I’m excited about this one. KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE is a remake of KICKBOXER, and it for sure is a new franchise because they’re about to start shooting a sequel called KICKBOXER: RETALIATION. In this one, Alan Moussi (stunt double for Henry Cavill in IMMORTALS, The Miz in THE MARINE 3, Jason Clarke in WHITE HOUSE DOWN, Hugh Jackman in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE and Jai Courtney in SUICIDE SQUAD) takes on the JCVD role of Kurt Sloan, whose brother (now played by the late Darren Shahlavi) is paralyzed (now killed I bet) in the ring by the vicious Thai fighter Tong Po, originally played by Van Damme’s friend Michel Qissi, now the great Dave Bautista (credited as David here, so it’s his serious actor role I think). (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘JCVD’
There was a time, I must admit, when I didn’t properly appreciate HARD TARGET. I had already been intoxicated by the unadulterated John Woo of THE KILLER, BULLET IN THE HEAD and HARD BOILED (in that order, I believe) so when I watched his 1993 Hollywood debut I could only see the compromises. American Woo was less violent, less stylish, less emotional and built around the stiff toughness of Van Damme instead of the smooth charisma of Chow Yun Fat.
But with the passage of time comes wisdom and context. From the perspective of today we can see that HARD TARGET stepped deeper into the Woo Zone than any of his subsequent American films save for FACE/OFF. More importantly, it’s clearly a masterpiece among Van Damme vehicles, themselves an enjoyable body of work that can benefit from some Woo. A pessimist sees HARD TARGET as Woo watered down with Van Damme. But I’m an optimist now so I know it’s a refreshing glass of Van Damme spiked with a shot of Woo tequila. (read the rest of this shit…)
It sounds like this trailer is not officially complete or something like that, but it looks great. I knew this was the title of an upcoming Van Damme picture but did not realize it represented such an excellent variation on the you took my daughter/son/elephant type premise. Also it looks like a high level of fighting for modern JCVD and his first use of the splits in a long time.
You may also notice that the late Darren Shahlavi is in there. I’m not sure if he’s playing a bad guy or the bad guy. IMDb lists him second so I bet it is one of the leads and not a henchman.
The director is Ernie Barbarash, whose last movie was the enjoyable FALCON RISING with Michael Jai White. With Van Damme he has done ASSASSINATION GAMES and 6 BULLETS. Fight choreographer John Salvitti is a long time Donnie Yen collaborator going back to IN THE LINE OF DUTY 4 and up to last year’s KUNG FU JUNGLE. He even helped out on BLADE II.
UPDATE: The original trailer I posted was taken down by the producers. I’ve replaced it with the newly released official trailer, which doesn’t make it that clear that it’s about him trying to get his stolen kidney back, and doesn’t have the impressive splits-related money shot that was in the other one (even though it ends with the same scene). Seems like a weird marketing choice to me to try to stop anybody from seeing the trailer that makes it look good, but this will all be moot once we get to see the movie.
Years ago when I saw a little movie called DOUBLE TEAM I remember coming out of the theater and running into an acquaintance, a friend of a friend named Corey who was waiting for the next show. We got to talking about Van Damme, and it was kind of shameful how many of them he mentioned that I hadn’t seen. So this guy decides right then and there that we’re gonna meet once a week in a neutral location and we’re gonna watch a Van Damme movie. And I don’t remember how long we did that but it was probly a month or two of important learning. You know, it’s the same as with KICKBOXER or BLOODSPORT, you try to find a mentor or a buddy to take you under his wing, and that’s how you get your start. So shout out to Corey. And I hope I’m doing my part to pass on these lessons to the next generation.
Anyway, that was the last time I saw CYBORG. On a screen bigger than I’ve ever owned, but full frame VHS, and when I was younger and dumber in my ongoing journey to filmatistic enlightenment. Here’s all I remember: Van Damme doing the splits between two walls, a guy with sunglasses grunting, being bored.
