Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor

August 24, 2011 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

In terms of Van Damn-less sequals to Van Damn movies, Kickboxer was a far superior franchise to Bloodsport. I know that’s not saying much but I think its worth noting because I feel like the Kickboxer movies got a bad reputation because of the inferior Bloodsport movies. I also feel like Sasha Mitchell was a pretty decent martial artist, especially by direct to video standards. However, after his role as Cousin Cody in Step by Step, it was pretty hard to take him seriously as a bad ass. Point being, Kickboxer 4 has a lot going for it and a lot going against it.

One of the first thing that is unavoidable is the Sound Design. Sound is one of those things that you only notice when its bad. Kind of like an offensive line on a football team, sound is vitally important but rarely given the credit it deserves. In this movie, the post production sound is positively amateur. There is a bar fight scene in particular that is completely ruined by it. The voice dubbing is worse than most Godzilla movies. The problem is, the actors in this movie were speaking English. In various scenes, they really struggle to sync up the dialogue. Sometimes they edit around this by having the person speaking off screen. Of course, they sound like they are speaking in the negative zone so this really ruins the experience. A lot of the fighting sound effects are obviously stock and not mixed well. It doesn’t take a film student to notice this either. I think anyone watching this movie will notice something is wrong with this sound effects. Especially the moments where sounds are missing. In one of the fight scenes, someone gets there neck sound and its completely silent. It’s not as bad as Bloodsport 4 but its still pretty bad.

As for the story, its pretty rock basic, which isn’t bad. The movie opens up recapping the last couple movies. So if you haven’t seen the other movies, they help you out by bringing things up to speed. So there is our good guy David Sloan, played by Sasha Mitchell. Somehow the events of the third movie put him in prison.   More over, Tong Po, the villain from the other movie, is now a drug lord in Mexico. Why not! And he has kidnapped Sloan’s wife.  There is a lot of stuff about the DEA, and frame ups, and cover ups, but what it all boils down to is they need Sloan to enter a martial arts tournament. The goal is to bring down Po and rescue is wife. Of course, the DEA does absolutely nothing to help Sloan in anyway. Apparently, their policy is to send in martial arts experts to beat drug lords to death. I guess raiding his compound was out of the question. I love Po’s compound by the way. It looks like they borrowed it from a Mexican soap opera.

Along the way, Sloan helps a young girl from being raped in a bar. Somehow she knows he is heading to Mexico to be in a fighting tournament. And is completely ungrateful. That seems to be her main character trait. Repeatedly, this girl is saved from beatings, rape, and sex slavery by Sloan and his buddy Lando. Yet until the very end she tells them to screw themselves. Sloan even shows her a few moves which she never uses. For some reason, this girl thought she could compete in this martial arts tournament. A 14 year old girl, alone, in Mexico, in a drug lords compound, surrounded by the world’s best martial artists. Did she not see how this could be a problem for her? On a side note, I do wonder if the world’s best martial artists are often approached by drug lords to compete in fight to the death tournaments. Seems like all that hard work and experience isn’t worth putting on the line in an illegal tournament where, even if you win, you will probably end up getting shot in the head. MMA might not pay as well but at least you will walk away with your life.

Sloan isn’t interested in fighting in this tournament. So at night, he sneaks around the compound at night in a ninja suit trying to find his wife. The ninja suit looks like the homemade wrestling costume Spider-Man made in the movie. Sloan doesn’t have any of the stealth skill of Solid Snake so he alerts all kinds of attention. Another thing to note is Po’s thugs are all armed but never fire a shot. He also has help from Lando, the brother of one of Sloan’s students and a DEA agent. He only gets interesting after he gets caught and tortured. Before that, he has all the charisma of a guy from a Right Guard commercial.  I guess getting tortured and being responsible for a hooker getting killed brought out his personality. It literally is night and day with this guy. Anyway, they all get caught.

Instead of just killing Sloan, whom Po holds responsible for his wives death, he tells all the other fighters that they will get a half million for beating him to death. Well, Sloan pretty much beats the crap out of every other tournament fighter at once until only Po remains. He pretty much beats Po. Po sneaks away when his chief thug, played by Thom Mathews, distracts Sloan. Sloan hits him between the eyes with a steak knife while Mathews has his wife at gun point. It was pretty awesome. Thom Mathews you will recognize from Friday the 13th part 6 where he played Tommy Jarvis. He does a pretty good job playing the coked out henchmen of Po in this movie. In the end, Po’s drug empire crumbles because two martial arts beat all his henchmen to death. I guess the DEA’s plan worked.

Of course, action movies like this aren’t really bastions of cutting edge storytelling. The one thing this movie has going for it is the fight scenes. They had some really good martial artists, the fight scenes are well choreographed. You even get to see some breasts in some sex scenes. Action movies are based on sex and violence. This movie has that. The story is simple and not so stupid that it takes away from the enjoyment of the fight scenes. There is a lot in this movie that isn’t well done. Po, for some reason, has a really strange looking face. They put a bunch of plastic on his face and it looks like his eye lids are removed from his skull. Po is so over the top but still has a certain amount of menace to him. He’s not a great villain but he is good enough for this movie.  Sure, they borrow from a lot of far superior movies but over all, Kickboxer 4 is pretty enjoyable.  Maybe I have just seen a lot of bad movies but I felt like Kickboxer 4 had a lot of good action and kept things pretty simple, which was all I really wanted from a free movie on You Tube or direct to video sequel.


Entry filed under: Action.

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