Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Kevin Chapman, Ivan Kaye.
Running time: 101 minutes.
Directed By: Ernie Barbarash.
Written By: Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.
I can't say I remember watching too many Van Damme movies growing up. The hand full of films I did watch generally involved him fighting, jumping, cart wheeling and doing the splits. He was not overly known for his in depth characters, his tense dramatic films or his good acting, although I do understand why people enjoyed to watch him. Let's be honest they are a bit of fun. I did manage to see his film JCVD which I thought was really good, at the point where I was really surprised at how good it was. I even thought Van Damme was also really good in it, but to be fair I'm pretty sure we can all act like ourselves and do a good job of it. Regardless that film was good and as this was the next film I had heard he had been in I was hoping for more of the same. Sadly that's not what I got. It is kind of a mix of his old stuff with a grown up feel to it.
Van Damme plays an assassin. The best in the business. He lives alone in a small flat which has a secret posh bedroom in the back, he is a huge fan of knives, has no friends just associates and is paid in diamonds. This is the depth of his character. He is given a job to take out a man called Polo (Kaye). A high profile target that will double his usual fee. Little does he know that the target is actually a set up to bring out of hiding another assassin called Flint (Adkins). It is all set up by corrupt Interpol cops who Flint betrayed and ran off with lots of their money. They also know that this new target will bring him out of hiding because the target is the reason his wife is in a coma that she is unlikely to ever wake up from. Both assassins head out for their target and get in each other's way. After they fight over the job they decide to work together and take down everyone who has set them up, but will they help each other or only ever help themselves?
When the film started I thought that it could have a plot that could really develop somewhere. Van Damme looked pretty cool and just like an ageing sophisticated hitman, although after a while he did fall into the trap of becoming the same person he played in his old films. It took me a good while to finally realise I was into the film, and as soon as I realised I noticed that we were over half way through it. To be fair I had no care what so ever with the opening half of it. No character had me attached. No plot thread left me intrigued. And not one developing relationship seemed genuine. It was turning out to be a huge disappointment. The final half had me more intrigued but it had become more of a typical Van Damme action film at this point. They begin to understand who had set them up and why and we get pure action. Not that this is a bad thing but I didn't care enough for any of the characters to actually survive the onslaught.
We also get a side story of Van Damme falling for a prostitute who lives next door. The scenes that tried to show this development failed miserably. They somehow began to bond over a tortoise. One minute they hated each other and the next minute it was more. It was all too rushed. Several relationships within the movie felt like this though. Not even Van Damme and Adkin's relationship seemed to develop much. They seemed to trust one another despite not knowing each other, and then didn't see it coming when they were betrayed. It had no development.
The acting was hit and miss. One or two were ok, others were dreadful. There were far too many nationalities in the film, so the acting seemed poor because the accents never matched up. The Brits delivered their lines with no emotion at all, making their acting less than impressive. The acting, story, character development and relationships just did not work.
Since I've watched it I found out that it was made on a small budget, and shot in Romania, so maybe with the small budget they had to go with cheap actors, but it showed. It wasn't a good movie, but I'm not really disappointed. I wasn't expecting much. The cinematography is pretty good for the budget, and the colour within the shots bought something to the film. I just wish it was done better, and if they took away some of the poor twists in the story line, hired some better actors, played it a little more straight and didn't have people doing silly jumps in mid air it could have been a good film.
1.5 / 5
Next film to review: ATTACK THE BLOCK