ABC Film Challenge – Action – Y – Double Team (1997)

For the ABC Challenge this is under Y because of the character Yaz.

Director: Hark Tsui

Writer: Don Jakoby, Paul Mones (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, Micky Rourke, Paul Freeman, Natacha Lindinger, Valeria Cavalli

 

Plot: An international spy teams up with an arms dealer to escape from a penal colony and rescue his family from a terrorist.


Tagline – He’s a one-man arsenal… with enough voltage to rock the free world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Van Damme Film

 

Story: Double Team starts as former spy Jack Quinn (Van Damme) is talked out of retirement to capture the only man he couldn’t capture, Stavros (Rourke), he turns to arms dealer Yaz (Rodman) for the weapons required.

When the mission to take down Stavros goes wrong, Jack finds himself in a penal colony, with the rest of the world believing he is dead, at the colony Jack must join the rest of the community who assist in dealing with anti-terrorist actions. Jack notices messages in Stavros latest attacks which sees him finding a way to escape the penal colony in an attempt to protect his family from the mad man.

 

Thoughts on Double Team

 

Characters – Jack Quinn is an international spy that went into retirement to start a family, he is drawn out for one final job to take down known terrorist, which sees him hesitant at the crucial moment leading to a mistake which sees him arrested. Jack must use all of his skills to escape and save his family. Yaz is an arms dealer that gets everything people want without facing any problems, he works with Jack once he knows what is at stake and the money he could earn. Stavros is the terrorist that has been running chaos over the world, he ends up becoming personal against Jack and he doesn’t care how many people he kills. Goldsmythe is a member of the penal colony, he teaches Jack the rules of the colony.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is always the guy you can watch in action films, he doesn’t put a foot wrong through the film and works well with Dennis Rodman. Dennis Rodman might have come from sporting background, but his flamboyant style comes through in this film. Mickey Rourke makes for a fun villain, he looks like he is enjoying this role. Paul Freeman does play an interesting character, we would have liked to see more from his character though.

StoryThe story follows an international spy that finds his most formidable enemy after an error in the latest mission gives him the upper hand. This story does fall into everything we know from the action genre, it is simple to follow for the two sides at battle. The interesting side of the story comes from the island which has the former spies and enemies of the state, which investigate terrorist incidents, this island is seemingly just some add story which doesn’t seem to play a major impact in the final story of the film. the world we enter is a fun story that fits the Van Damme style of action.

Action/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action is fight sequences that we know we can trust Van Damme to make feel brutal, Dennis Rodman brings the comedy even if it is added into the action that he is involved in. the sci-fi side of the film comes from what we see in the penal colony that Jack finds himself in.

SettingsThe film does take Jack around the world in different location, with the final sequence in the coliseum in Rome.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough of the penal colony.

Final ThoughtsTypical action film here, it is easy to watch as long as you switch you brain off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Simple & entertaining.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Assassination Games (2011)

This is under V for Van Damme.

Director: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Ivan Kaye, Valentin Teodosiu, Alin Panc, Kevin Chapman, Serban Celea

Plot: Two assassins agree to work together as one tries to avenge his wife and the other collect a reward for a job.


Tagline – Twice the fire… double the power!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Action Revenge 101

Story: Assassination Games starts when Vincent Brazil (Van Damme) is hired to assassinate Polo Yakur (Kaye) a man released from prison to bait out another professional hitman Roland Flint (Adkins) who has been waiting for his chance to get his revenge on Polo after what he did to his wife.

When Vincent and Roland learn they are after the same man, they decide to work together to eliminate the dangerous criminal who knows the people are coming for him.

Thoughts on Assassination Games

Characters – Vincent Brazil is a lone assassin living in a small apartment in the small town, he keeps to himself which sees him work best. He has his connection in town which give him his jobs and his latest one is inside his own home, he must learn to work together with Roland to complete this job which sees him using all his skills. Roland Flint used to work undercover for Polo, once discovered his wife is beaten into a coma state, with Roland waiting for the day he can get revenge, once Polo is released from prison he goes in search of his target, willing to kill him for free, he will work with Vincent to get the job done. Polo Yakur is a ruthless gangster that has been in prison, he is released by the CIA as bait to capture Flint, but he has other ideas to clean up other problems left unfinished. The rest of the characters we meet are the CIA agents, the members of the gang and the loved ones they have lost along the way.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme does everything he needs to do as the action star lead, we know we are focusing on his action skills over his acting skills, this is the same for Scott Adkins, they both get their chance to shine in combat. Ivan Kaye does all he needs to as the villain, he does come off as the ruthless side his character requires.

