Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

07 December 2008


Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writers: Frédéric Bénudis, Mabrouk El Mechri, Christophe Turpin
Released: 2008
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, François Damiens

NIKKI says:
I can admit it: About 1992, when Universal Soldier came out, I had a slight obsession with Jean-Claude Van Damme. I had to watch all of his movies -- my favourite, of course, was Double Impact, probably because there were TWO Van Dammes. I even once let a guy flirt with me at a B&S because he looked exactly like JC. Height and all.


Well, now it all comes full circle. JC, turns out, isn't such a big weirdo as his pseudo-existential, emotional ramblings in the press might have us believe. Yes, he's slightly out there in terms of his philosophies and life choices, but this movie demonstrates that he's not completely insane. He's actually kind of endearing. This movie gives him a platform to change the public record and to reveal actual human depths.

Aside from all the Van Damme revelations and love, this is actually a good film. JC is trying to get some cash from a Belgian bank to pay off some guys and to help rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but the bank isn't co-operating. Seems JC has just stumbled into the middle of a hold up. He is dragged into the back of the bank where he stays with the rest of the hostages while a tense negotiation plays out between cops and robbers.

The genius thing here is JC has been placed into a situation very much like one of his films. He's the underestimated tough guy placed in supposed peril who wham-bams his way out of of the place and saves the girl. But that doesn't happen here. He's still underestimated, but he's hardly a tough guy, and his drive to save himself let alone anyone else is extremely low.

So, what does Van Damme do? Well, that's the key to this story. Its smart, funny, brave, and actually really tense and well-constructed. You will root for JC, and you will see him a new light, and if you don't come away respecting him... well, you just have no heart.


No comments: