KICKBOXER 4 does proud by the franchise that gave the world Jean-Claude Van Damme. Using the ROCKY formula as a blueprint to keep squeezing out sequels, this latest installment relocates the action from Thailand to interior Mexico.
Evil mastermind Tong Po (Kamal Krifia), formerly a Thai warrior, is now the most notorious drug lord south of the border. Having dispatched brothers Eric and Kurt in the first two sequels, and framed third brother Stephen Sloan (Sasha Mitchell) on drug charges last time out, Tong Po holds
Stephen's wife Vicky (Deborah Mansy) captive while Sloan rots in stir. This gives DEA agent Casey Ford (Nicholas Guest) the leverage he needs to send Sloan into the belly of the beast. Every year on the Day of the Dead, Tong Po hosts a world-class elimination tournament for a million-dollar cash
prize. After some qualifying bouts, Sloan is quickly on his way to the top-secret desert compound where the tourney will be held; the only hitch is that Tong Po will undoubtedly recognize him from the last sequel. Once there, Sloan finds support from Lando (Brad Thornton), a backup DEA asset he
once mentored, and pint-sized Megan Laurence (Michelle "Mouse" Krasnoo), who is entered in the open competition, and comes off like a bad-news, bare-fisted Tatum O'Neal. The action sequences are choreographed in sporadic bursts, no single mix-up lasting much more than 10 seconds. When Sloan
vanquishes all other comers and Tong Po find him out, a final grudge match between them is inevitable. Sloan finally defeats his serial nemesis and restores the honor of his family.
Despite the flurry of spin-and swivel-kicks, Mitchell is not the natural athlete Van Damme is; numerous slow-motion sequences only point up the difference between Mitchell and martial arts masters like Bruce Lee, who coined this money-shot technique to make it clear that his stunts weren't
enhanced by camera trickery. Mitchell's one patented move--leading with his knee--comes off more like ballet, and fails to convey the intended menace. Still, Mitchell's acting is a cut above that of his contemporaries, Van Damme included, and Tong Po, once a kung-fu Apollo Creed, seems to grow
more eccentric with each installment. He's now called a "board-certified psychiatrist" and "visionary record producer" for some reason, suggesting that his own line of sequels may be in store. Mansy proves no paper tiger herself, taking out any number of stooges with a nasty backfist and some
suitably garish sound effects. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: KICKBOXER 4 does proud by the franchise that gave the world Jean-Claude Van Damme. Using the ROCKY formula as a blueprint to keep squeezing out sequels, this latest installment relocates the action from Thailand to interior Mexico. Evil mastermind Tong P… (more)