What a travesty! I don't even know where to begin. But whatever this film is supposed to be it will be a giant waste of your time.
One thing you will immediately notice that it's soulless. There is nothing in this film that seems to indicate that it is made by people who are passionate about the franchise or film making in particular. Even Jean-Claude Van Damme himself looks bored most of the time. And apparently he didn't even feel motivated to do his own voice since he is dubbed by someone else. Or maybe it is him after twenty drinks or so. So raspy. Whatever was going on here it distracts and is completely ludicrous. Especially since Van Damme barely speaks in the film. There is no significant dialogue or catchy oneliners. That is if you discount the word coconut. There isn't a single moment where Kurt Sloan now played by Alain Moussi and Van Damme as Master Durand bond. Even in the training scenes very little time is taken to have master and pupil connect with each other. How can they since these sequences are rushed through and basically were two montages with very little significance. In the original this relationship was the meat and bones of the film. It was what made the action so fun and memorable. Because they made sure you liked the main characters. Here not so much. How can I be if Van Damme himself doesn't want to be there? At first Master Durand acts all cold towards Kurt. And then on occasion he smirks a couple of times. Then out of the blue he says he doesn't want to lose two sons basically saying that he cares about him. Huh? Did I miss something?
I feel so sorry for Moussi because he is trying his hardest to make everything work but he is let down by plot, direction, choreography and co stars. He is arguably the best thing in the film. Say what? Yes. Seriously. Dave Bautista might look very menacing as Tong Po. But he is nothing compared to the original played by Michel Qissi. (Qissi has a small cameo. 5 seconds or so. And you know what? It's a better performance than all that Bautista is doing in the film.) Wherever Moussi can he shows what he is about and what he can do. In very brief moments he truly impresses. He clearly is skilled as a stuntman and martial artist and therefore it is so frustrating that most of the fights in this film are far from memorable.
From what I have read and understood that several well known MMA fighters are featured in the film. That might very well be but is of very little to no consequence since it doesn't add anything to the film. All those guys could have been caterers since they mostly just stand in the background doing very little. Only Georges St-Pierre is given a chance to shine and it was atrocious. He was even worse than Van Damme who didn't gave a damn. How is that even possible? Another curious decision is Gina Carano as Marcia. Why was she even in this film? You could cut all the scenes she was in and you would not miss her one bit. For a brief moment it looked like she was going to fight and it made me ever so happy. To then be completely let down as it was the last we saw of her. Give and take she was in this for two or three minutes. But it doesn't stop here. Another character has been given prominence as Kurt Sloan's love interest. The lovely Sara Malakul Lane as Liu. She only truly mattered in one scene but apart from that her relationship with Kurt made even less sense as the one in the original. In the original the Mai Li character had a direct impact on Kurt Sloan's emotions and well being. Here she is just window dressing.
But ultimately what really kills this film is that none of this film gives us excitement or fun of any kind. I have excluded the dance scene of Allain Moussi in the credits which is a tribute to the original. I really struggled motivating myself to watch this as I found it to be completely boring. I could have overlooked all of the flaws and mistakes has the action scenes been truly good and exhilarating. Of course that would be asking some real effort and hard work. Why would they? if they can make a quick buck by halfassing it. Can you believe it they already made a sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance? Isn't that a little presumptuous of them? This arrogance should be punished. So ladies and gentlemen. Do yourself a favour and watch the original instead. Hell watch all of the sequels since they are all better than this reboot / remake. Avoid this at all costs.