Michel Qissi Biography
Qissi was born on 12 September 1962 in Oujda, Morocco and moved to Brussels, Belgium at the age of 2. He began training in boxing at seven years old, and became an amateur champion in his weight class at 17. He also went on to study Shōtōkan Karate, Muay Thai and Kickboxing. He befriended Jean-Claude Van Damme at an early age and they grew up together with the same love for action films and training in martial arts.
In 1982, Qissi and Van Damme moved to the United States in the hope of becoming action stars. In 1984 they both were cast as extras in the film Breakin’, before landing their big break in 1986. After obtaining an interview with Menahem Golan of Cannon Films, they secured a three-picture deal, the first of which was the highly successful Bloodsport, in which Van Damme starred and Qissi had a small role as a tournament fighter named Suan Paredes.
In 1989, Qissi and Van Damme teamed up again for the film Kickboxer, in which Van Damme was the protagonist once more and Qissi the film’s main villain, Tong Po. 1990 saw the pair make the film Lionheart, in which Qissi’s brother, Abdel, played the villain. This was to be the last film Van Damme and Qissi made together, but Qissi did go on to reprise his role as Tong Po in Kickboxer 2. In 2014, Qissi made the movie Bara, in which he played a double role as Bara and Hamza.
Michel Qissi Movies
|1984||Breakin’||Passerby in First Dance Sequence||Uncredited|
|1989||Kickboxer||Tong Po||Credited as Tong Po|
|1991||Kickboxer 2||Tong Po|
|1993||To the Death||Denard|
|Terminator Woman||Alex Gatelee||Also director|
|2001||Extreme Force||Kong Li||Also director|
|2001||The Falkland Man||DeFuego|
|2014||Bara||Bara / Hamza||Also director|
|2015||Heart of a Lion||Also director|
|2015||Out for Vengeance||Tarek El-Yuzdi|
|2016||Kickboxer: Vengeance||Man In Cell||Uncredited|
Michel Qissi Tong Po
Kurt Sloane (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is the cornerman for his brother Eric Sloane (Dennis Alexio), the United States kickboxing world champion. After another successful title defense, Eric is enticed by the media to compete in Thailand, where kickboxing was started, to further establish his legacy.
Eric and Kurt travel to Bangkok where they are matched against Tong Po (Michel Qissi), Thailand’s undefeated top fighter. Eric is supremely confident but Kurt is apprehensive, particularly after witnessing Tong Po kicking a concrete pillar in preparation for the fight. Kurt begs his brother not to go forward with the fight, but Eric dismisses any concerns.
The first round is a one-sided affair in which Po dominates Eric with his superior strength. In between rounds, Kurt once again begs Eric to forfeit the fight, but Eric refuses to give up and continues to be beaten badly in the second round. Kurt throws in the towel, but Tong Po kicks the towel out of the ring and continues his assault.
He viciously strikes Eric in the back with his elbow, immobilizing him, then rips apart Eric’s world championship belt. Kurt retrieves the belt and leaves with his brother on a stretcher, but the fight officials simply leave them on the street and lock them out of the arena.
Winston Taylor (Haskell V. Anderson III), a retired US Army special forces member agrees to help the pair and drives them to the hospital. As a result of Tong Po’s brutal assault, Kurt is told that Eric is paralyzed from the waist down and will never be able to walk, let alone fight, again.
Enraged, Kurt vows to avenge his brother. Taylor tells him about Xian Chow, a famous local trainer living in a remote area of Thailand. Although reluctant at first, Xian agrees to train Kurt in the art of Muay Thai (“Thai boxing”).
Xian trains Kurt using many primitive methods, focusing on speed, agility, and the ability to protect himself through balance and timely breathing. While training, Kurt attempts to foil the operations of a group of Thai mobsters led by Freddy Li, who continuously steal money from the store of Xian’s niece, Mylee and threaten her.
After Kurt makes short work of the thugs in a bar fight with Freddy Li looking on, Xian is able to convince Freddy Li to arrange a match between Kurt and Tong Po. It is determined that they will fight in the “ancient way”, in which both fighters wrap their hands in hemp rope, which is then coated in resin and dipped in broken glass to make them deadly weapons.
Freddy Li arranges to have the fight fixed, and borrows $1 million from the crime syndicate’s boss to bet on Tong Po. In the days leading up to the match, Mylee is beaten and raped by Tong Po, while Eric is kidnapped so Freddy Li can blackmail Kurt into losing the fight.
To save his brother’s life, Kurt is instructed by Freddy Li to go the distance with Tong Po before losing the match. He endures a torturous beating, but Xian and Taylor locate and rescue Eric before the fight concludes. Just before the final round, Eric whistles from the crowd & gives Kurt the thumbs-up while leading the crowd to chant “Nuk Soo Kow” (white warrior). With his brother out of danger, Kurt defeats Tong Po in vicious fashion, avenging his brother as Kurt and his friends celebrate his victory.
Michel Qissi Wife
He married Jeanette Qissi but later divorced.