Thailand and Muay Thai
Have Never Looked Better
In the opening scenes of Kickboxer:Vengeance we enter Thailand and journey to the city of Bangkok, along with a wayfarer named Kurt Sloan (Alain Moussi), who claims to want to study Muay Thai in the land of its ancient birth with the Master Tong Po, but actually has a darker purpose in mind, an act of murder.
But wait! I thought this was supposed to be a remake of the 1989 Kickboxer. Well, it is and it isn’t. And by that I mean if you’ve seen the original Kickboxer a million times, you still won’t know what’s coming next. This entry into Thailand, even for those who have made the journey before, is a brand new experience.
Producer-writer-director Dimitri Logothetis makes excellent use of the Thai setting, capturing the beauty and ancient majesty of both Thailand and the art of Muay Thai, as well as the hard-core grit of urban Bangkok and the dark world of underground fight clubs. The action, music, and pulsating pace of Kickboxer-Vengeance never leave you alone.
I counted as many as nine fights in which I could not believe what I was seeing. The fighting in this film is both real and fast, and the onscreen performers (Dave Bautista, Georges St. Pierre) are world champions for real. Alain Moussi as Kurt Sloan is athletic and acrobatic, and beautifully displays a young man’s dark journey from innocent athlete to world-class destroyer.
The original Kurt Sloan from the 1989 film, Jean Claude Van Damme, now plays Kurt’s trainer, and this is no cameo. It’s a pivotal role with several great fight scenes of his own! And he brings a refreshing sense of humor to the whole film.