Once upon a time, Mike Tyson was the scariest man on the planet. He’s since undergone a bit of a rebrand, largely thanks to his appearance in The Hangover. Now, we see him as kind of a gentle giant. But Tyson was, and still is, one of the fiercest combat athletes in history. And now, he’s lending his insights and experience to a younger fighter to help him prepare for a movie role.
Tyson is reportedly training Roy Nelson, a 6-foot, 258-pound heavyweight UFC fighter. Nelson, who was a professional rugby player before he was an MMA combatant, is prepping for a role in the upcoming movie Kickboxer: Retaliation. The original Kickboxer is remembered as a camp classic, beloved in much the same way as Road House still manages to capture our hearts. The long-overdue sequel will once again star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Also to be featured are Christopher Lambert and Mike Tyson himself.
Tyson posted a photo yesterday that shows Tyson holding a punching bag while Nelson annihilates it with a brutal-looking punch. Nelson is now sporting a long beard and even longer hair, giving him a feral, Mick Foley-esque look that makes him even more intimidating.
Kickboxer: Retaliation will be a star-studded movie. In addition to the names listed above, we can also expect appearances from Georges St-Pierre, Brian Shaw (the world’s strongest man) and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the actor who plays The Mountain on Game of Thrones.
It’s hard not to be a little bit giddy just reading the list of cast members. Retaliation is actually a sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance, a series reboot that was released last year. Vengeance starred Van Damme and Dave Bautista, and was panned pretty hard by both critics and audience. It boasts a middling 43% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Hopefully, Retaliation delivers the goods that we’ve all been waiting for since 1989.
Van Damme rarely pulls down accolades from critics, so the reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s hard to imagine that, given the insane cast and pure nostalgia value of the franchise, it won’t be a fun movie to watch. Van Damme hasn’t even slowed down that much from his physical heyday back in the eighties and nineties – dude is still spin-kicking with grace.
It will also be great to see Tyson back in action. It’s been a while since Hollywood’s let him have fangs. Hopefully they’re bared and bloody.