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Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Kickboxer movie is now being turned into a series.

By Matthew Creith
| Published

It seems these days that 1980s and 1990s action stars are in fashion once again, especially with the introduction of remakes like HBO Max’s Eraser: Reborn, a reboot of sorts of the 1996 original Eraser starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams. One of the biggest action stars to come out of this era was Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, known for macho hit flicks like Hard Target, video game adaptation film Street Fighter, Timecop, and Sudden Death. Now, it appears that a series is being developed based on Jean-Claude Van Damme’s best movies, Kickboxer, and the showrunner tapped to lead the series through the development process and beyond has ties to The Fast and the Furious film saga.

According to a report by Deadline, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Kickboxer franchise will be turned into a new television series entitled Operation: Kickboxer, with Gary Scott Thompson of The Fast and the Furious fame leading the show. The original Kickboxer debuted in theaters in 1989 and helped propel Van Damme into a megawatt action star for a new generation, highlighting the actor’s martial arts training background, which Van Damme helped write alongside Mark DiSalle and Glenn A. Bruce. The film spawned seven sequels, although Van Damme did not appear as his character Kurt Sloane in many of the official sequels, only costarring in three of them.

However, Operation: Kickboxer may bring renewed interest in the martial arts concept that saw Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Kurt Sloane as he learns Muay Thai, the ancient kickboxing art that helped him avenge his brother. The new series will be produced by Todd Garner of Mortal Combat fame, as well as Dimitri Logothetis. Logothetis was responsible for rebooting the franchise into a new 2016 film called Kickboxer: Vengeance, which saw Van Damme return as a different character named Master Durand, and costarred a plethora of martial arts veterans like Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, and basketball player Luis Da Silva.

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With production hopefully starting on Operation: Kickboxer sometime in 2023, it will be interesting to see if Jean-Claude Van Damme appears in the new adaptation or not. The show is confirmed to be keeping in line with the martial arts theme but incorporating espionage into the mix where viewers will discover that Kurt Sloane’s brother has been cemented into a global conspiracy and will need assistance. Sloane will go undercover as a mixed martial arts fighter taking on a champion title belt while also acquiring access to international targets throughout the course of the series.

The series may serve as a placeholder for the original Kickboxer film for those that haven’t seen it yet and may create buzz for Jean-Claude Van Damme again after a career that has seen better days. Once regarded as the “it” action star for many years throughout the 1990s, Van Damme has had a sparse resume ever since, with noted appearances in ensemble projects like The Expendables 2 and the Jack Black starring franchise, Kung Fu Panda. Leaning on more voice acting work in recent times, Van Damme lent his talents to the animated movie Minions: The Rise of Gru earlier this year as well.

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