It’s probably safe to say that there was a little bit of a dry spell when it came to news for the upcoming “Kickboxer: Vengeance”. A reboot of the 1989 cult classic, its roster includes MMA legends Georges St. Pierre and Gina Carano, Alain Moussi of “Street Fighter: Resurrection“, Dave Bautista (former WWE wrestler, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and original “Kickboxer” star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Fortunately, the wait for more info has finally come to an end with the news that RLJ Entertainment will act as the film’s official distributor, with a release in theaters and Video on Demand platforms planned for later this year.
With a sequel, “Kickboxer: Retaliation” already in the works and set to get rolling this spring, “Vengeance” will also notably mark one of the final appearances by the late Darren Shahlavi, who tragically passed away in January 2015. Darren will also make a posthumous appearance this year in the upcoming “Zambo Dende” alongside Marko Zaror, and both projects coincidentally retained the services of fight choreographer extraordinaire Larnell Stovall.
Stay tuned for more info on “Kickboxer: Vengeance” as it arrives. In the meantime, you can check out the official press release from RLJ Entertainment outlining the details of the film’s release below!
LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2016 – RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) has acquired all U.S. rights to the highly anticipated KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE. Co-Written by Dimitri Logothetis (Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers) and Jim McGrath and directed by John Stockwell (In the Blood, Blue Crush), the film features the return of Jean-Claude Van Damme to the franchise (Bloodsport, Kickboxer) and a bevy of professional athletes including newcomer Alain Moussi (X-Men: Days of Future Past) Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Gina Carano (In the Blood), Georges St-Pierre (Captain America), and Cain Velasquez (Term Life). The film was produced by Logothetis along with Nicholas Celozzi (The Lost Angel), Ted Field (The Last Samurai, Jumanji), Allen Knudson, Samuel Cory Timpson and Rob Hickman (who also orchestrated the majority of the financing on the film).
RLJE plans to release KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE in theaters and On Demand later this year. Mark Ward, RLJ Entertainment’s Chief Acquisitions Officer, made the announcement today.
“Fans of Jean Claude Van Damme have been waiting for a long time for this reboot of the Kickboxer franchise,” said Ward. “The film delivers more action and an amazing ensemble of fighters from Dave Bautista to Georges St-Pierre to Cain Velasquez and Gina Carano. Fans will not be disappointed.”
“There is a spectacular beauty in martial arts’ films that audiences have been deprived of for a significant period of time. Making KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE has been a priority and passion of mine for several years and I’m thrilled to be able to partner with RLJ Entertainment to bring this genre back to theatres,” said producer and writer Logothetis.
An update to the 1989 classic film KICKBOXER, KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE follows the story of Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi), who travels to Thailand to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of Tong Po (Dave Bautista). Kurt trains with the legendary Master Durand (Jean-Claude Van Damme) until he is ready to take on Tong Po in a brutal fight to the death.
Jess De Leo, Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for RLJ Entertainment along with Ward negotiated the deal with Logothetis, Field, Brian O-Shea, and Mike Weber on behalf of the film.
RLJ Entertainment previously released its theatrical titles under the Image Entertainment brand, which RLJE purchased in 2012. Recent RLJ Entertainment releases include The Rewrite with Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei, written and directed by Marc Lawrence; The Cobbler with Adam Sandler, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Ellen Barkin, Melonie Diaz, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, and Dascha Polanco, written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Tom McCarthy; Blackbird starring Academy Award® winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington and Julian Walker, directed by Patrik-Ian Polk; and the critically acclaimed Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins, written and directed by S. Craig Zahler.