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» iRewind Talk » Movies » « 90's Movies » KING OF THE KICKBOXERS- TRIBUTE RANT

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Author Topic: KING OF THE KICKBOXERS- TRIBUTE RANT
JAY LEE
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KING OF THE KICKBOXERS 1990

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SYNOPSIS:

As a child, Jake Donahue sees his brother being killed by the formidable fighter, Khan. Ten years later, Jake is a reckless New York cop, with a death wish, still scarred from his childhood trauma. So when he is handed a case, involving kidnapping, snuff films, and none other than his brothers killer. Jake is off to Thailand, to make things right. But he soon learns that taking on Khan, wont be an easy task. So he seeks out Prang, a former adversary of Khan, to train him. The stage is set for a showdown with a vengeance.


TRIBUTE RANT:

Loren Avedon is back, in another Keith Strandberg scripted, Lucas Lowe directed low budget martial arts cheese fest. This time, taking a rather obvious cue from Van Damme’s KICKBOXER, and tweaking it just enough, to make it seem fresh. Avedon, once again, plays the cocky all american guy, but with a bit of backstory and a chance to show his more humorous side, this is no doubt his best performance.

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I know his off screen reputation was maybe less than stellar, but I always liked the guy. Of course I didn’t have to work with him, so what do I know? This was in a sense, the last memorable movie from Avedon, before vanishing into ‘straight to video’ obscurity in the 90’s. Had the martial arts genre not fizzled out like it did, and had Avedon maybe learned to check his ego at the door, he could have been a bigger star, and not just a footnote in B-movie history. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. To me, this is his crowning achievement, and certainly something to be proud of. The sheer stamina and physicality it takes, doing hardcore Hong Kong action choreography under the scorching eastern sun, is something not many western actors could endure. So my hat will always be off to those that did.

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When discussing this movie, the question of is this just a rip-off flick or not, often comes up. But casually labeling this a poor man’s KICKBOXER is not quite fair, if you ask me. While there are glaring simularities, I think it has enough going for it, to stand on its own, and it is really not a bad effort over all. It kind of goes without saying that the acting is poor and the story is thin. But true to form, the fights are tight, brutal and bloody. Tony Leung Siu Hung, who also did the excellent *** kicking action for NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER 3, is on deck for this one, and his choreography is flashy, fast and ferocious as always.

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Avedon is up against, a pre Tae Bo, Billy Blanks here, and they both look great in the fight scenes. However, the real standout is no doubt Keith Cooke, as the hermit master. He really steals the show with his lightning fast kicks and quirky performance, and is actually one of the best things in the movie. The humorous interplay and great chemistry between him and Avedon raise the whole thing a couple of notches, and actually works better for me, than that of Van Damme and Dennis Chan in KICKBOXER. Throughout the cast, you’ll find a lot of familiar faces from the martial arts genre, such as Michael DePasquale Jr., Jerry “Golden Boy” Trimble, Steve Tartalia, Vincent Lyn, Ong Soo Han and the list goes on. Plus, Sherrie Rose returns from NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER 3, as a bit of a lame love interest. But at least she takes her top of, so she gets a pass from me.

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The beatiful thai locations frame the energetic action and the ridiculous, but fun story, to great effect. And, novel touches, like the snuff film angle, the great training sequences and the big bamboo cage finalé really puts it over the top. This was certainly the best of the Seasonal crossover flicks. But is no cinematic masterpiece for sure. It is what it is, an enjoyable, corny fight flick with great action and hammy acting. No more, no less, and that’s fine.

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Pyro
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ah yes...one of my top guilty pleasure flicks that I can say I really don't feel too guilty about. I loved this movie since the very first time I saw it. Sure, it may be a Kickboxer rip-off..but considering I've never been much of a Van Damme fan; it didn't really bother me. And also due to the fact that Kickboxer is probably one of my least favorite films...KOTKB to me will always reign over it. As cheesy as the acting and the diologue is...this movie still is a gem to me for some reason. I also think Billy Blanks makes a much better villain than a good guy. Which is why I liked him better in this than in "Showdown."


Excellent post BTW Jay Lee

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Bernie_Lomax

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I love Van Damme flicks, but have never been a big fan of Kickboxer. Might have to check this one out.
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Pyro
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And you're right when you say Keith Cooke steals the show in this one. But honestly, his lightning quickness pretty much steals the show in anything he's in. Another good example of this would probably be his performance as Reptile in the first Mortal Kombat movie. Hands down the best fight scene in the entire movie, though not very believable due to the fact that he loses that battle when he clearly beats the living hell out of Lui Kang. But anyway, yeah...Cooke is awesome.

[ 27. February 2013, 10:32: Message edited by: Pyro ]

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Anthony33
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I think I also remember seeing Cooke in a movie with Cynthis Rothrock on cable. I used to love these American martial arts movies. I guess the Hong Kong style is more popular now? Loved Loren Avedon too. Wasn't he also in No Retreat No Surrender 2 and 3 and Virtual Encounters? I liked Billy Blanks a lot too. I also liked him in Tough and Deadly, Showdown, Talons of the Eagle, Low Blow and Bloodfist.
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