- Catharsis Factor: The final fight scene in the 1989 film is this trope for the audience and arguably Kurt too. After hearing the cheering crowd and witnessing his brother safe, Kurt gets a Heroic Second Wind and delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Tong Po.
- Complete Monster: Frank Lane, from The Art of War, is a corrupt murderer in Brazil who secretly runs a sex slaving ring that enslaves women and children, all to put money in his pocket. Lane opens the film executing a runaway in front of the other slaves as a "lesson", and when he becomes obsessed with a young woman named Isabella, he kidnaps her to make her into his own slave. When hero David Sloane is on to him, he uses Isabella's life to force Sloane into a grueling training regimen so he loses a kickboxing match so Lane can profit. Even at the end, Lane shows no remorse, bragging he gave women a chance to be "part of something" in his dirty business.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Regarding the entire series, the main protagonists tend to suffer Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, and the main antagonist, Tong Po, tends to make Villain Sue-style comebacks despite his brutal defeats. This more or less seems to make the series one big Shoot the Shaggy Dog story. Also, makes Tong Po come out as a Karma Houdini since he never really faced any serious consequences for his previous actions. The remake averts this by having Kurt actually kill Tong Po in self defense at the end.
- Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of the first film tend to ignore all of the numbered sequels made after it. Vengeance and Retaliation are the exceptions as they're are a reboot of the original series.
- Memetic Mutation: "You bleed like Mylee. Mylee...GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD FUCK!"
- Moral Event Horizon: No matter how badass one thinks of Tong Po, the scene where he beats and rapes Mylee is his way of reminding the viewers how much of a bastard he is and why one should root for Kurt to win.
- Narm: Tong Po's Post-Rape Taunt is meant to be a Kick the Dog moment, but the hilarious delivery of the line and Van Damme's Big "NO!" after hearing it made it hard for many viewers to take it seriously.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Kurt seems way angrier at Mylee for not telling him she got raped than he is at Tong Po for, you know, raping her.
- The Woobie: Mylee's quite possibly the most tragic character in this franchise.
YMMV / Kickboxer