Awfully Good: Kickboxing Academy

Unfortunately due to technical difficulties, this week's column featuring PSYCHO KICKBOXER is on hold until next week. But please enjoy the next best thing, this classic from the Awfully Good vault...

Kickboxing Academy (1997)

Director: Richard Gabai
Stars: Chyler Leigh, Steven Bauer, Donna Barnes

Is there a plot?

Yes! And what an original one it is: A kickboxing academy comprised of misfit fighters must compete against a rival group or else they’ll lose their dojo!!!

What's the damage?

It’s obvious KICKBOXING ACADEMY was made with young ones in mind. It’s got a sugar-sweet message about being yourself, as well as easy-to-swallow story clichés ranging from “We have to band together to save the rec center!” to “I almost killed someone with my [insert skill here] and I can’t use it anymore!” (After TEAM AMERICA, that plot device will never work again.) The fighting is violence and consequence free, not to mention realistic enough to belong on “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Honestly though, all these things are what you’d expect from a movie like this.

Hello, ladies. I’m Steven Bauer. You may remember me from such films as SCARFACE, IMPROPER CONDUCT, and RED SHOE DIARIES 2.

But thankfully, the filmmakers don’t stop there. The carefree martial art takes a back seat for the majority of KICKBOXING ACADEMY, only to be replaced by random subplots about emo-filled failed relationships, alcoholic abusive parents and drunk driving. Then they throw in a stoner skateboarder who shows up only to fart in elevators and make prank phone calls. It’s like watching a bizarre trainwreck; what starts off as a typically lame kids movie derails to the point where the bad guy literally pulls out a machine gun and opens fire when he loses in the end. I’d like to give writer/director Richard Gabai credit for doing this on purpose, but it’s sadly obvious he’s not. And who doesn’t want to show their child a flick that has it all—violence, a DUI, and Steven Bauer?

You bring shame to the band 311, kid. Please take off that shirt…

Yes, the Steven Bauer who played Manny in SCARFACE. I don’t know what he’s doing in KICKBOXING ACADEMY, but he looks visibly drunk or hungover for most of his scenes. Sadly, he’s not the worst performance in the place. The kids are all offensively bad and the MILFy Cynthia Rothrock-wannabe actress displays porno-grade acting skills, but none of the payoff.

Oh my God, put the shirt back on!! Where the hell is your right nipple!?

Then there’s the kicker (which might scar you forever): Chyler Leigh and Christopher Lee, the two romantic leads in KICKBOXING ACADEMY, are actually brother and sister in real life. Like same-mother, same-father siblings. And it’s not even an innocent, puppy love type of thing. She lusts after him for most of the movie. They make out more than once. It’s dirty, and not the good kind. Were they that hard pressed to find actors? Couldn’t they have switched roles with someone else in the movie, so that the poor 14 year old girl didn’t have to french her 19 year old brother? [shudders] The only way to get rid of the icky feeling after watching this is to tell others so that they can share the pain. Good luck.

Everybody duck! The movie’s sucking!

"Best" Line

From his highly eloquent remarks, I think this man may have injured his buttocks.

"Best" Parts

1) As you’ll see in this touching montage, even though the overweight kid endures a lot of hurtful ridicule, at least he gets his revenge in the end…

2) Sensei, this is neither the time nor the place!

3) I love how nonchalant these two are after being randomly attacked by sword-wielding ninjas in a restaurant parking lot. Sure, they sucked at fighting, but still…you were nearly murdered.

Nudity Watch

You get Chyler Leigh in a bikini, but she was only 14 at the time. Perv.

Enjoyableness Continuum:

Want to enroll? Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • The credits have a seizure
  • Incest happens or is hinted at
  • Steven Bauer looks drunk or hungover
  • The stoner guy randomly shows up
  • Someone says nards or farfegnugen
  • Prank phone calls are made

Double shot/ Finish your drink whenever:

  • Someone pukes from drinking
  • Drunk driving occurs. (It’s only fitting.)

And thanks to Cody for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic
Tags: awfully good



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