Kickboxer 2: The Road Back

1991, Movie, R, 90 mins


From its opening moments it's obvious that KICKBOXER 2 is struggling under the leaden weight of humorlessness. This is the movie that absolutely no one wanted to see: a kickboxing movie that takes itself dead serious.

The plot, played out as if under sedation, concerns David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell), the brother of two world-class kickboxers who died for their art. David has thrown in the towel on professional kickboxing and runs a gym where he teaches martial arts to a group of inner city kids who look like they've been selected by an ad agency. His teaching consists of a heavy dose of Zen mumbo jumbo which has become requisite for this type of movie. It feels like hours before the bad guys show up and David Sloan is forced to become what he loathes: a professional kickboxer. It feels like years before the unavoidable Zen master shows up to coach him and to mumble that "the fiercest weapon is the human mind."

The center of any martial arts movie is the action scenes and these are botched beyond belief. The problem from the outset is the casting of Sasha Mitchell as David Sloan. With his aquiline nose and mincing step, Mitchell does not seem the ideal person to participate in a sport where grown men try to kill each other with their dirty feet. Other crimes committed are the absurdly overproduced cinematography by George Mooradian. He seems to be compulsively trying to smoke everyone off the set. You can see it congealing around the lights and lying inert on the floor. Mooradian tries to shove MTV-style venetian blinds into every scene no matter what its dramatic content is.

But even though Mooradian shoots Mitchell as if he were a dimwitted Garbo, director Albert Pyun has chopped up the action scenes so much, perhaps to fit Mitchell's stunt double in, that we don't know who's hitting whom. It's a big muddled mess. Yet even so the filmmakers manage to keep pouring buckets of blood onto their characters. This blood, which seems to change color and texture every time it shows up, keeps coming and coming as if it were a substitute for dialogue. The scenes outside of the ring are even more excruciating. (Excessive violence.) leave a comment

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Kickboxer 2: The Road Back
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