''Kickboxer'' is a 1989 martial arts film starring Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme. It focuses on two brothers, Kurt and Eric Sloane, who go to UsefulNotes/{{Bangkok}} to challenge Tong Po, UsefulNotes/{{Thailand}}'s undefeated kickboxing champion. After a brutal first round, Kurt realizes that the two are out of their league against this guy, and tries to convince his brother to stop the fight, but Eric is unwilling to give up and goes for a second round against him. Tong Po proceeds to hand Eric the worst beating of his life, culminating in paralyzing him from the waist down despite Kurt throwing in the towel in a bid to stop the fight. Kurt is mad as hell and vows to avenge his brother by defeating Tong Po.

Winston, Kurt's friend, is at first reluctant to help Kurt in his quest for revenge, but eventually tells him about a guy by the name of Xian Chow, a locally famous ''muay thai'' trainer, who might be able to train him in the martial art. Xian Chow puts Kurt through a [[TrainingFromHell hellish training sequence]] that hones his skills as a kickboxer. Along the way, he also meets Mylee, Xian's pretty niece who soon becomes his LoveInterest, and makes an enemy of Freddy Li, a local Thai mobster whose men are continually threatening and stealing money from her. After Kurt proceeds to take down Freddy's men in a barroom brawl, Xian is able to arrange a match with Tong Po on Kurt's behalf, a match where both fighters will fight in the "ancient way" -- both fighters wrap their hands in hemp rope, which is then coated in resin and dipped in broken glass to make them deadly weapons.

In the days leading up to the big fight, things go straight to hell for the people that Kurt loves. Mylee is viciously brutalized by Tong Po, and Eric is kidnapped by Freddy Li with the intent of blackmailing Kurt into ThrowingTheFight. To save his brother's life, Kurt is instructed to go the distance with Po before losing the match. Kurt endures a torturous beating at Tong Po's hands, but Xian and Winston are able to find and rescue Eric before the fight can conclude. With Eric out of danger, Kurt is free to exact vengeance for Eric and Mylee and take down Tong Po once and for all.

!!This film provides examples of:
* ArrogantKungFuGuy: Eric at the beginning of the movie, Tong Po throughout.
* BarBrawl: Chow initiates one to test Kurt's progress.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Averted; the only black dude, Winston, doesn't even get hurt.
* CasualtyInTheRing: Eric
* CurbStompBattle: Eric didn't stand a chance against Tong Po.
* EccentricMentor: Xian Chow is a recluse and kind of odd.
* FakeNationality: Moroccan-Belgian actor Michel Qissi as the Thai kickboxer Tong Po.
* FightScene: About as plentiful as the [[TrainingMontage training]] scenes.
* HandicappedBadass: Eric
* InternationalShowdownByProxy: Eric's fight against Tong Po in the beginning of the movie.
* {{Jerkass}}: Eric is one of these before he winds up paralyzed.
** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: His bond with Kurt helps remind the viewers that he has some likable moments.
* KickTheDog: Tong Po commits two of these during the movie: paralyzing Eric from the waist down despite Kurt throwing in the towel, and beating and raping Mylee.
** Later, some minions attack Eric, throw him from his wheelchair, and then they literally stab Xian's dog.
* MightyWhitey: Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme goes to Thailand and winds up learning muay thai well enough to beat the national champion.
* PostRapeTaunt: Tong Po taunts Kurt during the big fight about how Mylee was a "good fuck."
* RapeAsDrama: Poor Mylee.
* ThrowingTheFight: Freddy tries to make Kurt do this by kidnapping his brother. Only after Eric is rescued can Kurt finally take down Tong Po.
* TookALevelInBadass: It's required to beat Tong Po.
* TrainingFromHell: What Kurt goes through when preparing to fight Tong Po
* TrainingMontage: It goes without saying.
* WhiteMaleLead: In a majority Asian cast, JCVD is the main guy.
* WorthyOpponent: Averted at first but played straight to some extent. Tong Po shows no respect to Eric Sloane during their match and tears apart his belt after crippling him. However in the fight against Kurt later on he does show a sliver of respect towards Kurt's skill when Kurt does land a few blows on him despite taking a horrendous beatdown.
* YourMom: During his training, Xian at one point goads an entire bar into attacking Kurt. After he kicks all their asses, Kurt asks what he told them.
-->'''Xian:''' I tell them you say they no good fighters, and that their mother have sex with mules!