REVIEW: Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
Following the prime rule of The Quickening, Kickboxer 4 (wisely) ignores the previous entry and instead establishes itself as a more direct sequel to Kickboxer 1 and 2. Kickboxer 4 opens with a quick rehash of what Kickboxer 1 and 2 were all about. David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell in his third go around) is writing a letter to his wife and he explains that Tong Po gunned down Kurt (Who was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Eric and basically forced him into the ring by torching David's gym. He also says that Tong Po cheated against Eric, which is untrue because anyone who's seen the first movie knows that Eric underestimated Tong Po and got his ass kicked. Oh and I forgot David is writing this "Dear Vicki" letter from prison (A place Sasha Mitchell would learn all about in the next three years) as he has been set up by Tong Po, after a DEA bust went awry.
"I know you, you're the pig who framed husband!"
David also tells his wife Vicki (Deborah Mansy) to lay low and hide because she might be in danger but before the warning is received, we see numerous thugs dragging a woman into a house, she actually holds her own against the thugs until we witness with awe as Tong Po comes out of the woodwork and uses a series of admittedly impressive moves to cut down the feisty Vicki. It's here Tong Po decides to put David through the same trial that he put his brother Kurt through, so Po rapes David's wife. However to show what a considerate guy he is, he takes a picture and sends it to David saying "He'll look after her while he's gone." Suffice to say David doesn't take this gesture too kindly.
"It's been a lot of hard years since Tong Po has seen me"
We find out that David has retired from kickboxing to pursue a career in the DEA. David is not the only one retired from the ring as Tong Po himself has retired from kickboxing to become a druglord. So these two titans have been pitted against each other in what will be the final confrontation. David is also in prison because Tong Po forced him to fight in a to the death match. (This would've all been avoided had David's oldest brother Eric had listened to Kurt and seen that the guy was crazy, that he was fucking crazy, although Van Damme's accent might've gotten in the way of getting this point across) So thanks to Casey Ford (Nicholas Guest) David's back out in the street and he's asked to take down Tong Po once and for all. David accepts the challange.
"Maybe i'll make you my girlfriend!"
However the only way to accomplish this difficult task is to get invited to Tong Po's tournament. And how do you get invited? Why you basically beat the crap out of bikers who threaten to make you their girlfriends. David whomps not only one biker but two at the same time! David also goes under the alias Jack Jones because Jim Jones would sound a tad too suspicious. David hits the road after receiving his invitation and decides to get a beer, so he walks into a bar and spots a young girl who is being harassed by various drunks, her name is Megan (Michelle Krasnoo, who believe it or not was in No Retreat No Surrender, but she was one of the uniformed kids practicing karate in the beginning. Yeah, I saw No Retreat No Surrender!) and she's a tough broad, she holds her own until the drunks whack her in the head with a bottle. David is apparently offended and so he kicks ass in what could arguably be the best bar fight ever. (And yes I saw Road House, in fact I saw Road House 2 which also follows the Mitchell substitution rule. Odd) The action sequence has Sasha Mitchell using a stool as a shield from darts and then using said stool to smash it over the head of a drunk! Another classic moment is how Sasha Mitchell starts out by putting his hand in the air as if he was waving, only to then come crashing down with a hook-punch. Also people go through windows, people are thrown into bathrooms, doors and all kinds of tables. This movie sets the record in terms of people thrown on various things that break. I of course was gleefully fascinated by the stool used to wack a guy right in the head. In fact it's so impressive that it would count as a # 1 "MXC most painful elimination" However David is greeted with a "fuck you" and Megan isn't all that appreciative of his help. Suffice to say she's going to compete in Tong Po's tournament.
"Just how hard are you Mr. Jones?"
