Jean-Claude Van Damme Weekend – The Shepherd (2008) Movie Review

Director: Isaac Florentine

Writer: Joe Gayton, Cade Courtley (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Stephen Lord, Natalie J Robb, Gary McDonald, Daniel Perrone, Scott Adkins, Andree Bernard

Plot: A former New Orleans cop battles drug cartels and ex-Army Special Forces who are smuggling drugs from Mexico into U.S. through a Texas border town.

Tagline – Welcome To Mexico

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Van Damme 101

Story: The Shepherd starts when a former New Orleans cop Jack Robideaux (Van Damme) gets a new job as a border control officer under Captain Ramona Garcia (Robb), he gets told to keep his head down, which lasts a couple of hours, given a new partner in Billy Pawnell (McDonald), Jack does get a big bust early on in his career.

With Jack around it only ends up crossing criminal smuggler Benjamin Meyer (Lord) who wants to make this battle personal, trying to put his own business back in, can Jack figure out who to trust within the force.

Thoughts on The Shepherd

Characters – Jack Robideaux has left New Orleans to starts a new job on border control, he wants to keep his head down, but struggles with this, he starts tackling the problems in New Mexico, which sees himself getting targeted, even though he has his own reasons for being part of the patrol. Benjamin Meyer is the man smuggling across the border, an ex-military man who knows how to recruit the strong people around him, he is confident he can either buy or kill his way out of any situation. Captain Ramona Garcia runs the border patrol team, she welcomes are warns Jack about the area, she doesn’t want any attention on her team, which sees her challenging Jack from his first few days. Billy Pawnell is the agent that becomes Jack’s partner, trying to keep his head down after he gets in trouble early on, considered one of the best on the force, a perfect guide for a new member of the team.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is just an action star that does everything right for an action film, with his fighting skills taking him to centre stage. Sadly, the rest of the cast just don’t get enough time to make a big impact on the story, its not that they are bad, they just don’t have much to do.

StoryThe story here follows a newly appointed border patrol officer that gets into a battle with ruthless smugglers that have been controlling the borders for years. When it comes to the action in a Van Damme movie, we know the story isn’t going to be that deep, while we know there is going to be something behind the motivation for the career change, which there is. The good versus the bad is everything we have seen before, we know there will be twists along the way which works out well for the film.

Action/CrimeThe action comes when we let Van Damme loose to fight, where he will face a younger enemy played by Scott Adkins for the big fight scene, anything to stop the criminal actions being handed out by the cartel gang.

SettingsThe film is set in New Mexico right on the border, which does see how the criminal world would be operating.

Scene of the Movie – Van Damme versus Adkins.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is easy to see the twists coming.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book action film that does everything it needed to without challenging the audience in anyway.

Overall: By the book action.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – L – Lady Macbeth (2016) Movie Review

Director: William Oldroyd

Writer: Alice Birch (Screenplay) Nikolai Leskov (Based on Lady Macbeth Mtsensk)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Golda Rosheuvel

Plot: In 19th-century rural England, a young bride who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Period Piece

Story: Lady Macbeth starts as young Katherine (Pugh) has been sold to Alexander (Hilton) an older man that orders her around his house, waiting for the unpleasantry of being forced into sex every night, with her just doing nothing around the house all day.

With her husband away on business and her maid Anna (Ackie) watching over her, Katherine decides to see what is going on with the rest of the help, starting an affair with Sebastian (Jarvis) one of the groomsmen, one that puts a smile on her face for once, which soon has dire consequences.

Thoughts on Lady Macbeth

Characters – Katherine is the young woman sold to an older man to be his wife, she is left in an empty unfulfilled life which follows a routine which only leaves her alone most of the time. When she finds herself alone, she starts an affair which changes her attitude to stand up for herself, wanting equal within her home. Sebastian is the groomsman that starts an affair with Katherine, he doesn’t want to get caught knowing it would be his neck if he was, though he does love what he has with Katherine. Alexander is the husband that is strict and demanding towards Katherine, he goes away leaving her alone. Anna is the maid to Katherine that knows what she is doing, but wouldn’t say anything against her,

PerformancesFlorence Pugh is great in the leading role, you can see she is going onto bigger thing with this performance. Most of the rest of the performances are strong through the film, they let Florence lead the film though.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that is sold into a loveless marriage only to start an affair which will see her going into a new direction with her life to help her find happiness. This is an interesting story that does follow the period drama one to start with before taking a dramatic turn which will make it stand out from others, only it just doesn’t seem to show enough to make us truly get invested in this character of Katherine and her action. This does at least try to be different, only it just isn’t that much that we can care about for the story side of things.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows how one young lady will do anything for love, no matter what is happening in her life or what will happen if she does it.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, showing us just how the house away from the rest of the village, adds the isolation that Katherine would be feeling.

Scene of the Movie – Caught red handed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There could have been a lot more from the story.

Final Thoughts This is a typical period piece that does have a minor twist on the normal, which doesn’t add that much by the end of the film.

Overall: Period Piece 101.