|Kickboxer’s Tears (1992)|
|Director:||Shen Da Wei|
|Writers:||Shen Da Wei (???)|
|Starring:||Moon Lee, Ken Lo, Billy Chow and Yukari Oshima|
|The Plot: Michael Li (Ken Lo) is a kickboxer whose sister is fresh back in town. His sister, Feng Li (Moon Lee) who has never approved of his fighting ways, makes it just in time to catch one of his matches for a seedy promoter who wants him to throw his fight. This evil promoter tells Michael in no short order that if he doesn’t throw his fight, he’s going to pay big time. During the fight, all seems well until Michael’s opponent (Billy Chow) rubs down his glove with chili powder and begins to batter Michael with it. During the fight Michael is blinded and then beaten to death right in front of his sister. After the funeral Feng sticks around in order to help out her brother’s gym, but the seedy promoter hasn’t finished with the Li family. Unknown to him though, Feng Li isn’t one to be trifled with!|
While Kickboxer’s Tears doesn’t look to be one of Moon Lee’s most dangerous productions, it is infinitely entertaining as a piece of early nineties Hong Kong action. Made during the height of 90’s martial arts cinema, which saw the entire genre being upgraded to modern settings and brought upon the revitalization of Kung Fu cinema in general, this is a film that delivers in all of the right ways. Featuring dynamic fight sequences, an amazing cast and plenty of onscreen violence; Kickboxer’s Tears is a film that was guaranteed to deliver. Pairing Moon Lee with the incredible Yukari Oshima (AKA: the male gang-boss from Ricky Oh: The Story of Ricky that looked a LOT like a girl… and was a girl) together, this is a project that had a whole lot going for it. The two starred together in other titles before, but this was one that really paired the two together in a “unstoppable force meets movable object” type of dynamic. You throw Billy Chow and some unusually disturbing bits of violence in the midst of the action, and you have a potential classic!
That doesn’t mean that Kickboxer’s Tears demonstrates some hidden form of martial arts, not in the least. The choreography is very much what one expects from your average Kung Fu feature, but only this time the fighters are wearing shorts and traditional kickboxing garb. The choreography is still the same back and forth (punch, block, punch, block) set-up that you expect from choreographed Kung Fu, but its certainly of the more exciting and fast-paced variety. When the girls take to fighting, in particular, the choreography seems all the more brutal. Moon Lee is the standout from the performers and she truly holds the weight of the film on her back. In terms of her athletic and acting performance, she is the solid rock foundation that the film rests upon and she makes this the exciting piece of action cinema that it truly is.
Part of what makes the movie as memorable as it was for me is the utterly terrible English dub that I watched the movie with. Terrible in all of the ways that make a bad movie “great”, Kickboxer’s Tears packs a considerable amount of really fun dialog. “Stay close to him, and then jab, punch!” may be my favorite line throughout the movie. In the context of the scene, which is during the first kickboxing sequence (which is awfully long, by the way), there are so many things wrong with the line. For one, the two fighters are keeping within range throughout the course of the fight and never step out into jabbing distance. There are no pecking shots thrown from the shoulder, because jabbing doesn’t exactly translate to an “exciting” fight. Just look at Floyd Mayweather Jr. (oh, I went there). Second of all, a jab IS A PUNCH! I’m sure the dialogue was meant to be “jab, hook”, “jab, uppercut” or maybe “jab, straight” but I guess the filmmakers weren’t very knowledgeable about martial arts or the fight game in general.