A Movie A Day #61: Kickboxer (1989, directed by Mark DiSalle and David Worth)


Of the second tier action stars of the late 80s and 90s, Jean-Claude Van Damme was perhaps the best.  Dolph Lundgren may have been a better actor but he could not match Van Damme’s athleticism.  Steven Seagal, in the years of before the weight gain, was rumored to be a more authentic martial artist but everyone knew he was also an asshole and couldn’t act worth shit.  Van Damme was always fun to watch, especially if you were a kid at the time his movies were in the theaters or showing up on a cable.  Everyone wanted to be Jean-Claude Van Damme after watching one of his best movies.  So what if he was a stiff actor with a thick accent?  That hadn’t hurt Schwarzenegger or Stallone.

Kickboxer was the film that introduced most people to Van Damme.  Kurt Sloane (Van Damme!) is the cornerman for his brother, Eric (Dennis Alexio), America’s kickboxing champion.  Eric is lured to Thailand to fight the viscous Tong Po (Michel Qissi, a childhood friend of Van Damme’s).  How evil is Tong Po?  He is so evil that, when Kurt tries to throw the towel and end the fight, Tong kicks the towel out of the ring.  That’s evil!

What are you doing here, Duke!?

What are you doing here, Duke!?

After the fight leaves Eric crippled, Kurt gets revenge the only way he can.  He enters the ring and takes on Tong Po, himself!  They fight the ancient way, with both of their hands covered with broken glass.  When you’re 12 years old and watching an R-rated film on HBO, that is really cool.  Of course, before Kurt can enter the ring, he has to go through a training montage with Xian Chan (Dennis Chan) and fight off Tong Po’s sponsor, local gangster Freddy Li (Ka Ting Lee).

Rewatching Kickboxer, I saw it was even more predictable than I remembered.  At the same time, it was impossible not to, once again, get caught up in that final fight between Kurt and Tong Po.  The montages may have been silly.  The soundtrack may have been cheesy.  Van Damme may have been even more uncertain of an actor than I remembered but it did not matter.  Kickboxer may be dumb but it’s still really cool.  Within a few minutes of watching Kickboxer, I was a kid again and I was having the time of my life.

As for Jean-Claude Van Damme, he went through some well-publicized troubles but he emerged from it all as a far better actor.  Just check out JCVD if you get the chance.


Here’s The Latest Trailer For The American Release of T2 Trainspotting!

T2, Danny Boyle’s sequel to Trainspotting, has already been released in the UK, where it received good but not great reviews.

(If anyone is interested in opening a TSL Bureau in the United Kingdom, please let us know.)

It’ll be released in America later this month.  Here’s the latest trailer for the American release!

A Quickie on a Quickie: KING OF THE ZOMBIES (Monogram 1941)

cracked rear viewer


KING OF THE ZOMBIES is a 1941 Monogram horror quickie that does not star Bela Lugosi. Apparently, the great Hungarian actor was too busy at the time. I don’t see how, it’s not like he was making A-list epics that year.  Looking at his 1941 output, Lugosi starred in the studio’s THE INVISIBLE GHOST, SPOOKS RUN WILD with the East Side Kids, and had small roles in Universal’s THE BLACK CAT and THE WOLF MAN . That’s what, about 4-5 weeks worth of work? Anyway, the part of zombie master Dr. Sangre was taken by Henry Victor, best known as strongman Hercules in Tod Browning’s FREAKS.


What KING OF THE ZOMBIES does have is black comic actor Mantan Moreland . In fact, I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for Mantan, this film would’ve been lomg forgotten. I know many people today find his pop-eyed, mangled English, “feets do yo stuff” scairdy-cat schtick offensive and…

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Celebrate Texas Independence Day With My Favorite Scene From Bernie!

Happy Texas Independence Day!

Down here in Dallas, we celebrate Texas Independence Day by going down to Dealy Plaza and laughing at all the northern tourists sweating and talking about how they’re about to faint because they can’t handle a 75 degreee day.

But, if that sounds a little bit too mean-spirited to you, you can celebrate by watching my favorite scene from Richard Linklater’s Bernie!  I know that I’ve probably shared this before but what can I say?  I really love this quick lesson about my home state:

By the way, that line about “Dallas snobs,” always got a big laugh from the audiences at the Dallas Angelika.  It’s important to have a sense of humor.

Don’t worry, Vermont.  You’ll learn how to laugh at yourself someday.


Courtesy of Zack Snyder’s Twitter Account, here’s some Aquaman Footage!

Apparently, this is the first footage that we’ve seen of Aquaman and … uhmmmm …. yeah.  This doesn’t look incredibly silly at all.

Hey, Zack, would it be too much trouble to get a Sucker Punch sequel?