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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Firstly, I'll start with what the film actually does right. Some of the
fight choreography isn't bad and the editing is better than usual for
Albert Pyun, the New Mexico locations look nice and the overall
production values are much better than usual for Albert Pyun as the
picture is clear and colourful, there are a couple of basic stunts (not
well used however) and Sasha Mitchell does the best he could possibly
do given the material surrounding him.
Now for the rest, it was full of so many things which simply made say "Huh?" or had me in hysterics that I don't know where to start. The villain who goes by the name of "Tong Po" in the previous Kickboxer movies wouldn't return in this. For a hack director in a schlocky B-movie, that is no problem. Attempt to use stock footage and then get a double like Ed Wood did with Bela Lugosi for Plan 9? Nope, although Pyun did do that with Snoop Dogg in Urban Menace and The Wrecking Crew, he has gone one step further. This time, he has hired a new actor to take his place and applied ridiculous makeup to make him look like the original actor. The result looks like like somewhere between The Joker from Batman and a Thunderbirds puppet and looks even more funny when he's standing outdoors and his skin is red with sweat, but his face remains a light yellow tone. If you are familiar with Pyun, he often uses close-ups of the actors faces in his movies, often so two characters who are not on set at the time can be edited together to look like they're in conversation. He continues that trend in this, and the "Tong Po" character is seen in close-ups several times, revealing how truly bad the makeup is and making me laugh harder than I have at a movie in a long time. Not since I saw Anna Nicole Smith in Skyscraper have I laughed through every single scene one character has been seen in. And when he tries to act scary and threatening, don't get me started. Let's just say he's as scary as a fluffy little bunny rabbit. I really felt sorry for the entire cast who had to act around this character and pretend to be taking him seriously. And what makes it even funnier is that exactly the same weak plot could have been executed with a new villain. There was absolutely no reason why Tong Po had to be part of this plot. Much of what little budget there was seems to have been spent on a pointless and completely ridiculous barroom brawl. Michele "The Mouse" Krasnoo is sitting there minding her own business drinking a can of Coke when a bunch of rednecks come and pick on her. By amazing coincidence, at just the right time Sasha Mitchell comes and saves her. Now my first impressions were "Huh?" when I saw this. Krasnoo was 19 when this was filmed but looks about 15. Now just why was she sitting in a redneck bar to drink a can of coke to begin with? This scene is where Pyun has used what budget he had for stunts it seems but he has no idea how to use them. For example, the biggest stunt is when one of the rednecks gets thrown through a window (which shatters like plastic) and when he stands up about 3 metres away from the bar, a van comes driving up about 20 MPH and launches him through another window back into the building. Now why would a van be moving at that speed while only a few feet away from the building unless the driver was unbelievably careless while parking? It reminded me of the exploding car in U.S Seals which drives into an area where a tank is causing having at about 50 MPH. Truly stupid. And after being saved, Krasnoo's character is extremely obnoxious and unthankful to Mitchell for saving her. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more stupid, it turns out she is also a fighter and is entering Tong Po's tournament. Which now leads me to her performance. Not content with one hilariously bad character in the movie, we now have another one. You will get better line delivery from your average computer voice generating software program. Not only that, but in fight scenes with grown men who are mostly over a foot taller than her, it looks silly and unconvincing. I have no doubt she has skills and definitely has great flexibility, but this film does a very poor job in demonstrating that. Not all the fights are bad however and there are some decent ones, but Pyun ruins any excitement they may have had with bad camera angles and turning the camera towards the spectators or "Tong Po" at awkward moments.
Overall, this is awful but I think anybody with the right kind of humour must see it as it's yet another example of film-making at the bottom of the food chain. I will give it that I found it absolutely painless to sit through unlike some of Pyun's other "movies". If you are after an exciting martial arts flick, then stay away. The climatic fight scene is especially funny, where Mitchell and the so called "Tong Po" battle it out on top of tables and after losing the battle, our plastic faced friend runs away leaving it open for another sequel. Yay! It hasn't happened and after the final product of Kickboxer 4 and the fact there's already been a 5 with completely new characters, I can safely say it won't happen. But to think that Pyun thought this was good enough to make another sequel and that his "Tong Po" was convincing enough to return doesn't say a lot for the intelligence of his target audience.
