aka: Kickboxer 2
Director: Albert Pyun
Starring: Sasha Mitchell, Peter Boyle, Dennis Chan, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, John Diehl
The ultimate rematch. The bloodiest battle. The final revenge.
David Sloan is a good guy who is trying to make ends meet to keep his gym running. He is a trainer and teacher at the gym and has a huge passion for giving lessons to younger street kids who needs some adult guidance in their lives.
The evil fighter Tong Po, who has murdered David’s brother Kurt, wants to redeem himself from loosing a martial art fight against Kurt by fighting David but he is not interested in fighting for the sake of fighting. So Tang Po and his boss Mr. Sangha comes up with a plan to pressure David into the fight.
The first Kickboxer film ended up becoming a huge hit and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme in an era were he was on the quick rise into action hero fame. When the time came for making a sequel, Van Damme pulled out and decided to do Double Impact instead so the filmmakers had to find a different path to take this potential franchise.
So they created a new brother to the Van Damme character of the first one, even though it is made very clear that there isn’t any other brother outside of the two that is featured in the first film. They did not add a reason for David Sloan even exciting in this film and that’s a good example of how poorly scripted and flawed this sequel is.
To be honest though, a martial arts action film can work regardless of what’s written in the script cause if it’s good and fun then no one will honestly care about the story. It’s only when the other stuff doesn’t deliver that you are left with focusing on the story. And the film does start great, cause before the first twenty minutes has passed by you are introduced to characters played by Peter Boyle and Matthias Hues (criminally underused and a perfect bad guy), so you automatically gets excited about what’s going to unfold in front of your eyes.
Sadly, Hues wasn’t the main villain and Boyle didn’t get to be a full on sleazy businessman and I think that combo would have been much better than to bring back Tong Po from the first film. When a bad guy has been beaten before in a martial arts film, he is kind of done and there’s no reason why he should come back unless it’s some brilliant idea behind it. Here he just walks back in and it doesn’t work.
Sasha Mitchell is suitable as a leading good guy in films such as these, but sadly the fighting scenes didn’t deliver. They were done in very slow motion and there was just so many other films that did it better than this one and without great fight scenes a movie like Kickboxer is doomed to fail. The director this film was Albert Pyun, who actually did shoot a film with Jean-Claude Van Damme before this called Cyborg. He has also done plenty of other b-movie flicks, including a few with the Full Moon studio. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that the writer was David S. Goyer and he was a part of the writing crew for The Dark Knight Rises! I guess he improved a lot during the years, cause the story here is messy.
Kickboxer II: The Road Back is not very good or fun. With a cast such as this you should be allowed to expect something better than the final product we got here. This film is only for die-hard fans of the early 90’s fighting films and no one else.