There are several different ways to breathe new life into old movie franchises, and in remake/reboot-happy modern Hollywood they’re all getting a workout. Creed opted to continue the story of the Rocky movies by introducing a new “legacy” hero to be trained by a now-aged Rocky Balboa. The new Ghostbusters, on the other hand, ported the basic idea and some iconography from the original film into an entirely new storyline with different characters.
Sometimes, though, filmmakers prefer to skip the logistical gymnastics and go for a straightforward re-teling – as in the case with Kickboxer: Vengeance, which retells the familiar story of the 1989 martial-arts cult-classic with a new cast and original star Jean-Claude Van Damme in a different role. You can now watch the full trailer for Kickboxer: Vengeance online (see above).
The original Kickboxer is widely considered, along with Bloodsport, to be the main source of Van Damme’s original rise to fame as an action star. Combining the muscular action-drama heroics popularized in more conventional action films of the 1980s (by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger) with the elaborate choreography and unusual martial-arts styles associated with features from China and Hong Kong, the low-budget film was a surprise hit in theaters; grossing some $50 million worldwide on a $2 million budget. It was also the first time many mainstream American action fans had heard of Muay-Thai fighting, and is sometimes credited with the style’s subsequent explosion in popularity with U.S. mixed martial-arts athletes.
Kickboxer: Vengeance, directed by John Stockwell, follows the same basic plot of the original; with Canadian stuntman/actor Alain Moussi taking over for Van Damme as one of two kickboxing-enthusiast brothers who are lured to Thailand for a chance to compete in a mysterious martial-arts tournament. However, he discovers too late that the opponent is David Bautista as near-invincible local champion Tong Po; who murders one brother in the ring to prove his dominance. Van Damme himself returns as a kickboxing trainer whom the surviving brother entreats to prepare him to take revenge on Tong Po via a series of brutal training sequences.
While the trailer is light on story (there’s little indication if the subplots about local gangland corruption that padded-out the second act of the original film will be revisited as well), it takes great care to show that iconic moments like Tong Po shattering concrete with his legs and a fight using broken-glass boxing-gloves have been faithfully preserved. Along with Moussi, Van Damme and Bautista, the cast includes other real-life MMA athletes such as Deadpool‘s Gia Carano, former UFC Heavyweight Champions Fabrício Werdum and Cain Velsaquez, top-rated Welterweight Champ Georges St-Pierre (last seen as Batroc in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and the late martial-arts star Darren Shahlavi in his final role.
While theatrical returns for traditional martial-arts features have been spotty in recent years, the Kickboxer: Vengeance producers are confident enough in the project to have already begun work on a sequel currently titled Kickboxer: Retaliation. The original film spawned three sequels, where Sasha Mitchell replaced Van Damme as a previously-unmentioned other brother of the main character.
Kickboxer: Vengeance begins a limited U.S. theatrical release and arrives on VOD on September 2nd, 2016.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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