I like this movie as cheesy as people may think it is. C'mon what did
you expect out of Sasha Mitchell? An Oscar performance? these are the
types of movies that your dad will watch on the action channel or just
find at the local Wal Mart in some bargain bin. These movies aren't
expected to rake in some bank at the box office so get over it. They're
supposed to be down to earth bad. You're a fool if you expect something
like this to be very good.
There's a lot of action in this movie, and a lot of fighting. The plot is as simple as it gets, infiltrate the enemy base as a world fighter who's invited to a tournament avoid getting seen and rescue your wife from the nemesis. For those who trashed the movie Double Dragon, ha ha Kickboxer 4 would've made for a nice Double Dragon replacement. It's a far better movie with the same kind of story as in the video game.
Tong Po spits out one of my favorite lines of all time in this movie. It's when he says and the way he says, "One MILLION Dolla!!!" LOL Seriously every time my friend and I are gonna attempt a 3 point shot from somewhere, or a long shot in basketball, try to touch a high point and jump, we always refer to Tong Po's "One Million Dolla!" line. Priceless. Tong Po takes the beating of his life at the end of this film. Loved it.
many compare hardcore action films like this to porn: you get some
action, you get some poorly written dialog, you get some action, poorly
written dialog, and so on. as it is with this, but the action is great.
Sasha mitchell is surprisingly good, doing a decent impression of
someone playing a leading man, but it's his high kicks we want to see,
and we get them in spades.
Before i go any further, you should know that this is the sort of film where the plot is put on hold for a few minutes so that the hero can fight a bar full of bikers for no apparent reason, where going and picking a fight with another bunch of bikers in a very public display is the best course of action when trying to infiltrate a tournament anonymously. OK those facts are out of the way.
the plot is some sort of nonsense about a tournament (because apparently former Thai kick-boxers can very easily set themselves up as drug kingpins with nothing better to do than organize tournaments) Tong Po is back, albeit played by a different actor, and the former Goro from Mortal Kombat lookalike has discovered the joys of speech, unfortunately he speaks in an annoying whiny voice. but he is played by an impressive martial artist as compensation, who soaks up damage in the final fight until he fights the hero, one again one of those things. but who cares? the martial arts are a very good standard for a low budget, dodgy film with a no name lead (more or less), and feature some very well done, quite brutal, fights
After watching Kickboxer 4, late last night (2am-4am) on FX, my only
response is, wow. I thought the movie was fun to watch! The acting was
pretty bad, the story was stupid and cliché, the fight scenes were
poorly done and I was expecting the main character to all of a sudden
say his catch phrase "DUDE!" from Step by Step.
What was with almost every character looking like a famous person? I'm really happy to see Frank Zappa was able to act in a film before his untimely death.
Also, why did every bad-ass character in that movie end up to be a wimp at the end. Frank Zappa snapped a guys neck, then smashed his head into the ground for fun (in an OR scrub) and beat the crap out of all those people in the beginning (in a bright red polo shirt). But here comes big bad Cody, doesn't even elbow him in the face, "I've had enough!". Same thing with the so called "savage international terrorist". He kicked total butt in the beginning and then at the end he scurrys off like one of those flying monkeys in the Wizard of OZ.
I did enjoy the movie though, wouldn't nominate it for a Grammy though. But my liking was mostly due to the fact that I felt like a member of the "Mystery Science 3000" cast, making fun of almost every scene.
And what the hell was with that "hiss" Sloan did at the end? Damnit, i need a cigarette.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Open Question to Albert Pyun: What is with your obsession with Tong Po?
Granted, Po was a pretty memorable villain I remember him more vividly than Van Damme's character. But for crying out loud, move on already!
I'm almost almost inclined to review Kickboxer 4 favorably for at least trying to transcend its limited budget with a slicker visual style and ambitious shots/frame composition that leaves Kickboxer 3 in the dust; however, it never quite succeeds on a technical level (it tries, but fails.) More distractingly the plot goes overboard in waters reserved for the more outrageous black comedies and spoofs (and the film doesn't seem smart enough to realize where it's dropping anchor.)
