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Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor

AKA: Kickboxer IV


Director: Albert Pyun
Action directors: Bob Brown, Mike De Luna, Jon Epstein
Producer: Jessica Budin
Writers: Albert Pyun, David Yorkin
Cinematography: George Moordian
Music: Anthony Riparetti
Editing: Ken Morrisey

Stars: Sasha Mitchell, Nicholas Guest, Michele Kransnoo, Brad Thornton, Deborah Mansy, Kamel Krifa, Jill Pierce

Rated R for violence, language, and nudity

After the pile of steamy bum dung with a dog links chaser that Kickboxer 3: The Art of War was, the series makes a nice step back forward with Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor. In fact, the producers seem to want you to think that the previous entry never even happened, since those events are totally glossed over during the movie's opening scene, where we learn that David Sloan (Sasha Mitchell) has been sent to prison after being framed by his nemesis Tong Po (Kamel Krifa).

Since his time as a kickboxing champ has come to an end via the hands of David, Tong Po has now become Mexico's top drug runner. But the thrill of combat still resides in Tong Po, and so he hosts a yearly tournament to bring in the world's top fighters. It's because of this that the DEA thinks David might be able to do what they haven't -- kill Tong Po -- and so they give him an early release.

So, okay, Kickboxer 4's plot isn't exactly thought-provoking. But then, you're probably not watching a movie with "kickboxer" in its' title to get any sort of deep meditiations on the intricate nature of human existence. And actually, the acting's not all that bad for this type of movie. Sasha Mitchell thankfully has left the Keanu Reeves school of acting, and goes for a more serious take here. Kamel Krifa makes a fine replacement for Michel Qissi in the role of Tong Po, and actually beings a bit of depth -- though the makeup the film-makers use to make Krifa look like Michel Qissi (the actor who played Tong Po in the previous Kickboxer films) looks horrible at times.

And the action here is surprisingly solid. Yeah, you're not gonna mistake Kickboxer 4 for Drunken Master II or even Bloodsport, but there's a lot of talented martial artists here, who are all allowed to use their unique styles. Sadly, though, the David versus Tong Po confrontation comes off as a bit limp, probably to set up the sequel to this storyline, which never happened. Nevertheless, if you're into B-movie cheese, and are armed with a fistful (or better yet, armful) of tasty adult beverages, a viewing of Kickboxer 4 might just be right up your alley.


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