Nowhere to Run (1993) Poster

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Claude & Roseanna Show Off
ccthemovieman-110 April 2006
This is another Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick, but a definite notch above many of his other films, at least in production values. The photography and stereo sound are excellent.

Actually, this is pretty simple stuff and old storyline of a low-key good guy rescuing the girl from local meanies. Here, Van Damme defends Rosanna Arquette and her small kids.

In another respect, the movie is just another avenue for the two stars to show off their incredible bodies. Neither has ever been shy about doing that and certainly aren't in this movie. My only objection is having one of the kids make a sexual remark, which is done in here. There is no excuse for that.

Ted Levine, who has turned nice guy in the hit TV series "Monk," is an effective bad guy in here. He played a lot of villains before "Monk" came around.

Anyway, it's fairly low-brow entertainment, but at least it is entertaining and fun to watch.
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One of Van Damme's better films.
Peach-214 January 1999
Nowhere To Run is one of Van Damme's better films. It has a nice storyline and some good acting. The direction is tight and I lked the score also. Not bad, but will probably be overlooked because it's a Van Damme picture.
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This was one of the best of 1993, no joke.
Dan Grant23 September 1999
Van Damme has a reputation as a kickboxer or an ass kicker and a martial artist. No one really thinks he can act and the only reason he has a career in the movies is because he can do all those things and because women swoon over him. Being the quintessential guy, I am pretty much in the category of guys that likes to see him in films that are loaded with kicks to the head and punches to the stomach. It is a guy thing to want to see guys like Van Damme, Arnold, Sly and Seagal kick some major butt. But I have to admit that as much as I like some of his films that are action and nothing but, this film really blew me away. I was completely convinced with the love story and I felt for the characters. Jean Claude gives his best performance in here. And the sript being written by Eszetheras is perfect. This is a film that relies more on character and dialogue than it does kickboxing skills. And perhaps that alienates die hard Van Damme fans but for the rest of the audience out there this is a great step in the right direction. I have heard people that love his smashmouth style of film say that this is a more tame Van Damme and they don't like it that much, but when your films only gross about the same amount as a typical Friday the 13th film, it's safe to say that there is room to grow and Nowhere to Run is definitely growth. The only reason that people didn't go to see it is because it is Van Damme. But this has so much more to offer than just your typical action flick. The romance is fresh and Kieran Culkin is excellent as the young tyke who grows attached to Van Damme. It's just too bad Claude couldn't make more movies like this one because I really think people would warm up to this style of movie from him and eventually his box office appeal would grow. But as long he continues to make movies like Universal Soldier 2 and Knock Off, he will forever be stuck in that mold.

Nowhere to Run is a great film and when it came out in 1993, I remember making out my list for the ten best films that year, and yes, this one was on it. I highly recommend it. I think you will be surprised. However, if you are hard core and like to see his films with lots of kicks and blood and cheesy lines from guys like Bolo Yeung, then don't go see this one, it is too much of a movie for you to enjoy.
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A huge surprise
theskylabadventure25 April 2008
Having recently revisited my old Van Damme collection (my wife has developed a bit of a crush on JC), I have made my way through all the classics (Bloodsport, AWOL, Kickboxer, Death Warrant, Universal Soldier etc) and hugely enjoyed revelling in the guilty pleasure of watching a short, white Belgian dude kick the living snot out of everyone else on the screen. Why else would anyone go to see a Van Damme picture?

The last film I came to was Nowhere to Run. Having not seen it in a good ten years, and remembering it as slow-paced, indulgent and severely lacking in arse-kicking, I was not really expecting to be at all impressed. It's funny, looking through most of the reviews here, that two groups of people have clearly emerged. The first group, the Van Damme fans, are all complaining that this is not your average VD film and bitching about how they were cheated into watching a serious drama.

The other group are all up in arms at the fact that anyone would make a serious drama and cast Van Damme in it. I have a name for this group, but I doubt IMDb would publish it. Let's just call them w*nkers. Why the w*nkers, who clearly have an abundant dislike for the Muscles from Brussells, would go to see a film with his name above the title is beyond me. Cinesnobs have no place at a Van Damme show. I'll leave it at that.

The reason I felt compelled to write this review is that I am, admittedly, a bit of a Cinesnob, but I'm also happy to take a film for what it is. I like James Bond, I like Sonny Chiba, I like blaxploitation and I also fricking like Van Damme movies! What I did not expect, was for "a serious drama starring Van Damme" (trying saying that out loud without snickering) to be so Damme good! (Get it?)

