Starting with Jean-Claude Van Damme in KICKBOXER and ending up with Sasha Mitchell in KICKBOXER 3: THE ART OF WAR is a little like working your way down from Steve Reeves to Richard Simmons. Still, if Mitchell is a lightweight entry in the action hero sweepstakes, he's quite adept at the
manly art of kicking the crap out of people.
While sight-seeing in Rio de Janeiro prior to an international kickboxing championship, ace American athlete David Sloan (Mitchell) learns firsthand about the local mean streets. Accompanied by his sage companion Xian Chow (Dennis Chan), David is ripped off by a street urchin named Marcos (Noah
Verduzco) whose beautiful sister Isabella (Althea Miranda) may be the next target of a child prostitution ring. Although our warm-hearted hero unofficially adopts the little beggar, he doesn't realize that Lane (Richard Comar), his friendly fight promoter, is actually the kiddie pimp. At an
exhibition match to benefit homeless children (you can tell this film has a social conscience), local hero Machado (Manitu Felipe) is nearly killed by Lane's star attraction Martine (Ian Jacklin) before David steps into the ring and challenges the bully to a grudge match.
After Isabella is kidnapped David begins investigating the city's sleazy underworld. Meanwhile, Lane has propositioned him to take a fall in the kickboxing championship. Instead, David and Xian acquire illegal arms and invade a crimelord's house, only to discover that Lane is the chief
child-trafficker. Unfortunately, Lane has virginal Isabella under wraps and intends to use her as a bargaining chip in persuading David to over-train and lose the upcoming bout. Foolishly, the slimeball bets a bundle he can't afford to lose against the exhausted David, who naturally recovers
enough of his strength to win his match. He then retrieves Isabella, but not before inducing Lane's head honcho to betray and kill the louse.
As lithe and muscled as Sasha Mitchell is, that's how toneless and flabby this sequel's plotting is. How many failed rescue attempts can the filmmakers expect an audience to endure? Naturally, the plotline is dropped often enough for Mitchell to kick some life into the movie. Not only is the
martial arts quota potently satisfied but the action movie mayhem scenes are also suspenseful and dynamic. In fact, as long as the plot remains in the background, KICKBOXER 3 delivers the wallop action fans expect. Saving street children is all well and good as long as it doesn't detract from all
that heart-pounding violence.
A power kicker in the self-defense category, Mitchell is agreeable as an actor but somewhat hampered by a thin voice. On the other hand, Richard Comar oozes avarice from every pore and truly commands an audience's attention. He makes you believe he'd sell anyone of any age to turn a profit.
Overall, the film has an abundance of hissable villains and also convincingly portrays the vice underbelly of Rio. It's not a knock-out, but KICKBOXER 3 contains enough crunch-and-punch to satisfy action devotees. (Violence, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Starting with Jean-Claude Van Damme in KICKBOXER and ending up with Sasha Mitchell in KICKBOXER 3: THE ART OF WAR is a little like working your way down from Steve Reeves to Richard Simmons. Still, if Mitchell is a lightweight entry in the action hero swee… (more)