blood feud when Mongkut punches his wife's tit, caved it in apparently, and put her in a coma that she, almost immediately, recovers from. How dangerous can Mongkut be when he punches a woman that's five times smaller than he is and she recovers like it was nothing? Seriously, that's just kinda stupid. One of the only really stupid bits in the movie. It's like, fuck, now I wanna see Sloane's wife fight Mongkut, she probably stands a better chance. It's all very serviceable, as far as narrative is concerned. It maintains its focus on Sloane's training to defeat this giant of a man. There's very little in the way of subplots or anything that's not related to Sloane and his journey to fight Mongkut to the death. So I appreciate its focus on getting to where they need to go without any deviations. As far as fight scenes are concerned, they're, again, serviceable. It's not like there's Raid quality martial arts sequences here, but they're solid enough. There's a few that are edited together so it looks like it's one-take and those are, probably, the best of the film. Just how smoothly everything runs together, you don't really even notice any cuts. On the other hand, there's some transitions from scene to scene that are quite horrendous. You might be seeing a training session with Sloane and, quite literally, the next second, he'd be in a meeting with the fight promoter. It wasn't exactly the smoothest of edits and you have to wonder who had the skill to put together the "one-take" fight scenes, but not be able to smoothly transition from one scene to the other. It's quite something to see. The climactic fight scene between Sloane and Mongkut is highly entertaining. They do a great job at making the villain look as unstoppable as possible. They even, in front of Sloane and the crowd, inject the man full of steroids. I mean, how preposterously over-the-top, but it works. To quote Lil' Wayne, he is not a human being. It's just a fun scene and I don't really have much else to say about it. The acting is perfectly fine as well, but Alain Moussi is honestly a little bland and lacking in the facial expressions. He obviously wasn't cast for his acting talent, he just looks and acts the part of a kickboxer. I don't know what else I can say about this movie, I thought this was a very decent and acceptable action movie. I don't feel that it was a good movie, but it falls just short of that. If you want a solid B-tier action movie, then this is just what the doctor ordered. It's not gonna blow you away, but it'll keep you reasonably entertained, if you're willing to give it a shot.
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