Review by Bradley Smith
Alain Moussi and Jean-Claude Van Damme return for the seventh, yes “seventh”, installment in the Kickboxer series. Kickboxer: Retaliation is the sequel to 2016’s reboot, Kickboxer: Vengeance, and features Kurt Sloane, a year older and back in Thailand, literally fighting for his freedom from imprisonment by a powerful gangster played by Christopher Lambert.
MMA champion Kurt Sloane is an excellent fighter, but is he good enough to win an underground death match against a 400 pound, drug-enhanced killer (played by Game of Thrones actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson)? Maybe, with the help of the legendary master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme, who originated the role of Kurt Sloane in the original Kickboxer movie) and another imprisoned fighter played by Mike Tyson. Kickboxer: retaliation is nearly two hours of fighting, training, chasing, fighting, action, beautiful scenery, classic music, excellent choreography, and more fighting.
If you haven’t seen at least the 2016 reboot (which is on Netflix as of the time I write this), you may have some quick catching up to do in regards to the characters, but the plot is largely self-contained and straightforward; and the martial arts displays are very thrilling, albeit a bit drawn out at times. Anyone with an interest in martial arts will likely be on the edge of their seats for most of the movie.
The locations used in the movie are spectacular, it doesn’t just take place in a prison as the synopsis might imply. First, the movie opens on a train, where we begin with dancing and transition into the first of many fight scenes. Naturally, the fighting makes its way to the top of the train which seems inevitable in action scenes taking place on a train… I joke, but I do find train top fights thrilling. Along the way to the climactic showdown, we get other inspiring views that are pleasing on the eyes. So if the fighting is too brutal, and it is very realistic most of the time, then maybe you’ll enjoy the scenic views. Though, if you’re not into martial arts, you will probably want to consider another movie.