'Kickboxer: Retaliation' - Movie Review

Having watched "Kickboxer: Vengeance" a couple weeks ago, you'd think I'd know better - but reviews claimed that this was "better" than its predecessor. In part because the director decided to entirely forego a plot. That part is true: we establish that Kurt Sloan (Alain Moussi) is an MMA star (when he wants to be) and that he's happily married to his sweetheart from the previous movie (Sara Malakul Lane). And then he's kidnapped and flown to Thailand, where he's thrown in jail and fights and trains for a final fight against a monster of a man (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). That last bit of casting is a real mixed blessing: Björnsson is no martial artist, but he is HUGE (206 cm) and has the credentials: he is, by quite a few measures, the strongest man in the world right now. And then we've got Christopher Lambert as the evil fight promoter who's arranged all this, Mike Tyson as Moussi's new guru, Jean-Claude Van Damme as his returning guru, and Ronaldinho even shows up as part of his training team.

I thought Lane was poor in the last movie. This time it's not really her fault: she's apparently only in the movie to say "you scared me!" or "don't scare me!" and give us multiple reaction shots as Moussi gets the shit kicked out of him in the final fight. And you know what? Just like the last movie, the fights are kind of mediocre. If you're thinking of watching this, go watch Scott Adkins' under-rated "Avengement" or watch "The Raid: Redemption" again.