It only took Jean-Claude Van Damme 27 years to revisit the role that made him famous. Kickboxer: Vengeance sees Van Damme reprising the role of Kurt Sloane, the martial arts master who avenged the death of his brother in the original movie against the evil Muay Thai fighter, Tong Po. The 1989 original is the best possible kind of ‘80s action movie, which follows three simple action movie rules we just made up:
- Headlined by a ridiculous action star
- An impossibly simple but outlandish premise
- Not entirely self-aware
Kickboxer, like a lot of these meathead-driven action movies, was followed by a string of terrible sequels that were tangentially related to the first one. It effectively made them anything but a worthy follow-up. While Kickboxer: Vengeance isn’t the best sequel by a long stretch, it still recaptures some of the so-bad-it’s-good spirit of the first movie simply because JCVD kicks his way back into the plot. It made us think: What other particularly outrageous action films from the 1980s and 1990s deserve sequels for which their lead stars return after a long absence?
Sudden Death 2
JCVD as a Canadian firefighter who stumbles upon a terrorist plot and must try to save the Vice President during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals? Where can we get some more of that? Unfortunately, nowhere yet because Sudden Death was a big bomb in the U.S. and so we haven’t gotten a sequel. Good news for hockey fans who also happen to love the Muscles from Brussels, the movie was a huge hit at the international box office. Given JCVD’s recent propensity for self-satire, maybe he’ll hit the ice again and try to save some big important diplomat at another important pro sports championship in the sequel.
Air Force Two
Harrison Ford is all about revisiting his earlier work these days, and there’s a lot to choose from. We pitched Air Force Two in the past to anyone who would listen, and we’re not changing our minds about that. We want Ford to scream “Get off my plane” at someone else real soon. By our logic, we figured the sequel could be about the newly elected Vice President who just happens to be the daughter of Ford’s former President James Marshall. Some bad dudes take her hostage on Air Force Two, Ford has to kill the terrorists with her, and this stuff just writes itself.
Apparently a sequel to this frosty Stallone hit from 1993 was set to happen that was supposed to feature the actor reprising his role as mountain climber Gabe Walker. Instead of stopping an illegal treasury heist in the Rocky Mountains, Walker would’ve stopped terrorists from blowing up a dam. Maybe “Damhanger” doesn’t have the same ring to it? Who cares, make Damhanger right now. We need a scene of a septuagenarian Stallone clinging for dear life to the side of a dam with a bomb about to go off!
A sequel to Commando is problematic for a few reasons. Considering how Arnold Schwarzenegger single handedly dismantled the fictional South American country of Val Verde, it seems it would be a bit insensitive to bring it back. Also, Commando is the ur-action movie that a lot of action movies that followed have either stolen from wholesale or spoofed too well to rehash its exaggerated machismo. But maybe it needs to come back precisely because of that.
The only way to overturn a spoof is to do a straight up better version of it to free the movie from ridicule. Like Stallone, Schwarzenegger is getting up there in age, but he isn’t stopping. For better or worse, he returned as the T-800 in the laughably bad and spellcheck nightmare Terminator Genesis, and there’s no reason he wouldn’t be able to return as one man army, former Delta Force Colonel John Matrix. Just have him team up with his daughter Jenny (played by Alyssa Milano in the original), who could be a current Delta Force Colonel for some more over the top action carnage.
Demolition Man 2
Stallone again, but this is the only right answer. Demolition Man remains one of those singularly weird 1990s action movies that’s perfect to keep on going. In the original, Stallone played Sergeant John Spartan, a police officer brought out of cryogenic prison in the non-violent utopian society of 2032 to combat his mortal enemy, the serial killer Simon Phoenix (played by a bleached-blonde Wesley Snipes). In the future, the only restaurant still open is Taco Bell, and Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara merge into a single super city called San Angeles. Yep, it’s weird, and it’s worth continuing just to see how a lunkhead like Spartan has navigated the future. Plus, we still need to find out how to do the three seashells thing.