Negaal (James Ryan) is a disgraced South African kickboxer who goes around killing kickboxing champions and stealing their belts. When he murders David Sloan (off screen naturally, keeping in touch with the series’ roots) his good buddy Matt (Mark Dacascos) goes out for revenge. Negaal sends another kickboxer (Geoff Mead) to kill Matt but since he has a grudge against our villain as well, they decide to team up to take Negaal down.
Kickboxer 5 had me thinking early on that it was going to be the best sequel in the series. For starters, there is a hilarious scene where Dacascos throws a henchman off a tall building and he lands on top of a limo that his gay lover happens to be in. Ryan quickly orders the driver to take off while the body is still on top of the car. As the car is flying down the highway, the guy realizes his lover is on top of the roof and he rolls the window down, grabs the dead guy’s wrist, and frantically checks his pulse.
Another scene that had me in stitches was when Dacascos arrived at the South African airport and fought a couple of guys in the luggage bay, Die Hard 2 style. Then they chase him onto the conveyor belt where he promptly kicks their asses. The scene closes on a great note as the unconscious bodies of the bad guys revolve around the luggage carousel lying on top of the passengers’ bags.
It was here where the film stopped being goofy and fun and started being your typical by-the-numbers kickboxing movie. I have nothing against by-the-numbers kickboxing movies as long as the people involved can do the math. Unfortunately, director Kristine (Critters 3) Peterson needs to work on her arithmetic. The fights scenes are all choreographed competently yet they lack the oomph of the previous entries. Peterson also allows the flick to get bogged down during the pointless montages of Dacascos sightseeing in
Dacascos does what he can with the material, which admittedly isn’t much. He does have just enough charisma to make you sorta root for him though. Ryan’s character is far too cartoony to be a legitimate threat and the idea of stealing championship belts is kinda hokey.
Overall, Kickboxer 5 is better than Part 3 but not quite up to snuff with the Albert Pyun directed sequels. That is to say that it should probably be avoided unless you really dig kickboxing sequels that hardly have anything to do with the original film in the franchise. Be glad someone wisely pulled the plug on this series when they did.