Wednesday, 31 December 2008
American Kickboxer 1
AMERICAN KICKBOXER 1 (1991)
Directed by: Frans Nel
Screenplay: Emil Kolbe
Starring: John Barrett, Keith Vitali & Terry Norton
Despite having the most unfortunate name in action cinema, BJ Quinn (Barrett) used to be the world champ at kickboxing. But after his temper tantrums land him in jail for a year for the accidental death of someone, he returns to society to rebuild his career and himself. Trouble is, he’s still a bit of an asshole so when he alienates his long suffering lady friend (Norton) and a fellow kickboxer buddy (Vitali), he goes off into solitude to think about things, get through some training montages and come back and beat the loud mouth, funny accented bad guy Jacques Denard (Brad Morris).
American Kickboxer 1 (yep, it actually had the 1 in the title much like Loaded Weapon 1, only this flick isn’t a spoof: well not intentionally anyway) is not one of the better kickboxing films from the era that saw a deluge of action flicks released with the word kickboxer in the title: American Kickboxer King, College Kickboxer, Kickboxer from Hell. All of which were presumably attempting to cash in on the success of Jean Claude Van Damme’s classic Kickboxer. American Kickboxer 1 unfortunately features none of that film’s fun or exciting fight scenes but is instead a rather tedious and often very camp affair. Barrett’s unfortunately monikered BJ is just a dull, arrogant hero and seems to be posing in a catalogue model style manner whenever he is in a scene that doesn’t require fighting. Bad guy Brad Morris (Steel Dawn) has some undistinguishable accent, wears a pink skirt in the fight ring (no, really!) and the only move he seems to display when fighting is hitting himself repeatedly in the head: so how is this guy the new world champion of kickboxing? Keith Vitali (No Retreat No Surrender 3) isn’t so bad and shows he has the moves with some fierce kicking moves but, as are the other fighters, is let down by uninspired and dreary fight choreography that, to be fair, is refreshingly non-flashy but rarely whips up any excitement.
Dull and only worth checking out if you have to see every 1990s American kickboxing flick (which it seems I have to). Followed by a sequel To the Death again starring Barrett and also a non-related sequel actually called American Kickboxer 2 featuring Evan Lurie: both of which, no doubt, I will now have to check out. Damnit.