Sasha Mitchell returns once again to play David Sloan, however, he doesn't seem quite the same. I guess you could say that being framed and spending some hard time in jail has changed him but he really doesn't feel like the same guy. Any humour that he had in his personality from any of the previous films is completely gone. It almost feels like he's trying to do his best Terminator impression whenever he is wearing his sunglasses (which is quite often in the first half of this movie) as he shows very little emotion.
Tong Po, the bad guy from the first two films, returns to the franchise after being absent in Kickboxer 3. In one way his return is a good thing because he was a huge part of the first two films and why people enjoy them, but it's also a bad thing because he is played by a completely different actor this time around and, much like David Sloan, he also doesn't feel like the same guy. I know that the original actor, Michel Qissi, isn't Asian and used make-up to look like a Thai fighter but in this instance the makeup is worse, shots from afar look okay but the close-up shots (especially in HD) makes it look like he is wearing a mask. But the worst thing about him is how poorly he fights against David Sloan in this movie. His technique isn't the same, he can't take hits and he gets his ass handed to him from start to finish. And not only that, he scuttles away at the end like a scared little schoolgirl.
There are also a few other things that are quite silly. For instance, the whooshing noises whenever someone throws a practice kick or when the woman kicks a guy in the balls and it sounds like someone slamming a door. These are just laughably too loud. We also get treated to David Sloan in one scene, wearing a mask, doing flips like some sort of ninja, which he has never known to be.
Albert Pyun has mentioned that they had camera issues when filming. Apparently there was a broken plug on the camera which led to some light-stricken damage to scenes that they had shot. You can kind of notice this in some of the scenes that that are in the film which he claims that they were able to salvage while some other scenes had to be scrapped. Pyun acknowledges that this was not a very good movie but says that the movie had made millions of dollars even before they had finished it. So I guess unless you're a rich man, you can't turn your back to that.
So is there anything good about this movie? The inclusion of a fighting tournament steers the franchise back towards being a martial arts movie and the fight scenes in this movie are actually decent for a low-budget flick from the 90's. There is also a lengthy and slightly comical bar fight earlier in the movie which was a bit of fun. There's also some titties in the movie for those who really need to know.
With Kickboxer 2 being my all-time favourite non-horror movie, my rating for this movie is probably a bit higher than what most people would give it but only because of how invested I am in the characters of David Sloan and Tong Po. Even though these characters have a hit a low point, I still find some enjoyment in seeing them on the screen. If you are not a fan of any of the previous Kickboxer movies, there's nothing for you here.