How do you make a sequel to Jean-Claude Van Damme's breakout martial arts hit, Kickboxer, without him? Well, you shouldn't, but that's what four follow-ups to the 1989 flick did to predictably terrible results. They aren't making that mistake for the upcoming reboot, Kickboxer: Vengeance, which brings back Van Damme but in a totally different role.
The first Kickboxer: Vengeance trailer has debuted following its premiere at Fantasia Fest just last night (my buddy Chris' review is here). Van Damme returns only this time he's training American martial artist Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi) who seeks revenge on Muay Thai champion Tong Po (Dave Bautista) for the death of his brother. Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, and the late Darren Majian Shahlavi co-star.
The film is directed by John Stockwell, better known for touristy ocean flicks like Into the Blue, Blue Crush, Turistas, and Dark Tide. But he did direct Carano in the lousy action film In the Blood, so at least he has some experience with this sort of thing? Kickboxer: Vengeance opens August 19th, and whether it's a hit or not Van Damme is returning for the sequel, Kickboxer: Retaliation.