StoryThe story follows two assassins that team up to take out a common enemy that has made his targeting of them personal. This is a Van Damme action film, the story is never going to be that deep and will focus on the action, this isn’t a problem though, because the basics of the story are here with an idea of revenge that the two must go on to get their man. Both men have different reasons to be after Polo, while one has been waiting for him another one has been taking another payday. By seeing this we get to see how the two men have a different mindset which does help support them through the fights.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film lets both Van Damme and Adkins show off their skills, which is all we want from them, while the crime world shows us just how dangerous Polo could be if you were to get on his bad side.

SettingsThe film is set in Romania which shows us how the crime world can still operate here without being questioned until the right people come along.


Scene of the Movie – Laser gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How easy it was to get into Vincent secret apartment.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch Van Damme action film, it does everything you would expect without being anything you haven’t seen before.

Overall: Enjoyable action.

Rating

Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – U – Until Death (2007)

Director: Simon Fellows

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.

PerformancesWe 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.

StoryThe 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/CrimeThe 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.

SettingsThe 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.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act is the saving grace of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The damn camera turns.

Final ThoughtsThis 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

Rating

 

 

Maximum Risk (1996)

Director: Ringo Lam

Writer: Larry Ferguson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger

 

Plot: A cop/flic discovers that he had a twin who just got murdered in Nice, France. In order to find out who did it, he takes his place including the cute girlfriend in Little Odessa, NYC.


Tagline – The other side of safe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Van Damme

 

Story: Maximum Risk starts when a French police detective Alain Moreau (Van Damme) sees a man killed, the man looks identical to him and Alain learns that he did in fact have a twin brother. Alain must now look to investigate the murder of his twin brother with his partner Sebastien (Anglade).

Alain learns that his brother was adopted by a Russian family and that he has gone onto to raise up the Russian mob, only he is wanted by them, Alain is joined by Alex (Henstridge) his brother’s girlfriend as they look to bring down Ivan (Grenier) the leader of the Russian Mob.

 

Thoughts on Maximum Risk

 

Characters – Alain is a French police detective that lives a normal life in Nice, his life if turned upside down when he finds a body that looks identical to himself, learning that he does have a twin brother. Alain go in search for answers which leads him to New York city and the Russian mob, here Alain must learn who he can trust and why his brother is killed, while showing all his fighting skills. Alex is the brother’s girlfriend, she knows he danger Alain has walked into and will help him get out of the life of crime that his brother was part of. Sebastien is the partner of Alain back in France, he has worked with him for years, only he stays in France for the investigation. Ivan Dzasokhov is the Russian that has been hunting down Alain, he wants something that he posses and knows it could give up his freedom is the secret it released.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is the man we know for action, when he gets to fight we know we get quality scenes, when it comes to becoming serious he isn’t on the same level. Natasha Henstridge was fresh of the back of Species here and easily fit the role for looks, while never getting her chance to do much more. The rest of the cast fill their roles to help make Van Damme look good in the action sequences.

StoryThe story follows a man that must unlock the mystery behind why his unknown brother was murdered, which sees him enter the world of the Russian mob. Let’s be honest, the story isn’t always the most important part of any Van Damme movie, we just want to watch him kick people’s asses. This story puts him in a place where he just doesn’t know where each step will take him, we get plenty of people that want Alain dead which shows he doesn’t know who to trust, but we always know that he is going to come out on top, it is an easy relaxing action film for the story side of things.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action here involves Van Damme doing his thing, kicking ass regardless of the size of the opponent. We follow a police officer entering the world of the Russian mob which brings us into the crime elements of the story, while the mystery comes from just who could be trusted during this time.

SettingsThe film takes place in two main cities, Nice in France and New York, we do get the fish out of water idea with Alain in New York here.


Scene of the Movie –
The sauna fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty basic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple easy to follow action movie that we are used to seeing from Van Damme.

 

Overall: Simple Van Damme Action Film.

Rating