Kurt Sloane ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ) is the younger brother of Eric Sloane ( Dennis Alexio ), the United States kickboxing world champion. Eric is enticed by the media to compete in Thailand, where kickboxing was started, to further establish his legacy. Eric and Kurt travel to Bangkok to fight Tong Po, Thailand´s undefeated top fighter. Eric is confident he will defeat Ton Po easily, and have no fear. But as the fight day arrives, it becomes clear that Eric might not have taken his opponent Tong Po seriously. The match ends with Eric being taken to hospital, after being badly injured. At the hospital it becomes clear that Eric is paralyzed, and will never walk again. Kurt want to revenge Tong Po, but is told to wait, until he is trained hard enough to fight the champion. He is guided to a well known trainer known as Xian Chow ( Dennis Chan ), where he must go through a lot of hard training to reach the level of Tong Po´s fighting skills. Will Eric be strong enough to defeat Tong Po ?
When you see a film like Kickboxer today, you realise two things. First of all this is the perfect Karate Kid story that is actually better than the 1984 film ( i know some people will not agree with me on this, but that´s ok ). Second of all i have to say that this is the first time i have seen Van Damme really give his best performance in an 80´s film. Not saying he was bad in Bloodsport, but i feel that he managed to bring out a different level of acting in this film. Of course he delivers cheesy dialogue ( that´s part of the charm of this film ), and i love his disco dance scene ( the greatest disco dance you will ever see in an 80´s film ). Some of the fighting scenes with Van Damme, really manage to show you how hard he worked to bring out some of his best fighting scenes ever in the 80´s. Van Damme as the character Kurt Sloane, is actually more dramatic than you probably would expect. He is not the typical macho guy, but is actually very emotional. Kurt´s brother Eric Sloane ( played by former Kickboxer champion Dennis Alexio ) is the tough one, who clearly is self-confident. To have two very different brothers in this film, makes the relationship look more realistic. I have to mention some other great characters as well. Muay Thai trainer Xian Chow ( played by actor Dennis Chan ) is the perfect choice for a role like this. He is very serious, but you also understand he have a sense of humour while he teaches Kurt to fight. Actor Michel Quissi as the iconic 80´s villain Tong Po, is one of the best bad guys of the 80´s. Tong Po is brutal, have no respect for anyone and don´t care if he kills anyone. Michel really gave this character a strong personality. Kickboxer is a film that is made for fans of martial arts, and especially fans of Jean-Claude Van Damme. There is so much here to be happy about, especially the fight scenes. But i also enjoy the serious tone of this film, mixed with some funny moments that you don´t really know why they were added, but still works well with the story. I would not say this is the best Van Damme film, but definetely his best film of the 80´s. Directors Mark DiSalle and David Worth made this film fit so well with the Van Damme image, as they managed to add some other tasteful ingredients. If you love 80´s nostalgia, then Kickboxer is the film to buy on DVD or Blu Ray. Christmas is getting closer, so why not enjoy this film with family and watch a real 80´s classic on this 30 years anniversary of Kickboxer. Who knows, Santa Clause might stick around to watch also, i heard he loves Van Damme special kicks.