True to sequelitis, this one has to attempt to top its predecessors in all departments. Tong Po cannot remain just a very disturbed, overly violent, guy who goes out of his way to cripple his opponents in the ring. Now he's a murderous gun-toting womanizing evil-Shang Tsung-wanna-be Asian Drug Lord in Mexico out for revenge against the Sloan family, and what the hell? Let's say he's also Keyser Soze, Freddy Krueger, and he drinks puppy's blood while biting the heads off of cute little bunny rabbits we get it. He's a mean guy.
Oh, did I mention a new actor has donned the role of Tong Po? Disguised in makeup to look like the original actor, which just looks downright creepy in its "close, but not quite right" Uncanny-Valley way. Just wait till he takes his shirt off, making visible the contrasting flesh tones of the face and body.
Sometime between Kickboxer 3 and 4, Tong Po had David Sloan put in jail and kidnapped Sloan's wife (as you recall, the Sloan family has been the bane of his existence for two films, and David was the bane of his existence in Kickboxer 2.) The premise of Kickboxer 4? The authorities release Sloan to compete in Po's conveniently held little tournament in the middle of nowhere. Problem: If Tong Po is so hell-bent on getting even with David, wouldn't that obsession lead him to, you know, be able to recognize David? The film answers (in David's words, no less), "It's been 5 years he won't recognize me" proving indisputably that David Sloan is a complete moron.
Don't despair, the personality of the main character has atrophied along with his intellect during those five long years in prison. In other words, David Sloan has devolved into something actor Sasha Mitchel can handle, and for the first time since his debut in the series I did not want to see him slip on a banana peel, break his neck, and retire in disgrace. In the previous film, he'd grin, he'd talk, and try to carry on a conversation with his intellectual equal (a 10 year old boy) only to be upstaged by the brat the same way a lamp is upstaged by anything that can move. In this film, however, Sloan is content to show up, kick ass, and walk away. Thank you, Albert Pyun.
And what was the point of all the additional characters? Darcy? Megan? Lando? They exist in the screenplay to fill an off-the shelf role, and none of them develop into anything more than plot requirements. David needs an ally, therefore Lando must exist. David should have a positive influence on someone (to mentor, if you will), therefore Megan must exist. The screenplay needs David and his Ally to be caught, and a character on the path to redemption needs to be sacrificed hence Darcy's presence. And, there has to be another cruel villain, so Pyun introduces whats-his-name who likes to slam people's faces into the dirt. But, really, do any of these characters add anything to the central story? These aren't characters, these are props.
On a visual level, Kickboxer 4 wants to look like a more expensive film, and in some respects it succeeds (at least partially.) There's a nice shot that follows Lando and Megan as they walk away to their rooms, and then the camera returns (rotating almost 180 degrees) to show Darcy and one of Po's lead henchmen behind her capturing 4 characters (polar opposites of each other) in a single unbroken shot with surprisingly competent composition. Unfortunately, the latter half is slightly out of focus. Even still, this one shot (with all its flaws) is twice as sophisticated and ten times more interesting than the prepackaged coverage and editing found in Kickboxer 3. Earlier in Kickboxer 4, Sloan and one of Po's agents are filmed from a distance. David starts walking towards the camera (becoming larger via the perspective), leaving the agent behind. A whole half-hearted conversation plays out while both men are in frame together simple as it may be, again, this single extended shot proves easier to look at and more intriguing than the snooze-inducing editing of its predecessor.
As ridiculous as the plot is, as pointless as the characters are, at least Kickboxer 4 has some ambition, and even if it never quite succeeds visually on a technical level it does at least try.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just purchased Kickboxer 4 on DVD as a double feature with Kickboxer
5 and I must confess that my expectations were not high. Kickboxer 4
once again stars Sasha Mitchell(Kickboxer 2&3) as David Sloane and is
directed by Albert Pyun(Kickboxer2&Cyborg) The first thing that struck
me about Kickboxer 4, is its low budget and amateurish quality.
The movie begins by giving a rundown of the previous Kickboxer movies and quickly establishes how David Sloane was framed by his enemy Tong Po and sent to prison. It isn't long however before David is approached by the F.B.I and given a chance to seek revenge against Tong Po by entering Tong Po's one million dollar prize fight tournament.
