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The upcoming Kickboxer remake already has a cast completely stacked with professional ass-kickers, but one could argue that the movie would have been incomplete without the presence of Jean-Claude Van Damme, the star of the original. The good news is that the project has just fixed that shortcoming.
With production having just begun this week, the Kickboxer remake has announced that Jean-Claude Van Damme has officially signed on for a role - though it comes at a cost. In the movie, the famed Belgian martial artist will be taking on the role of Master Chow, replacing Tony Jaa, who signed on for the film back in August. Van Damme will be joining a cast that is strangely filled with actors who have been all over the comic book movie landscape in 2014, with Dave Bautista (Drax The Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy), Georges St. Pierre (Georges Batroc in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Alain Moussi (Josh Helman's stunt double in X-Men: Days of Future Past) all set to star in key roles.
Set to be directed by John Stockwell (Turistas, Blue Crush) and Stephen Fung, Kickboxer will star Alain Moussi as Kurt Sloan, a talented fighter who moves to Thailand on a mission of revenge. Looking for retribution following the death of his brother at the hands of a fighter named Tong Po (Dave Bautista), Sloan is taken under the wing of Master Chow (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and learns the ways of kickboxing. While it's unclear exactly why Tony Jaa dropped out of the project - perhaps to make room for JCVD? - Ted Fields of Radar Films expressed his excitement about the recent casting in an official statement, saying,
"We are so excited to have Kickboxer roll into production and to have JCVD in the role of Master Chow, passing the torch to Alain, to have him lead the franchise to a new generation. Audiences better get ready for this incredible reboot. The action is going to be non-stop with never-before seen stunts. Simply put, Kickboxer will kick-ass!"
It's interesting that this actually isn't the only project in development featuring an 80s action lead who is moving from the starring role to the mentor part. Sylvester Stallone recently revealed that he will soon be getting to work on the set of Creed, a spin-off that will see Stallone reprising his Rocky Balboa role in order to help teach the son of Apollo Creed (Michael B. Jordan) in the ways of boxing. That movie is gearing up to start filming next month, so it wouldn't be too surprising if it and Kickboxer wound up being released in similar time frames.
Kickboxer is shooting now and will be filming in both New Orleans, Louisiana as well as on-location in Thailand. No release date has been announced as of yet.