Kickboxer is one of the greatest films ever made. If you disagree with that statement, we have very different worldviews. When I heard it was getting remade, with former WWE wrestler-turned-movie-star Dave Bautista as their big name, I had to groan; of course they’re going to fuck up one of my favorite movies. But then they started adding pieces I actually like. For instance, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, noted stunt badass Alain Moussi, and former UFC welterweight great Georges St. Pierre, were all on board. Okay, that’s interesting, and while two of those pieces are no longer a part of this particular puzzle, they’ve added a new one in the form of a little guy named Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now you have my attention. I still think this is a terrible idea, but I’m moderately intrigued now.
According to the press release, Van Damme joined the remake of the 1989 classic replacing Jaa as Master Chow (Dennis Chan in the original), and can’t you just picture him imparting all kinds of wise, grizzled wisdom on his protégé? That could be fun. He better teach his student how to do the splits or I’m totally done.
Moussi, who you probably don’t know by sight, but have seen doing stunt work in everything from White House Down and Pacific Rim to Smurfs 2, takes the lead as Kurt Sloane, a kickboxer out to avenge his brother’s death. Bautista plays the evil Tong Po, which is good because that means he won’t have to talk much, just look big and menacing. I think he’s perfect in Guardians of the Galaxy, but if you’ve movies where he’s not playing a flat-toned, literal-minded alien ass kicker, you don’t want him to have a lot of lines. There’s no mention of Adkins being involved anymore, which is disappointing. He’s one of baddest action heroes currently working anywhere in the world, but hopefully that means he’s on to something else awesome.
Honesty, if this was anything other than a straight remake of Kickboxer, I’d be 100% on board. Even it if was like, “Hey, that sounds exactly like Kickboxer,” but it simply had another title, I’d be waiting for this with bated breath. Maybe I’ll be able to get past that when the time comes, maybe I won’t, but here’s hoping.
Production starts on Kickboxer this month in New Orleans and Thailand. They better keep Van Damme’s sweet dance moves.