1989’s Kickboxer was just another stepping stone on a young Jean-Claude Van Damme’s path to stardom. The movie was little more than a remake of Bloodsport, this time transported to the world of Thai kickboxing, but the film was successful enough to spawn a number of sequels, and an upcoming reboot in 2015 by John Stockwell (In the Blood).
The first sequel saw Cyborg director Albert Pyun team up with actor Sasha Mitchell for Kickboxer 2: The Road Back. This film actually received a limited theatrical release in 1991. Mitchell, who would later achieve fame as a co-star on the 90’s TV sitcom Step by Step, was supposedly playing the brother of Van Damme’s character from the original.
The formula must have worked as Sasha Mitchell stuck around for two direct-to-video sequels, Kickboxer 3: The Art of War and Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor, before domestic problems temporarily derailed his career.
Now, looks like Pyun is bringing Mitchell back for a new Kickboxer project (not to be confused with Kickboxer: Vengeance with Alain Moussi). Here’s the scoop from Pyun himself (via Facebook): I was committed to making the Algiers screenplay in January/February. Our foreign distributor took the project out at the American Film Market, which is going on right now, until tomorrow. Well, a couple of shifts in the project. Turns out they would really prefer a Kickboxing film starring Sasha more than an Algiers. So quickly, Algiers became The Kickboxer and that shoots for 6 weeks in January and February… The plan is too shoot 3 weeks in LA and 3 weeks in Nevada.” Click here to see the promotional artwork for Pyun’s upcoming The Kickboxer, which also stars Michael Tushaus, Kevin Sorbo, Norbert Weisser and Scott Paulin.
Updates: Pyun announced that Dennis Chan (Kickboxer 1-3) is reprising his role as mentor, Xian Chow. Also, Michel Qissi (Kickboxer 1-2, Bloodsport), who played the original Tong Po in the series, will be appearing as a different character named Said Ali. In addition – and this should be taken with a grain of salt – there is also some talk about Mark Dacascos (Drive) and Michael Dudikoff (Americna Ninja) joining…
From the words of Pyun himself regarding the newly titled Kickboxer: City of Blood: “Its the biggest action movie I’ve ever attempted. Bigger than Nemesis or Cyborg.” In addition, Mike Leeder (Pound of Flesh) is now co-producing an will be handling casting in Guangzhou, China, where the film starts shooting on February 26th 2015.
According to Albert Pyun’s Facebook (via FCS), producer Mike Leeder has connected the director with Indonesian actress Julie Estelle (Macabre), who’s mostly known for playing Hammer Girl in The Raid 2. She’ll be appearing in Kickboxer: City of Blood as Tun, a secret police agent.
BREAKING NEWS: Because of Pyun’s declining health, as well as casting complications, the shoot date for City of Blood has been pushed back until the fall. Originally, the film had a planned production date on February 26th 2015. Additionally, Pyun is also developing a project called Cyborg Knights, a cyberpunk-style film – co-written by his wife Cynthia – that’s heavily influenced by the filmmaker’s health and brain disorder (via Pyun’s Facebook).