Kickboxer 2-The Road Back just had to happen during the Kickboxing movie explosion, and lucky for all of us our man Albert landed the job to launch the blood (s)Pyunning back kicks to the screen, joined by David S. Goyer and the real Tong Po, Michel Qissi as well. Toss in Sasha Mitchell as the likable David Sloane out to avenge the destruction of his family and dojo and this is a straight ahead skull cracking kickfighting blast.
David Sloane is the third Sloane brother we have met in two movies…and he is more a teacher than the kind of guy who hops a plane to Thailand to dip his fists in glass and smack around fighters. Since Van Damme isn’t on hand Goyer has to solve out why we have yet another Sloane on the scene. Well, after David turns down a chance to fight in a new kickboxing association the bad guys have to push him hard to fight…and he does so in grand fashion. He even gets to kick around the always awesome Matthias Hues for a bit. I’m not sure if it is Hues bad guy facial profile or just his hair, but I always love seeing him. But the promoters are not happy that Sloane announces his retirement right after the fight. In classic kung fu / boxer noir style, the gym gets turned to kindling and one of his students is killed.
This requires some ass kicking. Luckily the Thai Sifuperman that has taught the previous Sloane boys shows up to teach David…and he even reads The Avengers while he waits around for his new pupil to pop out of a coma. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa also shows up as a promoter out to avenge a loss…and he brought along Tong Po! Yep, Michel Qissi is back as the kickbox killah! Fight. Train. Fight. Fight. Bleed. Fight. Tong Po! Tong Po! Oh no! Tong Po….TONG POOOOOO…. Dammit, good guys won, but hey-we get kickboxer 3, 4 and 5. I have not seen 4 yet, but Tong Po returns-though sadly without a side of Qissi Kickboxing Quiche.
While the film is about as simple and straightforward as possible it features some really funny dialogue, a cast that includes the main players as well as Peter Boyle, John Diehl and Emmanuel Kervyn-the director of RABID GRANNIES??? Woah. Very weird…I co-wrote a screenplay with the producer of that movie! It is hard to really review this kind of film for me, because I have a very very soft spot for this period in direct to video films. I mean, if you have kickboxers battling, I’m there. Make ’em Cyborgs and I’m there with critical ImPyunity. The script functions well to get us past the missing star of the original and has some great funny little bits that will keep you chuckling as the fists are flying.
What is surprising is the level of brutality in the fights, the bloody make ups are excellent and Pyun seems to love close ups of guys getting kicked in the neck-which always works well onscreen. You don’t see enough of that. Plus, whenever Qissi gets to fighting on screen he brings a unique menace with his funky face and Thai Boxing stance. I think Tong Po is better in this film than the original frankly, he does the “your weak kung fu bounces off my steel hard skin little man” without saying a word better than most-and that includes HK baddies.
Can you go wrong with a heroic tale of kicking, punching, overcoming and a hero getting the snot pounded out of him before winning? Nope. Add in Tony Ripparetti’s score that jumps from heroic to soaring theme pop that is classic Kickfighting Keoma! You’ll have fun and I’m looking forward to part 4 already!