Kickboxer 2: The Road Back
"...drunk or high. I myself perfer both."
- American Ninja Man
Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)
Director: Albert Pyun
Writer: David S. Goyer, Mark DiSalle
Producer: David S. Goyer, Tom Karnowski
Cast: Sasha Mitchell, Peter Boyle, Dennis Chan, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, John Diehl, Michel Qissi, Heather McComb
Time: 89 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S REVIEW: Back when Kickboxer 2 came out, the first Jean-claude Van Damme movie to ever warrant a sequel (Okay, No Retreat No Surrender was the official Van Damme movie to get a sequel) but one must admit that all hope went to the winds when the guy they hired was Sasha Mitchell.
Mitchell was on that dreadful "Step by Step" show, so one didn't really think Mitchell could fill the shoes of Jean-Claude Van Damme. As it turned out, Mitchell ended up being one of the best things about Kickboxer 2, indeed Mitchell is about one step above Jean-Claude Van Damme in the acting department (although Van Damme was the better athlete.) although I almost walked out when 90210's Brian Austin Green showed up. Dear god. Let's not forget the TV presence of Heather McComb (Some teeny bopper show, that idiots watch), Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond) and as mentioned Step By Step's very own Sasha Mitchell! Also that obnoxious Pepsi kid appears at the end.
Of course the very essence of making a sequel to a Van Damme movie, sans Van Damme apparently pissed off people. I myself am indifferent to the situation but how seriously are we supposed to take a movie, where the main guy's name is Sasha! Especially one who played a pot head on an awful TV show. Suffice to say Kickboxer 2 resembles a made for TV movie, only fitting considering the small screen actors, infact they're were so many subplots about drug use, using profanity and fighting as a last resort to a problem that you keep thinking you're watching Dr. Phil.
Anywho we are treated to inspiring ballads such as "My brother's eyes!, Suns will set and suns will rise but I still see my brother's eyes, (repeat chorus over and over)" Which if you can make a connection to kickboxing or the plot, you are a greater man than I. Another ballad which follows Mitchell as he mopes around after losing his gym, belts "IN THIS LONELY ROOM, I SIT AND STARE A MAN ALONE!" Shouldn't it be I sit and stare all alone? No matter.
The story (If you can call it that) features Tong Po (Who I picture looking like Yi Long [AKA Frank Stallone] with a braid pumped up on steroids) forcing the brother of the character played by Van Damme, to fight him to regain his honor. I guess then according to this logic, if you can't beat the guy who kicked your ass, go after his younger brother and burn down his house! If not for this movie, I don't think I would've ever learned about human beings and how they interact with each other.
Even more shocking is that these Thai fighters are so clever they would actually start an American kickboxing circuit, which has to be billions of dollars to do, just so they can pick a fight with the guy who's brother beat them in thailand. Holy crap, who writes this stuff? Because your brother beat me at Mortal Kombat, i'm going to buy a videogame business and spend millions of dollars, all so I can beat you at Mortal Kombat and regain my honor. Woo hoo!
The fight scenes themselves are at least well staged, and here this movie satisfies all the bloodlust that males look forward to in this type of movie. Mainly any movie called Kickboxer 2 promises only to show a kickboxer mainly kick the living crap out of a bunch of people. Sasha Mitchell is surprisingly an agile martial artist, seriously he has some impressive moves and he manages to be the only martial artist in a movie to bleed all over his back as if he was impaled by a sword, despite never once getting hit there. Also we are treated for the last time in the series, sadly, two fighters dipping their hands in broken glass and then belting each other over and over again to all you hear is grunting over the would be inspirational music that pumps up the fight. The dialogue is of course humorless and it's quite obvious that the director takes this very seriously. Indeed you would actually think that director, Albert Pyun is actually trying to deliver a message.
Of course preaching to the choir makes no friends among the nobel peace commitee (Especially when your filming men beating each other half to death) and really if you go into a movie like Kickboxer 2 looking for insightment, then you basically have signed your own social death warrant. Kickboxer 1 was a lot of fun, people always say, Van Damme is not as good as a martial artist like Jet Li or Jackie Chan, but I ask can't we like them both? It for the most part had a simple story and endless amount of cheese and action. Kickboxer 2 certainly has it's cheese (Brian Austin Green is in it for goodness sake!) and it also has good action, but there is far too much moral questions asked, which get in the way of the asses being kicked.
I for one can say that this qualifies as a guilty pleasure because really, the series is pretty fun. (Okay the next chapter Kickboxer 3 sucked like a leechwhore but the 4th is pretty good, even better than this one.) So in that regard Kickboxer 2 works as a mediocre throwaway movie. The type you wouldn't mind watching at 3 AM, drunk or high. I myself perfer both.
AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S RATING: 4.5/10