Kickboxer (1989): Breakdown by Rantbo
Two “Brothers” honeymoon in Thailand. One gets paralyzed, the other gets even.
You get what you pay for and KICKBOXER delivers exactly what you’d expect from a movie called KICKBOXER. Half the film is a barrage of homoerotic training montages and the other half is filled with homoerotic fight sequences. And, all-in-all, it’s pure entertainment. The best part about this movie is that it is one of the greatest unintentional comedies of, not just the 1980’s, but of all time. If you can’t have a fun time watching this flick, you have one seriously large and cumbersome stick up your ass.
Even with kidnapping, dog-stabbing, murder, beatings and rape; KICKBOXER is STILL the most lighthearted revenge film ever made. Largely due to the fact that it is gayer than a garden party, but more on that later—a lot more. This flick is so simple, short and fun, I dare you not to have a good time mocking it ruthlessly with a couple good friends after a circle-jerk. Check it out.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Jean-Claude Van Damme is Former Dance Student Kurt Sloane
He chops down a palm tree with his shin, has visions of ancient battles, becomes spiritually linked with a hawk and fucking destroys a 6’2 ½ Asian brick shit-house with his sweaty MANdibles.
[THE BODY COUNT: 4 FOR SURE, 1 UNCONFIRMED]
Two by gunshot, Two by explosion, courtesy of Kurt’s magical African American friend and his grenade launching machinegun. The one in question has a meat-hook rammed into his taint by Kurt’s Master and is left hanging in a warehouse screaming, until he presumably bleeds out. So, even if he was eventually rescued, I’m sure he at least wanted to die. Oh, and I didn’t count it, but Van Damme kills that palm tree, but good.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
Most would pick Kurt whipping Tong Po’s ass, after discovering that his “brother” was not in danger of being killed by the Asian gangsters, lest he throw the fight; but I have to go with the Eric Sloane v. Tong Po match. Even though at that point we’ve only know him for about ten minutes, it’s very clear that Eric is a douchnozzel. He’s a cocky, whiny, insulting smart-ass, that looks like a ‘80’s porn star and watching him get his just desserts via brutal beatdown is as satisfying as it is funny.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
KICKBOXER is so homoerotic that you can find copies of the DVD in most adult bookstores. Though Kurt and Eric claim to be brothers, I think the term is intended as a euphemism for lovers. And if it’s not, then these siblings are WAY too close for even the most liberal of modern society’s social standards.
If I were to discuss all the factors separately, this section would take longer to read than simply watching the movie. So, instead, here’s a quick list of the BIG ones:
– Eric ‘The Eliminator’ Sloane has a greasy jheri-curl mullet with matching cho-mo ‘stache and proudly sports a bright purple karate-gi with yellow trim and (no joke) silver sequins. In fact, almost everything Eric wears is purple; gis, shorts, sweatpants and thongs (I‘m assuming on the thongs).
– Sporting a jean-vest (sans shirt), Kurt snaps pictures of several little naked Thai boys playing in a river, then waves at them as if to say; “Thanks for the memories!”
– After finding out that his brother was crippled by Tong Po and will never again be able to play pitcher, Kurt mopes around Thailand feeling sorry for himself to the tune of “Fight For Love” by Stan Bush.
– At one point Kurt actually kisses a girl, and I got confused, but then so did he. The look on his face says, “Why did I do THAT?”. Pressures from society to fit into a standard social relationship no doubt. But, Kurt powers through the unsure feeling and remains queer as a poodle with two assholes.
– During his training, Kurt’s Master hooks him up to a sexual torture device, devised for flexibility, but used for unspoken aid in involuntary spread-eagle front and rear man-access.
– In an act to apparently make Kurt accept his closeted same-sex ways, Master forces him to get drunk and dance in front of a crowded tavern. The end result is more gay than a chorus line of chippendales dancers doing the can-can. His moves involve doing the splits (multiple times), wiggling his ass and grinning like an infomercial host. I’d say it was embarrassing and awful, (‘cuz it is), but I’ll be damned if I don’t have a good laugh every time I watch it.
– During the final fight, Kurt is slathered in dude-sweat and sports a banana-hammock thong, covered only by a jungle-boy loincloth. And speaking of Kurt’s shiny lubricated pecks; I looked through the credits, but I couldn’t find out who’s job it was to keep Van Damme constantly covered in a sheen of body-juice and oil. I guess they just had an intern do it–or Stan Bush.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The “brothers” visit a Go-Go Girl establishment, and Eric picks up a Thai hooker with a bouquet of flowers given to him by Kurt as an impulse token of unrequited sibling lust. Eric takes the hooker back to the hotel, and leaves Kurt with an Oh-You! look on his face. The next thing we see are the “brothers” working out their daddy issues in sweaty tank-tops at a local park. So, I think it’s safe to say that Eric was only using the prostitute to make Kurt jealous. A dick move to be sure, but a relatively cheap and effective one. Eric was probably only out about five American dollars, an awkward no-sex goodbye and the next day he had Kurt pinning for his affection.
Kurt’s magical African American friend takes him to a Thai Titty Bar, but all the girls have duct-tape Xs and pasties covering their nipples (not that it matters as Kurt shows no interest in the girls what-so-ever).
Neither of the aforementioned scenes feature any REAL nudity or exploitation, but luckily there is also a delusional young shop-owner that holds out false hopes of winning Kurt’s affections. The Bad Guys figure that Kurt must at least have platonic feelings towards her, so they stage a kidnapping and Tong Po later admits to raping the shit outta her. You never see the act, but I for one believe the look of shame on her face afterward. But hey, that’s what happens when you think you can put Jean-Claude back in the closet.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
While Van Damme’s lines where mercifully few, he does manage to shout, “NOOOOOO!!!” not once, but twice. Sadly, one word does not a one-liner make. So, I’ll have to go with the single line of dialogue spoken by Tong Po, (thankfully, it’s a good one). After beating Kurt stupid with a hurricane of glass-shard covered punches that send him sprawling to the blood-stained floor, Tong Po adds insult to severe injury with this…
Tong Po: “You bleed like Mylee. Mylee–goooowd FUCK!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
If you’re a malicious professional fighter, that gets his kicks crippling your opponents, best make sure your victim’s lover isn’t JCVD. Oh, and you don’t win fights with that tip-tap shit.
[THE VAN DAMMAGE: 5 outta 5]
Jean-Claude Van Jazzhands!
[X] An Entire Fight, Sans Shirt
[X] Close-Up Screaming
[X] Jump-Kicks A Guy, Through Something
[X] Special Move Involving Either The Splits or A Spinning Round-House Kick
[THE CHECKLIST: 17 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Van Damme]
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)*
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)**
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Kickboxer 2: The Road Back]
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
*It’s brief, but Tong Po grabs a torch and tries futilely to burn Van Damme with it.
**It’s voluntary, but the shit Kurt goes through to become the ultimate beefcake, couldn’t be classified as anything but.