There was a time (and it doesn’t seem that long ago to me) that Jean-Claude Van Damme was a big action film star. He released films like Bloodsport, Universal Soldier, Double Impact, and Time Cop. For God’s sake, he was known as the Muscles from Brussels. Then some dodgy behavior (tax problems, custody issues with ex-wife led to him disappearing from the scene and no movies being released. Wide released that is. His movie career continued, but it was a series of crappy straight-to-video films. Then a couple of years ago it seemed like he got his stuff together and that coincided with the release of the very well done film JCVD, a film in which the actor pretty much played himself, by director Mabrouk El Mechri. The film earned the praise of critics and it seemed just like that Van Damme was back on the radar. Then came an opportunity to do a voice in Kung Fu Panda 2 and then Assassination Games became the first film in a good long while in which he has starred in which received a theatrical release.
Assassination Games is a tale of two hired killers whose lives have gone in completely different directions having to come together for a job. Vincent Brazil (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a contract killer who is willing to take on any assignment as long as the price is right. Roland Flint (Scott Adkins – The Bourne Ultimatum, The Pink Panther – 2006) got out of that line of work when a merciless drug dealer attacked his family and left his wife (Bianca Bree) in a coma.
Sometime later a hit is put out on that very same drug dealer both Brazil and Flint want him dead. Brazil is doing it for the money while Flint wants revenge. Once they realize that they both want the same thing and will have to come up against crooked Interpol agents and devious criminals the two men band together, reluctantly at first, to kill their target before they themselves end up dead.
Assassinations Games was released into a few theatres in the United States. Indicated that the movie going public might be ready for more Van Damme. This film harkens back to the good old days of Van Damme films with plenty of violence, blood, off coloured language, and little bit of nudity. All the required elements, it seems, in making an action film that the public likes.
If you are a long time fan of Van Damme films you might not be the biggest fan of this film as it doesn’t have as much action as usually is involved in his pictures. There is an attempt to have actual acting and dramatic scenes in this one. The effort is there. I am alright with this type of film and thought that the 50/50 mix of drama and action was entertaining.
-Previews of Sony Blu-ray Discs, Never Back Down 2: The Beat Down, The River Murders, Arena, Colombiana, Champion Your Destiny