Jean Claude Van Damme is Kurt Sloane, the brother of American kickboxing champion Eric Sloane (Dennis Alexio). Eric travels with Kurt to Thaland to face the dangerous Muay Thai monster known as ‘Tong Po’. Po cripples Eric Sloane, leaving the younger brother hellbent on revenge.
Luckily, Mr. Miyagi himself happens to live nearby and, in a series of vignettes, teaches Van Damme how to be a badass so he can go and get some revenge. Also along the way the bad guys rape Van Damme’s girl, kidnap his crippled brother, and kill his dog, because just crippling said brother wasn’t nearly enough.
In the end they all pay for this with the most severe punishment possible that being ROUND HOUSE KICKS TO THE FACE!
I must have watched this movie a hundred times as a kid, so I cannot possibly ever rag on it too hard. That said, watching with fresh adult eyes now, I admit, it is a laughably cheesy and yes, kinda bad movie. Damn you, I still love it though.
Van Damme’s acting here is even more awkward and hilarious than usual, and him playing the Ralph Macchio role in what is basically a grown up Karate Kid on steroids provides many opportunities for hilarity, including the greatest scene in film history where Van Dam, in tight khakis and a black wife beater, takes out an entire bar full of Thai ruffians, all the while doing some sweet Disco moves.
Kickboxer gets a three out of five: GOOD.