Writer: Dan Harris, James Portolese (Screenplay)
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Selina Giles, Stephen Rea, Mark Dymond, William Ash, Stephen Lord, Gary Beadle
Plot: Stowe is a dirty cop who is hooked on heroin, and everyone dislikes him. Because of an accident he is put into a coma, and comes out of it a better person. He wakes up wanting to put things right.
Tagline – They put him in a coma, now he’s going to put them out of their misery.
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Lacks the Action
Story: Until Death starts as we see how Anthony Stowe (Van Damme) operates under his own addictions of heroin, sex alcohol which has put his career on the edge, his marriage in the drain and his enemy Gabriel Callaghan (Rea) is getting away with the crimes he wants.
When Gabriel catches up with Anthony, he puts a bullet in his skull leaving him for dead, only to leave him in a coma in which he shouldn’t recover from. 6 months later he awakens from his coma and is left to the care of his estranged wife Valerie (Giles), as he recovers it turns out he has changed becoming a better person and even more determined to track down Gabriel.
Thoughts on Until Death
Characters – Anthony Stowes is a dirty cop, hooked on heroin with enemies in the force and on the streets, the methods have made his hard to work with and his long running pursuit of Callaghan puts him in the firing line. After he gets shot and left for dead, he must recover, a process which see him changing to become a better man. Valerie is the wife that is about to divorce Anthony after years of problems between the two, after his injury she takes him in even though she has moved on with her life. Gabriel Callaghan is the ruthless mobster trying to get ahead in the city, he disposes of anyone that gets in his way and won’t let Stowe stop his plan.
Performances – We watch Van Damme movies to watch him kick ass, not because of his acting standards, he is good through the film as does give us a chance to work on his serious reactions, he doesn’t get to show the fighting enough though. Selina Giles does struggle with her role though, you never believe her acting in this role. Stephen Rea does seem to enjoy this villainous role where he can become darker as the film unfolds.
Story – The story follows a dirty cop that goes head to head with a crime boss only for his crashing life to be turned around by a near death experience. The pacing of the story is slow for my liking, we spend too much time with the bad version of Stowe and not enough on the reborn versions road to redemption, which is by the book. Granted we don’t need the deepest story here because we know what we are getting going into the film.
Action/Crime – The action is held back for the final act of the movie, which is fine, but when you have Van Damme in the leading role, you would expect more. The crime side of the film does play into the bigger picture of what is going on which give the characters the biggest part of the development they get.
Settings – The film uses New Orleans as the setting which is always a city used for dirty cop locations, it works well without being over used for the films backdrop.
Final Thoughts – This is a typical Van Damme action movie, it tries to give us a serious side without being able to capture this and we are saved by a final act action sequence which is entertaining to watch.
Overall: Van Damme 101