Thursday, January 31, 2013
Kickboxer 5: The Redemption (1995)
The end is near, finally. One mans quest to watch a Van Damme movie made him go further into the catacombs of unloved sequels and finally his journey has come its end: Kickboxer 5: The Redemption! No Van Damme in sight of course, but even more strange, no Sasha Mitchell. Instead Mark Dacascos took over the tired franchise, now worn out like a cheerleader trapped in a dorm of horny jocks. You get my point. But I like Dacascos, even if he seem to spend every living hour nowadays being some judge at a cooking show and ignoring the fine legacy of DTV action films and supporting parts in more mainstream projects. Good for him, bad for us.
Anyway. David Sloan has been killed - which is mentioned quickly and we now follow kickboxing trainer Matt Reeves and his student, the very happy and optimistic Johnny (Denney Pierce). Everything is well until the day a couple of henchmen, controlled by the mega-evil psychopath and kickboxing-enthusiast Negaal (played by South African cult actor James Ryan), shows up offering Johnny a deal to join Negaal's kickboxing association - and if he doesn't join they'll kill him! And that's what happens! Soon Matt is on his way to
to take revenge on
Johnny (and David Sloan, I guess) and stop Negaal and his organization for
good! South Africa
This actually doesn't much to do with the Kickboxer-saga at all. They manage to squeeze in the name of David Sloan, but that's about it - and I guess it just was another action script until someone needed another sequel as fast as possible. The setting is moved to
, which is nice - but
the setting isn't just as good as it could have been, and we're treated to a
lot of claustrophobic hotel rooms and anonymous streets. Mark Dacascos is, I
need to state very clearly, a good choice. He's a bit stiff acting-wise, but
he's always been a talented action actor and often delivers some cool fighting
and has that special, non-acting, charisma that keeps so many action actors
alive over the years. But his masterpiece is still Drive, which is also one of
the finest South Africa
martial arts action-comedies ever made. US
The fighting by Dacascos is nice but it's sad that there's hardly any ring fights - except from one in the beginning, and it's fairly short. This is even more about chases and traditional action, which is surprising because the whole story kinda sets up to have a big finale in a ring, or during a tournament, but it never happens. Weird. Maybe they ran out of money? Or just got tired of yet another fight in such a controlled environment.
Kickboxer 5: The Redemption is more of a normal martial arts film (yes, with Dacascos posing in different forms of Kung Fu poses) set in
. Can't say it's bad,
but it's also a missed opportunity to do something more in the vein of part 4
(who clearly was going in the right direction after the odd part 3). South Africa
Here's a suggestion: why doesn't that someone who owns the rights to the franchise come up with some money, hire Van Damme again and do what Stallone did with his latest Rocky and Rambo - a more serious follow-up. A depressed and aging Van Damme sitting in Thailand (ignoring the all the other sequels of course) trying to survive as a failed kickboxer, until that day Tong Po shows up again and offers him something he can't say no to... and he's back in the arena for his last, and most brutal, fight....