David then arrives and learns that he must compete to impress the judges. It's here we meet Bill (Thom Mathews of Friday The 13th Part 6 fame!) the lead henchman of Tong Po, who doesn't even know what David looks like! David has to fight Megan and fight he does, Megan tries her best against David, and although he's relunctant to fight, it isn't until David is wacked that he knocks Megan out, although sadly he doesn't use a stool this time. David has qualified and he goes for some downtime. (That's one thing about David, he always at some point takes a breather, what gives?!) It's here Tong Po introduces himself and in the span between Kickboxer 2 and this movie, Tong Po has become a board certified shrink, a visionary record producer and drug lord. (I'm not kidding.) Of course we are sadly left out of any type of people who would visit Tong Po with their psychological problems. Tong Po might be a murderer, rapist, drug lord and overall badass but one thing you can't accuse him of is "Not taking the bull by the horn". Tong Po announces that he will be hosting the tournament and the winner gets a million dollars. Tong Po also gives Megan a chance to get in the tournament by fighting whoever will take her on, but she pisses Tong Po off somehow so she gets a beat down from Tong Po. Although it's broken up by Lando (Brad Thornton) one of the fighters also looking to win a million dollars and nail Megan. Things are obviously off to a kicking start.
"Don't be foolish, boy!"
Tong Po also is played by a different actor from the first two movies, so much so that a make up job has been applied at times so hysterically goofy, that it looks as if Tong Po had cosmetic surgery. This is of course credible because he did get his head kicked in pretty good in Kickboxer 1 and 2. Actually to be fair sometimes the makeup job looks okay but during these opening scenes it's obvious that it was a hot day, since the sweat and heat made his makeup melt. Also Tong Po plucks his eyebrows, because macho tough guys care about personal hygene? It's here the fights begin, David finds out that Lando is a childhood friend from the old days of Kickboxer 2 and rescue attempts are made to rescue David's wife.
"That's Mr. Smith, and i'm nobody's agent!"
Lando(His last name is Smith by the way) comes up with a plan to save David's wife, he will learn her location from the lead whore named Darcy (Jill Pierce) Seems Darcy has it bad for Lando and the only way to convince her to help him out, is to basically get her in the sack and to which she'll disclose the information. While getting a deal from Lando, that he'll take her away from this terrible life she lives. Darcy is relunctant at first but is convinced, however Bill (Tong Po's lead henchman) was eavesdropping and he learns of the whole plan which gets Lando captured and Darcy killed. Lando then gives up David's location and we find out that Lando is DEA. David is looking for his wife, when guards come, David beats up on them for a long time, until Tong Po catches him with an elbow and knocks him out. This of course delights Tong Po.
"He will be punished in the Thai style!"
Tong Po has also upped the stakes and turned this into a "to the death" tournament and all fighters who are too much of pussies to kill in the heat of battle are asked to leave. However Tong Po then shoots them all one by one in what is inarguably the funniest sequence in this goofy martial arts pic. Also David and Lando are dumped in the middle of the arena and it becomes a bonus round where anyone who wants fifty thousand dollars extra must fight and kill David. Nobody succeeds. Then Megan explains to the oblivious fighters that Tong Po plans to kill them all and that there is no money. This causes a riot and finally David and Tong Po meet in a epic battle complete with picnic tables and punchbowls!
"You, fight or die!"
David and Tong Po beat the crap out of each other, jump on tables, get knocked off of tables, get elbows in the stomach, get kicked in the face and in one great moment David hisses at Tong Po for no other reason except for the fact that there will be no fresh start-over with a different hand to play. So step by step and day by day, David and Tong Po duke it out.
"I don't remember there being much hope for you!"
Believe it or not, Kickboxer 4 is a rare example where a sequel is more fun than the sequels that came before it. (Keep in mind, I said sequels because this isn't as fun as Kickboxer 1, mainly because there is no Van Damme in a diaper scene and hands dipped in glass routine) Sasha Mitchell finally loses his whole "Nice guy" edge and delivers a performance that even Van Damme would be proud of. Indeed Sasha Mitchell barely speaks and when he does it's only to growl, threaten or insult. In other words,the way an action hero should be. Plus Kickboxer 4's' tagline to this day still sums up Sasha Mitchell. "Framed, Forgotten and Furious."
"Is that enough?"
Kickboxer 4 is truly a must see for anyone who consider themselves a contender in the stakes of bad movies. Plus it has a moment that will never be forgotten, a sequence in which nothing in the world mattered except for one stool and one person's head,a meeting that will forever define the existance of man.
Hamlin Grade: 6.5