Ever since the upcoming remake/reboot of Kickboxer was announced, fans have wondered whether original star Jean-Claude Van Damme would have a role in the new film. This week, the veteran action hero’s return to the franchise was confirmed, but it comes at the expense of one of cinema’s rising stars of martial arts movies.
The studio announced the change-up in the cast this week, with Van Damme replacing Ong-bak star Tony Jaa as the mentor of the film’s protagonist, Kurt Sloan, who will be played by longtime stunt actor Alain Moussi (X-Men: Days Of Future Past). Van Damme played Sloan in the original, 1989 film.
In the new film, Van Damme is expected to play an updated version of Master Chow, who was played by Dennis Chan in the original film.
“We are so excited to have Kickboxer roll into production and to have JCVD in the role of Master Chow, passing the torch to Alain, to have him lead the franchise to a new generation,” producer Ted Field in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Audiences better get ready for this incredible reboot. The action is going to be non-stop with never-before seen stunts. Simply put, Kickboxer will kick-ass!”
Along with Moussi, Van Damme joins former professional wrestler Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and MMA fighter-turned-actor George St. Pierre (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) in the cast of the film, which follows a martial arts who enters a deadly tournament in order to avenge the death of his brother.
The film begins production this week, but no release date has been announced at this point.