Robert James “B.J.” Quinn (John Barrett) is the current middleweight kickboxing champion of the world and he just got past one of his toughest challengers, Chad Hunter (Keith Vitali), narrowly knocking him out with a spinning back fist and doctor stoppage.
But the real battle is after the fight, as B.J. is angered by another fighter, Jacques Denard (Brad Morris), who hits on his girl Carol (Terry Norton right in front of him. They start brawling and when a partygoer named Ken (Gavin Hood) gets in the middle, he gets accidentally dead. Chad tries to stand up for B.J. in court, but Denard’s testimony puts him in jail.
A year later, Denard has his belt and is a cocky showoff who enjoys hurting his opponents. B.J. can never kickbox again — he’s been barred after his convincton — and Chad asks him to train him for a match against the new champ. B.J. has some demons and basically his training is just him beating up the man who spoke up for him in his trial. After their match — which puts Chad in the hospital — B.J. finds Quinn in a bar and beats him so badly that Carol leaves him.
Chad gives B.J. another chance, letting him teach at his school, and Carol comes around. Yet Denard wants revenge and challenges B.J. to a $100,000 unsanctioned karate fight. Chad trains him now and even Denard’s cornerman Howard (Roger Yuan) comes over to their side.
Shot in South Africa, American Kickboxer has one true sequel, To the Death, and another in name only, American Kickboxer 2. Directed by Frans Nel and written by Emil Kolbe and Pittsburgh’s John Barrett (he did stunts for everything from The Octagon, Silent Rage, Forced Vengeance and Steel Dawn to being the stunt coordinator on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this is fun redemption story for those that love people being kicked in the face.