Kickboxer has a special place in cult-film history. In 1989, Jean-Claude Van Damme found one of his early movie successes when he starred in the martial arts revenge flick set in a deadly fighting tournament. Looking at the success of the MMA, the movie may have some historical significance as well.
Bruce Lee was an early advocate and practitioner of underground mixed martial arts tournaments. However it is interesting to speculate that organizers of modern-day MMA got their "vision" from watching this very film. The movie is the best live-action Street Fighter II game around. People travel from all over the world, with various styles of martial arts to do battles to the death in a tournament. The film's main character is there to seek revenge for his brother's murder.
A remake of this movie seems trite in today's movie climate where there aren't many martial arts stars around, those jobs have been mostly taken by superheros. The initial casting of the film's unknown lead, Alain Mousse barely made a blip. Then Radar Pictures made today's announcement that martial arts phenom Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2) and the legendary Tony Jaa (Ong-bak) would be joining the cast, making this movie a must-see instantaneously. This should give you an idea of why:
Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre is also coming on board after making an impression as Batroc, in Captain America: The Winter Solider. Not to mention, Guardians of the Galaxy standout Dave Bautista had already been cast as the Big Boss of the movie. The producers had this to say in regards to their approach to the action in the film:
“Kickboxer will display a style of acrobatic, rapid-fire martial arts action that Scott Adkins is increasingly becoming synonymous with,” said O’Shea, “Along with Tony Jaa, KICKBOXER has compiled a talented cast to push the boundaries of the martial arts form.”
Translation: There is going to be lots of flips and ass-kicking. The potential to raise the bar is high. Surely the creators are aware of films like The Raid: Redemption setting a new standard for hand-to-hand combat. With this many martial arts geniuses at the crew's disposal, this certainly will be one to look out for. Here is the official press release:
Brian O’Shea, CEO of The Exchange, has announced and confirmed that in addition to having Dave Batista, star of GUARDIANS OF THE GLAXY, former UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre, and Alain Moussi of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, the 3D reboot of KICKBOXER will boast two additional action stars: Scott Adkins (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, ZERO DARK THIRTY) and martial arts legend Tony Jaa (ONG BAK trilogy, FAST & FURIOUS 7).
The high-octane KICKBOXER remake is directed by Stephen Fung (TAI CHI ZERO, TAI CHI HERO). It stars Alain Moussi (X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST),
With the addition of Adkins and Jaa, KICKBOXER features a variety of over 20 martial arts disciplines. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY star Batista has long wrestled professionally for WWE but has formal backgrounds in Kali, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Moussi is a practitioner of Karate, Kickboxing, Aikido, Goshindo, Kobudo, Filipino martial arts, Sambo, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu. St. Pierre practices Kyokushin Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wrestling along with a vast array of talents stemming from a Mixed Martial Arts background.
Adkins has a lengthy resume in the action genre with roles in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE EXPENDALES 2, and a slate of other action-centric films. Adkins has also worked alongside the original KICKBOXER, Jean-Claude Van Damme, battling the legend on screen in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING. Adkins has backgrounds in Taekwondo, Kickboxing, and Judo.
Jaa is a veteran of the martial arts genre. His groundbreaking, blitzkrieg-paced ONG BAK films are cult classics. He also starred in THE PROTECTOR. Jaa is trained in Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Muay Boran, Aikido, Judo and Wushu.
KICKBOXER follows Kurt Sloan (Moussi), a talented martial artist who travels to Thailand where he must learn the secrets of the kickboxer to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of Tong Po (Bautista).
The film is produced by Ted Field of Radar Films (RIDDICK, THE LAST SAMURAI), Dimitri Logothetis and Nick Celozzi. Mike Weber and Peter Meyer will executive produce.
So what do you think of the casting? Any guesses on the order of fighters before getting to Bautista? Let us know on our comment boards, Facebook or on Twitter!
Source: Point of Geeks, SlashFilm, Variety. Photo Credit: Mike Selby