Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme is returning to to the Kickboxer franchise according to The Hollywood Reporter. Van Damme will play the mentor to Alan Mousi, best known as a stunt double in X-men Days of Future Past, who is taking on the role that helped make Van Damme a star.
The original 1989 film followed Kurt Sloane, a young fighter who enters a Muay Thai tournament to avenge his brother who was paralyzed from the waist down in the previous tournament. The film is a remake and won’t exist in the same universe as the original. Van Damme wasn’t in any of the original’s four sequels.
Van Damme is replacing Muay Thai martial artist Tony Jaa (Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior) who was rumored to have the role but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict. Tony Batista (Guardians of the Galaxy) will play Tong Po, the fighter who paralyzed Sloan’s brother.
While Van Damme has kept busy in the straight-to-video realm since he played Vilain in The Expendables 2, this will be his biggest movie since then. No specific release date has been announced but the film is currently slated to release in 2015.