I am well aware that the original Kickboxer movie is widely considered the best and many would say it is the only good movie in the series. However, I personally enjoy Kickboxer 2 more than the original movie and I would like to share some things that I believe this sequel does better than the original.
1. Our hero in Kickboxer 2 is vulnerable. Van Damme was in incredible shape, he had muscles where no one knew muscles could grow. His physique was ridiculous and appears on-screen to be a highly skilled fighter. This is great in fantasy land, but he did not look like an underdog in his final fight. Not one bit. This is why I prefer David's character. He's in good shape compared to most people, but still looks like a regular guy.
He can fight, but he's clearly not as skilled as his brothers from the original movie. Add the severe leg injury that he suffers throughout the movie into the mix and you've got many reasons as to why he should not only be an underdog in his fight against Tong Po, but it's concievable to believe that he could suffer the same demise as his friend Brian, who was killed in the ring by Tong Po earlier that same night.
2. Tong Po is more intimidating. In the original movie, Tong Po sure was scary. The most scariest scene is the very first scene, where he is kicking the pillar before his fight with Eric Sloane. However, as the movie goes on, his intimidation factor lessens toward the final fight. Sure, we see him begin to rape someone, but I'm mainly focusing on him in the ring. For the fight against Kurt, they are so scared of losing that they have to kidnap his brother and force him to lose the match. This weakens the character for me. I don't want to see the most bad-ass kickboxer on the planet stooping to blackmail to win a fight. In Kickboxer 2, Tong Po appears undefeatable. He gets punched in the face with combination attacks, even with the broken glass, yet his reaction is similar to what punching the Terminator would be like. It just doesn't seem to phase him at all. Tong Po also seems to be a little bigger in this movie, or maybe it's just that he's not fighting someone like Van Damme, who has muscles bulging out of his eyeballs. Either way, the fact that he looks bigger, gives him that insurmountable touch.
3. Lots and lots of blood. David's fight against Tong Po uses the ancient method of fighting with broken glass on their hands, same as the original. However, in Kickboxer 2 they visually make you more aware of this fact by actually adding plenty of blood throughout the fight. When you're fighting with broken glass on your hands, and you're punching the shit out of each other, you're bound to get cut a lot, right? In the original movie, while there is some blood, I felt that there wasn't enough.
4. There is more heart in this movie. With David being a more everyday guy than Kurt Sloane, I find it easier to empathise with the struggles he has throughout the movie. From mental and physical ailments, and overcoming the odds at the end of the movie giving you that "Anything is possible!" feel as the credits begin rolling. Whereas it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Kurt was going to win his fight as soon as his brother was recovered. Also, while the fight scenes may not be as aesthetically pleasing to watch (i.e. no one doing the splits in the air when kicking someone), this helps add a touch of realism to the film. I watched both Kickboxer and Kickboxer 2 at the same time when I was about 7-8 years old and I felt like Kickboxer 2 was more "real", which helped make Tong Po scarier and have me fear for David's life in the movie.
5. Issues still curent today are touched on in this movie. Two of these issues being steroid abuse in sports and battling depression. Both of these issues have only become more prevalent in today's world since this film was made and allows it to still be relevant while the original movie, depsite only being made about 2 years prior, is left looking rather dated.