Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)

Director: Dimitri Logothetis

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mike Tyson, Sara Malakul Lane, Hafpor Julius Bjornsson

 

Plot: One year after the events of “Kickboxer: Vengeance”, Kurt Sloan has vowed never to return to Thailand. However, while gearing up for a MMA title shot, he finds himself sedated and forced back into Thailand, this time in prison. He is there because the ones responsible want him to face a 6’8″ 400 lbs. beast named Mongkut and in return for the fight, Kurt will get one million dollars and his freedom back. Kurt at first refuses, in which a bounty is placed on his head as a way to force him to face Mongkut. Kurt soon learns he will have no other choice and will undergo his most rigorous training yet under some unexpected mentors in order to face Mongkut in hopes to regain his freedom.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kickass Fighting Film

 

Story: Kickboxer: Retaliation starts after the events of the first film, Kurt Sloane (Moussi) is rising up the ranks of the MMA world only to find himself abducted back to Thailand, thrown in jail by Thomas Moore (Lambert) who will only set him free, if he defends his title against new champion Mongkut (Bjornsson).

First refusing, a bounty is placed on his head with other prisoners wanting to kill him, Briggs (Tyson) and a now blinded Durand (Van Damme) help Kurt train once Kurt’s wife Liu (Lane) is used to bait him into the fight. Can Kurt defeat this unstoppable fighting machine?

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Retaliation

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane defeated Tong Po in Thailand and went off to rebuild his MMA career with his new wife in America. This hasn’t made the underground fighters happy, as he is drawn back to Thailand to fight the next contender and must train to defeat this next fighter, who is deadlier than anyone he has fought before. He does try to be funny at times, but it misses most of the time. Thomas Moore is the businessman who wants to see what Kurt can do against his own choice of champion, he will force Kurt into battle at any means, even if he is smart enough to negotiate terms. Master Durand has been blinded by Moore because of his involvement in the Tong Po death, he still is deadly in combat and trains Kurt to stand a chance to defeat Mongkut. Briggs becomes the friend in prison that shows him how to recover from injuries and fight in a calm faster method. Liu is the wife that Kurt met in the previous film, she comes searching for him only to become the bait and the one that pushes Kurt for her own safety. Mongkut is the powerhouse that Kurt must fight for his freedom, 6’10 over 400lbs, his is a killing fighting machine, built to be the deadliest fighter in the world.

PerformancesAlain Moussi is brilliant when it comes to the combat side of the film, there is no question about it, but when it comes to the more serious side of his character he does struggle at times. Lambert does make for an interesting villain of the piece, but does seem like he is taking things slightly too lightly. Van Damme and Tyson are both good at the fighting, but not the acting where they both feel like they could bring a lot more to the table. Bjornsson is the presence when it comes to the fighter which is needed, while Lane is fine in the supporting role.

StoryThe story follows Kurt as he is dragged back into the underground fighting world, where he must take on a bigger, deadlier contender for his recently won crown. This is a tried and tested formula for this genre which we know works, we don’t need to change it because we are watching this more for the fights than the depth of the story. there are a few weak points in the story, where you would like a bigger emotional impact on the events of a moment, but the fights soon make you forget this.

ActionThe action in this film gives us plenty of fighting sequences, be it the numbers game in prison where we get to see the different styles Kurt can bring to the table and adapt too, or the one on one match against Mongkut which is the David v Goliath story we have heard about for years.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help with the fights, we get to have environmental fights using them to make each fight unique.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The emotional impact of a certain meeting with Mongkut.

Final ThoughtsThis does build on the last instalment well, the fights feel bigger and last a lot longer which is what we want to see more often in this style of film.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Action film.

Rating

 

 

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Extinction (2018)

Director: Ben Young

Writer: Eric Heisserer, Spenser Cohen, Brad Kane (Screenplay)

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Michael Pena, Mike Colter, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard, Tom Riley, Lilly Aspell

 

Plot: A father has a recurring dream of losing his family. His nightmare turns into reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. Fighting for their lives, he comes to realize an unknown strength to keep them safe from harm.


Tagline – We were not here first.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi With a Twist

 

Story: Extinction starts as we meet Peter (Pena) a happily married man to Alice (Caplan), with two daughters Hanna (Crouch) and Lucy (Tremblay), he is struggling with nightmares of an invasion which sees him needing to protect his family, the problem is they are starting to take over his life, putting his own personal life in danger.

With Alice about to give up on Peter, the attack from his dreams starts, now he must piece together his dreams like a puzzle to help his family get out alive.

 

Thoughts on Extinction

 

Characters – Peter has been suffering from nightmares of an alien invasion, his family are worried about him, his co-workers are too, he doesn’t know how to read his nightmares, until the attack starts. He uses the nightmares as a guide to survive against the alien invaders proving he can fight, kill and protect his family. Peter is the reluctant hero making decisions that are risky for the rest of the survivors. Alice is the wife of Peter, she sees him in trouble and is getting tired of seeing him suffer, she sees the problems but once the attack starts she will do everything to protect her children. The kids are your generic, we have the rebellious teenage daughter and the younger innocent one that is trapped in the middle. We do also have people that are helping with the survival, they are mostly guides not doing too much.

PerformancesMichael Pena in the leading role is strong throughout, he gives us an everyman action performance where he believes his kids are what is important. Lizzy Caplan is good in her role without needing to letting Pena take all of the spotlight. The rest of the cast are good enough for the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man who is suffering nightmares of an alien invasion which will see his family in danger. We tease the idea that this could just be in his head, until an attack starts. We get to follow the generic save the family from the attackers storyline which works enough. The story does have a third act twist which turns everything on its head and makes you re-think what you have seen so far.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world created shows us being in the future with the technology, the attack shows future weapons too.

SettingsThe film is set in generic city in the future, it has tall building and surrounded by trees, this is all we see for location.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part were good, that was until the final shot which looked awful.


Scene of the Movie –
The twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That final shot nearly kills the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film that does work well for the and the twist in the third act does make it feel fresh.

 

Overall: Sci-fi film saved by its twist.

Rating