2 1/2 StarsThe third sequel to the popular 1990’s chop ’em up low rent Kickboxer franchise is a pretty fun ride that serves as a great example of b-movie filmmaking during that era. Disregarding the exploits of the third entry this fourth film is a direct sequel to the events from part 2, are you still with me champ? David Sloane has been framed in a sketchy setup and is currently serving time in a state penitentiary. While incarcerated the villainous Tong Po (the heavily scarred kickboxing ace from the original) has kidnapped Sloane’s wife with the intention of imprisoning her at his hacienda deep within Mexico for his personal sexual amusement. The D.A. comes to Sloane and offers him a temporary parole if he agrees to travel across the border and participate in a fight tournament being held at Tong Po’s compound. So Sloane reluctantly agrees to enter the competion while secretly planning to free his enslaved wife and kill Tong Po.
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor is a near beat for beat copy of the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon with Sasha Mitchell in the role that shot Lee to superstardom. Suffice to say Mitchell is no Bruce Lee, he is however a cool screen presence and what he lacks in graceful balletic movement he makes up for in bravado and charm. I always felt Sasha Mitchell was a b-movie Keanu Reeves, complete with the surfer delivery and limited acting range. However it seems that in this role, Mitchell is channeling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character in his third go around as David Sloane.
Recently I reviewed Tales of an Ancient Empire and I was astonished at the level of incoherent storytelling and filmmaking technique. I stated in that critique that some responsibility must rest on director Albert Pyun’s shoulders, and I stand behind that. Having grown up on the Pyun film library I felt I owed it to myself and the venerable director to revisit some of his earlier (better) work. So I reached deep within my vast film vault and retrieved this entertaining, clearly told story that restored my faith in Pyun’s ability to deliver an above average genre pic. The ending leaves the door open for a sequel, there was a Kickboxer 5 but it had no relation to the rest of the series. I think Pyun would be wise to gather the cast he assembled for Tales, and give us fans Sloane’s return all these years later.
Director: Albert Pyun
Stars: Sasha Mitchell, Nicholas Guest