After much anticipation and handwringing from the original Kickboxer faithful, the first teaser trailer for the new remake, Kickboxer Vengeance, has finally dropped.
Clocking in at just 22 seconds, it barely even has enough to time actually tease the viewing audience. Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre star, former pro-wrestler, and fleeting MMA fighter Dave Bautista appears suitably intimidating in his brief appearance on screen as the murderous Muay Thai fighter Tong Po. Former UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre looks pensive and shuts a door without the assistance of a shirt. Haywire star and retired (?) WMMA fighter Gina Carano makes the same face she probably makes every time someone announces that she's on the verge of signing with the UFC. Canadian actor and stuntman Alain Moussi, who takes on JCVD's original part as Kurt Sloane, walks with purpose and muscles. Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is now in the role of mentor Master Durand, wears a fedora and delivers the trailer's only moment of action.
Perhaps more intriguing, though, are the three even shorter clips of behind the scenes footage that the film's team uploaded on Kickboxer Vengeance's official YouTube page just before the debut of the trailer.
In the first one, we see a little more of the showdown between Duran (JCVD) and Sloane (Moussi) teased at the end of the trailer.
In the second, Kavi (GSP) and Sloane engage in some well-choreographed sword fighting.
And in the third and final peek, we get to watch JCVD murder a coconut.
Based on the 1989 genre classic Kickboxer, Kickboxer Vengeance is the story of Kurt Sloane, a man who dedicates himself to the Art of Eight Limbs in an effort to avenge his brother's death at the hands of the evil Muay Thai champ Tong Po. And while the cynicism that has surrounded the project since it was first announced last year is understandable, given both the debatable necessity of a remake of this particular film and the general remake-mania that Hollywood continues to embrace with no sense of measure or rationality, signs continue to point toward Vengeance not entirely sucking.
The pedigree of the cast, which also includes former GLORY kickboxer Joe Schilling, Canadian kickboxing star "Bazooka Joe" Valtellini, and UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley, is impressive. In addition to their illustrious combat CVs, most of the stars appear to have either a deep appreciation for the source material, or, in the case of Van Damme, a direct connection to it. And although we've only seen a collective 44 seconds of footage from the Vengeance camp so far, what we have seen looks tentatively promising.
While the rest of the fight and fight film-loving world struggles with whether or not to get their hopes up about this remake, though, there's one group of people who are totally gung-ho about the whole thing: the film's producers. In fact, Headmon Entertainment and Acme Rocket Fuel are so confident in their product that they've already announced that they have the funding in place for a sequel called Kickboxer 2: Retaliation.
Kickboxer Vengeance will open in theaters in 2016. The exact release date has not yet been announced. Further details on Kickboxer 2: Retaliation are pending.