In a silly subplot David's wife has been held prisoner by Tong Po for two years, so once David is accepted into the tournament, he sneaks around Tong Po's Mexican villa searching for his captive wife.
The dialogue in this film is pretty worthless and the film's only redeeming feature is the fight scenes which are frequent but fairly inferior. The most defective part of this film, is the character playing Tong Po. It isn't the same actor from Part 1&2 playing the part and I must say that the bad make-up job to make the actor resemble Tong Po looks ridiculous and completely laughable.
I don't recommend Kickboxer 4 to anyone, unless you're in the mood for pure cheese. I give the film 2 out of ten and even that is being generous.
I originally stopped watching this series years ago after being disappointed by part 3 - the fact that this subsequent entry in the series was directed by Albert Pyun didn't exactly encourage me to give the series another try. Well, I finally watched it, and I can say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. For one thing, some of the fight choreography is pretty good - the tournament fight sequences have choreography that feels much more realistic than you usually get in movies like this, and the bar room brawl is fun to watch. Still, watching these sequences you still say to yourself "It could have been better." That's because once again, Albert Pyun constantly puts the camera in the wrong place or angle, and there are numerous cutaways to people observing the fights - sometimes in the very heat of the battle! Poor photography (often the lens looks like it was smeared with Vaseline) doesn't help, though admitedly the rest of the movie doesn't come across as cheap as Pyun's other efforts -except maybe for the hilarious makeup job for the replacement actor for the Tong Po character. (Perhaps Pyun should have stopped and thought for a minute about the fact he couldn't convince the original actor to return for this entry!)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoilers are here. Where can i begin with the the Kickboxer series. To start with there should not have been a series. The first kick boxer was a fun watch with Van Damme while the ones that followed were boring and for the most part stupid. They continued with yet another brother that also had no family resemblance to Van Damme or his movie role brother Eric (jerry curl) from the first film and dished out enough bad acting to that each movie became progressively more funny. So in kickboxer 4 we have David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell) in jail for killing someone while he was a DEA agent and is now getting a chance to get Tong Po who has now taken his wife and managed to change into another actor, establish a base in the Mexican desert and runs a huge drug operation there. The DEA deside rather then storming the base they send David to enters Po's lame tournameant and get Po. eventually making it into the place he meets and annoying female fighter and some other guy there to help him and get his wife back. There are many fights in between all very boring, especially the female....very dumb. After having to put up with her acting you will be begging for her to be killed. David manages to have a fight about 20 feet away from Po and he does not recognize David, probably all the fake eye make up. David is found out and ends up fighting Tong Po in a very stupid fight. David gets his wife back and Po runs off to go produce The Legionnaire...nuff said. I have seen 1-4 and this is probably ranked 3rd among them. As i did only watch this when its on tv. The fight scenes are bad and the acting is equally stupid. Among other things Tong po's make up is the best part of the movie. He was not played by an Asian guy so the eye make up they put on him is worth the watch alone. While watching this i almost positive that this tong Po was no match for david, who is much bigger then him. Only the music was good in this cheap flick. I'll give it a 4 out of 10, at least it makes you laugh.
I still wonder who gave this movie more than 1 point...
The plot of this movie is horrible, all that memories in the begging. And that worthless efforts of movie makers to link this crap with first van Damme movie... Junk.
Tong Po? You gotta be kidding, right? When I was five, my friend had better mask at the elementary school carnival.
If you hate someone, recommend him this film.
It is really strange that Sasha Mitchell remained in the business after this crummy Kickboxer series.. Always when I saw him in Step by step a remembered him in this lousy movie.
Kickboxer 4 (1994) is a down beat tale starring Sasha Mitchell. He's the
last of the Sloanes (the two brothers from the
first Kickboxer). A series of events have left Sloane in disgrace. His
only saving grace is his beloved wife. The nasty
Tong Po is back and he took Sloane's old lady. Now, he's on a mission. To
find his wife and uphold the family's
honor. Will this be the final battle between Sloane and the mean and nasty
Tong Po? Check this one out!
A fun film. Not a great one mid you but a watchable one. I wouldn't go out of my way looking for a copy however. If you love the Kickboxer series or a Sasha Mitchell fan then this one's for you.
The pint sized kung-fu fighter is a cutie.
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