Okay, I wasn’t that far off, this is sitll a bit of a chore for me to get through, but I repsect it more at this stage in my evolution. CYBORG is from the Cannon Group, it’s directed by our friend Albert Pyun, it doesn’t really have any concepts that separate it much from other post-apocalypse movies (with a little BLADE RUNNER and TERMINATOR influence thrown in the mix), but the thing I didn’t get back then is that it’s a fuckin art movie. The plot is minimalistic, there’s very little dialogue, lots of wind and dreamy slow motion. Van Damme plays a mysterious figure apparently called “Gibson Rickenbacker,” a so-called “slinger” or bounty hunter helping a woman named Pearl (Dayle Haddon, NORTH DALLAS FORTY) who has the cure for a deadly plague to travel through the wasteland to Atlanta. And she’s part robot, by the way. (read the rest of this shit…)
What’s the deal at the end there – are they really telling us this is real? I’m assuming it’s a special effect, and I like it. An iconic JCVD moment (doing the splits between the walls in CYBORG) taken to ludicrous heights. And with a sunset and Enya-type music to show how important it is. Now let’s get Seagal playing the hand slap game with a Volkswagen.
PREVIOUSLY, ON UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: In 2009 John Hyams, fine sports documentarian and son of the director of OUTLAND, knocked the world of DTV flat on its ass with a grim and shockingly great part 3 (or part 5 including the made for cable 2 and 3). It is one of its decade’s best American action movies and a classic example of a hungry artist taking a disrespected medium far beyond its perceived limitations. Also Dolph Lundgren makes a hell of an impression with a small appearance, the Alec-Baldwin-in-GLENGARRY-GLEN-ROSS-of-DTV.
And now, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING.
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Like part 1 it has an incredible cast of action stars that you never thought could all be in a movie together, making a movie that is not worthy of all of them being together but does get by on the strength of, you know… those guys are all in it.
Jean-Claude Van Damme is the most important new Expendables cast member. Even not having seen it yet we know this because he’s the main villain, because he gets an “also” credit and because he’s Jean-Claude Van Damme. So to honor his new role I was excited to go back and watch one of his early movies that I haven’t seen. I was surprised to realize BLACK EAGLE was the only 20th century Van Damme movie I hadn’t seen. I’d have to go up to some of the DTVs starting in 2002 to get to anything else new to me. I was better versed than I realized, but I didn’t know anything about this one.
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Can John Hyams live up to our expectations with his sequel to the greatest DTV movie of all time? Well, it sure looks like he came up with something interesting and different. He’s go Van Damme looking like Captain Spaulding, Dolph making a speech and Scott Adkins kicking ass. Looks good to me.
But something tells me I won’t get a chance to see this in a theater. (Something = that narrator.) Hopefully Magnet Releasing will prove me wrong.
UPDATE: John Hyams contacted me (namedrop) to assure me that it will play in theaters. It will lay at Fantastic Fest in September, then will be on the video-on-demand October 26th and in theaters in the US November 30th. (Don’t worry, they’ve done that with other movies too.)
This trailer was cut when they thought it would be DTV, before Magnolia/Magnet picked it up. There will be another one cut by Hyams himself. I’ll try to contact the narrator to see if he’s working on his own cut.
DRAGON EYES could’ve been my most anticipated DTV movie of the year, but After Dark Films had to go ruin it by releasing it theatrically. A little bit, anyway, as part of their After Dark Action thing next month. I hope it does well.
In the UK, though, it came out on DVD and blu-ray this month, so I ordered it. The cover says it’s “FROM THE PRODUCER OF THE MATRIX AND SHERLOCK HOLMES,” because it’s co-presented by Joel Silver (I didn’t notice his name in the actual credits), but to our people it’s FROM THE DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, the reigning champeen of DTV action. So it’s a big compliment to say that for most of its running time it lives up to my hopes for the next John Hyams movie. It has many seriously hard-hitting fight scenes, strong atmosphere and continues to show Hyams’ strength for finding the best ways to cinematically showcase non-actors. It turns out he’s also good with the real actors. Go figure.
(read the rest of this shit…)