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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Retro Review: Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)

Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
Cast: Sasha Mitchell, Nicholas Guest, Kamel Krifia
Genre: Direct-To-Video Martial Arts

Plot: David Sloan must travel to Mexico to save his wife from a savage drug lord, who is also an old nemesis

'A Huge Kick In The Groin For The Franchise'

I really don't know where to begin - well, for starters, story-wise it's a mess and most of it makes little to no sense. After the disastrous showing of Kickboxer 3 after a reasonably good second film to a classic prequel, Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor takes matters into its own hands, but also virtually ignoring the existence of Kickboxer 3. That is because number 4 follows on from the events of Kickboxer 1 & 2: 2 years later, David Sloan is in jail for no self-explanatory reason and this is shown in the movie, as well as that he got married, and his wife is being raped by David's arch enemy, Tung Po. But wait - nowhere during Kickboxer 2 or 3 did they mention, nor it is shown anywhere of David tying the knot with his wife-to-be. It is then later revealed that Tung Po set David up for a crime he committed when David was working for the DEA. Again, another plot contrivance, as he never worked for them, but because of this film and the plot, it makes it out that he does so. Which is idiocy, but moving on. David strikes a deal with a drug enforcement agency to rescue his wife and that he enters a fighting tournament under a pseudonym with $1 million up for grabs.  

As it takes a turn for the worse, the fourth Kickboxer, filmed on a budget of $400,000, is truly, and in many respects, an abomination that is worth forgetting about.  

Kickboxer 4 also gained notoriety when the British Board of Film Classification refused to grant a UK release for the movie in 1996. Watching it today, it's no less gratuitously violent, despite the neck snaps & bloodshed, which is minimal at most. 

The martial arts fight scenes, despite the variety of styles on show that include Capoeira, are so random and weak in this movie, I know this is a straight- to- DVD & low- budget film, but they did not make my jaw drop, nor excite me. They are straight-up unconvincing and worse than in Kickboxer 1 and 2, as well as in contrast to Best of the Best 1 & 2. It just felt like these fights were from a different martial arts flick and the filmmakers just tacked it onto this movie. & they were so forgettable.

Didn't care for David's mate who falls for a woman and they later have sex. I didn't care for David's wife or the story-line of David going out of his way to rescue her. Once the earnest and easy-going Sasha Mitchell's character is now a reckless, brooding, no-nothing personality of a bore, who, he himself, and the DEA agent friend of his go undercover in a Mortal Kombat-style tournament where fighters do battle to see who ultimately survives. Whilst they are there, they meet up with a young, blonde teen girl, who sort of kicks ass. The rest of the combatants look like Mortal Kombat rejects.

David has less screen time and he fights less, as well as spends most of the time in a ninja outfit & even spying on people having sex. Here, If you have ever played Mortal Kombat, the villain Tung Po here is reminiscent of Goro, the big boss of the game. Well, head and chest-wise, & it's not even the same actor reprising the role and that Po has become a drug dealer, somehow. His performance was comical - in fact, almost all of the performances are, with the cast spouting some terrible dialogue. 

Speaking of the sex scenes, there are 2 needlessly and unsettling gratuitous sex scenes, which are thrown into the mix for no reason and add nothing to the plot and so, this movie is part- softcore porno as well. 

Final Verdict:

Badly flawed in almost every aspect but for the setting of the movie, Kickboxer 4 revels in its schlocky and rickety - yet pedestrian approach and whilst quantity-wise, there are more fights in this film than the last one and this offering resembles more of a kickboxing movie, quality-wise itself, it's still not good enough for me. 

The story arcs are misguided and as well choreographed as the fight scenes were, it didn't wow me as it should have. 

The fights are okay at best - but take those away, and Kickboxer 4 has nothing else good going for it, as the rest of it is just poor. 

As the last instalment starring Sasha Mitchell, he, alongside his crew went out on a damp squib. 


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