12.30.2014

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

PLOT: David Sloan is a former kickboxing champion who owns a run-down gym but along the way meets some shady characters trying to get him out of retirement...and they will do ANYTHING it takes do so.

Director: Albert Pyun
Writer: David S. Goyer
Cast: Sasha Mitchell, Dennis Chan, Peter Boyle, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Michel Qissi, John Diehl, Vince Murdocco, Heather McComb.




PLOT THICKENER: Here we have David Sloan (Mitchell), the centrepiece of this film, and not to mention Eric and Kurt's younger brother. But as you have probably realised by now, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Alexio won't be making a quick cameo in this sequel. Why, you ask? Well, it's simple--they were murdered. Yep, the Nok Su Cow and the paraplegic former kickboxing champ were gunned down by none other than the deliciously evil Tong Po (Qissi). David also has an up-and-coming fighter named Brian (Murdocco), who is one ass-kicking away from being a douche-bag of a fighter with a greasy slicked back pony-tail. He believes he's ready to turn professional despite David's advice on him being far from it. An argument starts, forcing Brian to turn to the dark side of the force by running into the arms of dodgy fight promoter Mr. Maciah (Boyle).

David is forced out of retirement by the same sleazy fighting promoter to fight their current champ, and what do you know guys? Their paper champion loses to David. Not only that, but David announces after his win to an arena full of people that these promoters are crooked. Humiliated, embarrassed, and downright pissed, they respond the only way they know how: setting fire to his gym, the one place he finds solace in the world...those bastards. Beaten, burnt, and broken, David is stuck in hospital and feeling disheartened, upset, and angry, but it's going to be okay because we can insert the philosophy and comedic timing of Uncle Xian (Chan) from the previous installment. Xian can see David is out on his luck so he decides to retrain him using simple techniques to help him rehabilitate.


Now that we have the positive chi pumping, the film is going to teach you a lesson on 'Deliciously Evil Fighting Plans 101', and what better teacher to have than Sanga, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa? He knows that Maciah is trying to train Brian up to be a champion, all with the help of aggressive trainers and steroids (you may have flashbacks to a certain training montage from Rocky IV on that one). But Sanga also knows that Brian will be a perfect guinea pig in his plan on winning back the honour of disgraced fighter Tong Po.

Brian is now feeling the roid rage, you can see he is so close to getting that greased up pony-tail and the cockiness (which was previously shown by Eric Sloan) is in full swing so let's see Brian kick ass...oh but wait! Sliiiiiiight change of plan in his first professional fight -- his original opponent has pulled out but he has a replacement. Our new contestant loves kicking down cement pillars with his bare legs, paralysing fighters to give them a reality check or to kill them (whichever's easier at the time) and he has a strong fashion sense when it comes to long braids and red Muay Thai shorts -- please welcome Tong Po.


Now the question is: who will win? Brian, who is pumped full of so many steroids that he actually thinks he can kill Tong Po? Or Tong Po, who has a track record for killing, paralysing and violating anything that comes into his path? That was a dumb question wasn't it? So, Tong Po humiliates Brian and to be honest, I am kinda glad he did -- we now have once less douche-bag in the cinematic universe. And who can resist seeing Tong Po give a good beat down to some arrogant prick? I know I can't!

Do I enjoy the end fight scene? Yes, I do, but I feel that there should have been a bigger pay off. They had an entire arena practically to themselves -- no crowd, no reporters -- so why not go all out? I feel that the ending was rushed, and I can understand that they probably didn't have a bigger budget since the main star from the first film wasn't appearing in this. But fans of the original definitely would have all rented this film in the 90s, without a doubt. I know my mum let my older brother and I rent this...great parenting, right?



VERDICT
Overall, I enjoy this film, as it does pay homage to the first but it definitely has its own look. While the film does seem a tad bit rushed at the best of times, I can't deny that I enjoy it.  Even though this film is somewhat funny at times, you cannot deny that it does have heart, and that is what makes me appreciate it. I really wish Sasha Mitchell could have been in more films, because I do like his acting style -- it's very light, it's not trying to be overly serious, you can see that he knows his strengths and he makes the most of what he has. I also love that they included Dennis Chan in this film, as he brings a lot of depth to the film as well as great comedic timing; his cheeky demeanour really does light up the screen. And what does one say about Michel Qissi's performance as Tong Po? He is still badass, the less talking he does, the better. His menacing look is enough to make you want to run and hide; that is what makes a great villain. It does have decent choreography but I wish they really could have showcased that a bit more -- you can definitely see the director was trying to concentrate more on the story than the violence.

And special mention must go to the opening song 'My Brother's Eyes,' by Eric Barnett. I loved that this is what the film opened with, because it gives you a taste of what is expected to come with the film's core. And not only that, as the song is playing it pans across David Sloan's gym and you see photos of him and his brothers...yep I'm a sucker for that stuff.

AVAILABILITY 
Amazon and Ebay.

5 / 7


1 comment:

  1. I too was allowed to rent this a child back in the early 90s. Was disappointed back then, but have since watched it again and I liked it more the second time around.

    Also, I don't know if you've seen KICKBOXER III: THE ART OF WAR, but what really stood out for me in that film is its (relatively) lighter tone, particularly in the interactions between Mitchell and Chan. It's worth checking out -- if you haven't already -- if you want to watch them buddy it up.

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