kickboxerbluStudio: Lionsgate
Year: 1989
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Run time: 97 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Region: A

Accompanied by his brother Kurt (Van Damme), American kickboxing champion Eric Sloane (Dennis Alexio) arrives in Thailand to defeat the Eastern warriors at their own sport. His opponent: ruthless fighter and Thai champion, Tong Po. Tong not only defeats Eric, he paralyzes him for life. Crazed with anger, Kurt vows revenge. After a crash course in the ancient techniques of kickboxing from Thai master Xian Chow, Kurt challenges Tong. Their battle to the finish, born of lust, power and revenge, will leave only one man standing.

Kickboxer, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of the best films he ever made. Kickboxer from start to finish is a very inspirational film. The film brings to light many philosophical issues, and deals with them in an excellent manner. Take for instance the idea of being the best, and what it takes to achieve one’s objective.

Though this scenario is a bit fictional the movie itself is beautifully realistic and authentic. It is about 99% filmed on location in Thailand. The viewer is treated to priceless scenes of inside the Bangkok Ratchadamneon national, Thai-Boxing stadium, real Thai Thai-Boxers training at a camp, and spiritual scenes inside the Buddhist temples of Bangkok, featuring the massive gold-plated Reclining Buddha.

We see Van Damme being taught Thai-Boxing by a Thai, and we watch him progress from being a sloppy fighter to a razor-sharp one. There are scenes where Van Damme, in training, uses his shins to kicks a palm tree, and where Van Damme and his opponent wrap their fists in cloths with broken glass stuck to the knuckles.

While the acting is the greatest on the face of the planet, the story and Van Damme’s martial arts help male this an fun filled film. While this film may not hold well in 2009, it does bring back nostalgia and is very enjoyable from start to finish.
Movie Content: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Having owned this film on VHS, on DVD, and multiple broadcast television viewings I am more than please with this release on Blu-ray.The color palette is on the dull side, with a few colors carrying a strong presence. Brown’s and red’s are the strongest colors of the print. Black levels are strong. Flesh tones look natural and realistic in most scenes and there are several scenes where they have a light gold tint. There is very little grain in a few of the darker scenes, but that is it for grain in the film. Details are inconsistent with a few upclose scenes looking decent, but the rest of the film lacks in details. I can understand the low quality of details with this film being 20 years old. For the most part this print almost looks clean which surprised me. There is white specs and dirt on the print throughout.
Video Quality: 8.5/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. ‘Kickboxer’ sounds fairly decent as this is more of a front heavy audio experience with light audio from the rears. Between the fight scenes, 80’s soundtrack, and various sound effects the bump to DTS-HD helps make this a better sounding film all around. Dialogue is very clean through the center channel, but I found it to be a bit low which was a disappointment.
Audio Quality: 8/10

Special Features

  • Bookmarks

The film only has 1 special feature and that is the option to bookmark scenes during the film for later viewings.

Special Features: 1/10

Final Thoughts

‘Kickboxer’ has to be one of Van Damme’s best films and the one that helped launch his career in Hollywood. While some scenes do not hold up so well here in 2009, this is still a very entertaining film. I was fairly happy with the video and audio for this film on Blu-ray considering the age of the film. For fans of the film, this is well worth the upgrade to Blu-ray.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10