Just when you thought every movie from the ’80s has already been rebooted, remade, or reimagined in one form or another, along comes news that Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1989 martial-arts adventure Kickboxer is next on the list — and with a well-regarded director and impressive cast, too.
In a deal announced ahead of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Tai Chi Zero filmmaker Stephen Fung has agreed to direct a big-budget reboot of Kickboxer that will star stuntman Alain Moussi (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Pacific Rim), as well as UFC champion Georges St. Pierre and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. While it will be Moussi’s first starring role, both St. Pierre and Bautista have found their way to Hollywood lately with the UFC fighter most recently appearing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Bautista in the recent Riddick and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.
In a press release announcing the project — and the production company’s search for financiers and distributors at the festival — the plot of the film was described as follows:
David and Kurt Sloan are the descendants of a well-known Venice, California dynasty of champions. Both are top-notch fighters and athletes in the prime of their lives. When David wins the Karate World Championship, a promoter lures him to Hong Kong despite Kurt’s protests that the man is a crook. Not soon after, Kurt receives a letter from David and heads to Thailand to meet him. When he arrives, he discovers his brother is dead. The man responsible is the viscous Tong Po. Desperate to seek revenge, Kurt turns to Xian Chow, his brother’s former mentor. To defeat the man who killed his brother, Kurt must look within himself to find the strength and courage of a champion.
The original film cast Van Damme as Kurt Sloan, a role that will be filled by Moussi in the remake. Fung’s martial-arts epic Tai Chi Zero was well-received by fans of the genre, and the filmmaker is widely regarded as one of the genre’s rising stars — so his involvement with the project is likely a good sign. The producers are envisioning Kickboxer as the start of a new franchise, much like the original 1989 film spawned four (straight-to-video) sequels.