Comfortable and Furious

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back

kickboxer 2


“A lethal kickboxer killed his brother. Now David Sloan must seek revenge the only way he knows how… the ring.”

Entire Story in Fewer Words than are in this Sentence:

Slabs of oiled meat kick, punch, box, and fuck.


Outside of a man being motivated to kill by the death of his male friend, there’s plenty of hot action for the fellas. As the film opens, we see kickboxer David Sloan’s wall covered with pictures of sizzling beefcake. And the opening song? “My Brother’s Eyes,” which by all accounts is an ode from one man to another about how each one misses gazing at the other’s flawless, Aryan form. We then discover that Sloan runs a gym for wayward boys! He even says to one pre-teen, “Come by the gym sometime, I’ll show you how it’s done.” We know you will, sweet David. At the six-minute mark, we spot the second oiled chest, this time belonging to good friend Brian, whose only function is to betray his buddy and die in the ring.

And Sloan’s biggest smile occurs when he tells the group of sweaty young boys to hit the showers, which makes little sense as they’ve done nothing but watch others beat the crap out of each other. Needless to say, there are several extended training sequences — all set to Survivor (the band, asshole) style music — that feature endless close-ups of thighs, calves, chests, and abs. During one sequence with his trainer Xian, David ignores two hot chicks in bathing suits and instead focuses his attention on his male companion’s tongue war with a popsicle. But that shouldn’t surprise us. Despite being in the heart of L.A., women are conspicuously absent, except for the occasional bimbo who holds up the round cards. We’ll wrap up the hunk fest with bad guy Tong Po’s mascara and Brian’s steroid shot, which plays like a hot beef injection, leading Brian to utter, “My body feels like it’s gonna explode.” Mine too, tiger.

Corpse Count:

A pathetic two, although one of the fatalities was a snot-nosed kid who burned to death in Sloan’s gym. There might have been two other deaths, although they cannot be confirmed by the strict standards of this category. Tong Po is brutalized in the final battle, but he appears to be breathing when we last see him. And the referee that Po threw out of the ring? It’s likely the old man died given that he appeared to be well past eighty, but we were not lucky enough to watch him hit the ground.

How bad is it really?

Now I know why I never liked martial arts films to begin with, even when as a high school student I preferred bone-snapping to witty banter. Any hint of a story is mere pretext — what we paid to see are oily, well-built men inflict a tremendous amount of pain on each other, with the hope that there will be numerous slo-mo sequences where blood and spit fly through the air. And Sasha Mitchell gives an unconvincing, mush-mouthed performance as David Sloan, although we’d expect little from a man playing Van Damme’s younger brother. The clichés also flow like wine: the business that’s about to be lost, the “last fight,” the betrayal, the annoying philosophical chatter between fighters, and the wise Asian trainer who spews fortune cookie wisdom with the worst of ’em (Example: “I terr you stoly of glasshopper and labbit…”) And I just knew that an Asian gangster was going to figure into all this somehow. And why was Peter Boyle in this mess? Wasn’t that sort of role reserved for Ben Gazzara?

Post-Mortem One-Liner:

Not one syllable, although the dialogue was as bad as it gets. Try these on for size, dear reader:

“That is one bullshit move, sweetheart.”
“To catch a tiger, one must set the trap.”
“You the weakest of all the Sloans!” (it’s better if you scream like a woman)
“There is no fat lady, and I hear no singing! Now kick his ass and let’s go home!”

Stupid Political Content:

Released in 1991, the Reagan/Bush era was nearly over by that time, and as a result Kickboxer 2 is nearly devoid of overt political commentary. There are the evil Asians, which might be construed as a reflection of our economic fears, but little is done with it. Typically, women are reduced to their tits, but the hatred usually present in these hyper-masculine adventures was toned down completely. The only real right-wing theme is that of revenge, and how no man is really whole until he kills for personal honor or, in David’s case, kicks ass after losing his private property.

Novelty Death:

As said, a little boy dies in a fire, but the best death occurred as Tong Po (read: Ivan Drago) butchered poor Brian (read: Apollo) in the fight that was meant to bring David back into the ring. Their showdown was far bloodier than Raging Bull, and I continue to be amazed that a man can remain standing after several dozen iron-fisted rabbit punches.

What You Learned:

Let’s face it, men beat the shit out of each other so they don’t have to get down to the real business at hand — taking hot cock up the ass. One-on-one male combat is the world’s way of legitimizing buried homoerotic longings, while also appearing to be “tough.” And yes, if you bring your mother to the big fight, you’ve pretty much signed your own death warrant.



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