The worlds of martial arts and Hollywood intersected Wednesday night in Westwood at the iPic Theater, which hosted the premiere of Radar Pictures-RLJ Entertainment’s “Kickboxer: Vengeance.”
Attendees spoke admiringly not only of the 1989 original “Kickboxer,” which helped launch the career of Jean-Claude Van Damme, but also of Ang Lee’s 2000 “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — which was nominated for 10 Oscars.
“Martial arts movies don’t get taken seriously except for ‘Crouching Tiger’ but we’ve gotten some very nice reviews,” said producer-writer Dimitri Logothetis, who began working on the reboot four years ago.
“Martial arts are a passion of mine,” he mused. “Adults enjoy these films if they’ve got a little kid left in you. This one is authentic, partly because the stunts aren’t doubled and there’s a wonderful athleticism to it.”
Alain Moussi, who has racked up a dozen credits in martial-arts roles (such as “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) and plays the Kurt Sloane role originated by Van Damme, never stopped smiling. “I love the original film so much, so this is a dream come true,” he added.
C0-stars Georges St-Pierre, Sam Medina, Sara Malakul Lane, Fabricio Werdum, Luis Da Silva Jr. also attended along with UFC champion Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Brian Shaw, four-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man competition. Van Damme, who plays Master Durand in the reboot, was not in attendance.
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Nelson and Shaw are starring in the sequel “Kickboxer: Retaliation,” which has already been shot. “I started with Lou Ferrigno in ‘Scorpion King 4,’ which really gave me the acting bug,” Nelson recalled.
Producer Rob Hickman said the third film, “Kickboxer: Syndicate,” is lined up to shoot in February and gave all credit to the actors-martial artists.
“They are some of the nicest people that you’d ever want to meet,” Hickman noted.
“Kickboxer: Vengeance” will be released in theaters and on demand on Sept. 2.
The film was produced by Logothetis and Hickman along with Nicholas Celozzi, Ted Field, Allen Knudson and Samuel Cory Timpson. Hickman, Logothetis, and Radar are producing the second and third films. films