The story is pretty simple, JC is an escaped con who happens upon a sleepy little town which is about to be pulverised by a nihilistic land developer (not surprisingly, a British one, played with appropriate menace by Joss Ackland). He befriends a little boy (not in the Michael Jackson way, though the boy in question is, ironically, Macaulay Culkin's younger brother, Kieran) and consequently gets rather chummy with the boy's mother. Happily, she is both widowed and incredibly hot. As if her being a still distraught widow weren't enough, she is also being harassed to a rather unreasonable degree by Ted Levine, who is hilarious and brilliant and the land developer's chief henchman. Cue Van Damme.

Sounds like the ideal recipe for another typical action flick, so I am willing to forgive those VD fans who felt cheated. What we actually end up with is a genuinely moving, well paced and hugely enjoyable action drama. It may sound unthinkable, but JC actually pulls his character off perfectly. Sam is mistrusting, awkward but ultimately striving to be a decent person. Director Mark Harmon made a very savvy decision in keeping JC's dialogue to a minimum, leaving him the task of creating a believable character with his face and body language alone. Don't believe the naysayers, JC delivers a truly surprising performance.

Rosanna Arquette also handles her role well, even if the character is flying dangerously close to stereotype. Her performance grounds the whole story, and we both care for her plight and admire her determination (the men in the audience will also admire her perfectly formed semi-naked body). The two kids were bound to be annoying, but they're certainly nowhere close to being as bad as they could have been.

The real star of this film is the consistently beautiful cinematography by the relatively unknown David Gribble. With scenery like this, you'd be hard pressed to go wrong with the external stuff, but the interiors are equally well shot.

The big let down, both in terms of cinematography and the film as a whole, is the truly lame action. There are only a handful of action sequences in the whole show, but they're easily the dullest moments in the film. When you have a good story, solid characters and a really well-cast group of fine actors, do you really need to throw in a bunch of crappy fights? Sadly, if you're selling this as a Van Damme picture, the answer is yes. So they had the courage to put JC in a serious role and give him the chance to prove that he can actually act, but they didn't have the balls to actually sell the film on this basis. The trailer says "Van Damme, as you've never seen him before" and then just gives us a bunch of poor action clips. Is it any wonder that nobody who actually bothered to see this film liked it?

If it weren't bad enough that the action scenes are badly shot and clumsily edited, they're also punctuated by really poor one-liners from JC ("Strike 3, you're out!" and "Au revoir, f**ker" are among the worst). One gets the feeling that there were differences in the opinions of the director and the star and the opinions of the producers and studio folk. Presumably, someone thought they had found a happy balance. Someone was wrong, and the film really suffers as a consequence.

If you can overlook this, and you're not watching the film either to complain that it's not a solid action flick or to complain that Van Damme is in a drama, you'll probably find yourself surprisingly impressed with the film.
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Nice guy saves the day in one of his better films
crazy-2317 February 2000
Escaped from prison, Van Damme camps out near a widow's home in the woods.

Sure there's some action in the movie with quite a number of punch 'em outs but the movie really should have been in the drama section, not the action section of rental stores. This is quite a change for Van Damme as he becomes a father to the fatherless, nice guy, gentleman, and town savior.

So the story was really good and damn Van Damme did a good job at his nice guy part. The funniest part is when he and the boy go into town for motorcyle parts and the sherrif dude asks him questions. Listen to how Van Damme pronounces 'motercycle' and 'Quepec'.
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Enjoyable movie
northhawke22 July 2000
I must have enjoyed it I stayed up until 2 am to watch it. I thought it showed a softer side of VD he should make more films of this kind.I liked the story line and was not too much kick boxing,the young boy (Kieran Culkin) played his part very well I thought. I really enjoyed seeing VD in a movie without so much blood and guts
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A Very Enjoyable Film
furiousneon7 February 2003
I enjoyed this movie very much. It had a good, easy-to-follow story, some good action and good humor. Van Damme give's one of his best performances to date, and for the first time use's his brain and fist's instead of his martial art expertise. The chemistry between Van Damme and Arquette is very believable and you can tell that Van Damme's character really does care about the family. A very enjoyable film and believe it or not, an A+ performance from Jean-Claude Van Damme.
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Surprisingly good
senrav27 September 2003
I had heard that this movie wasn't typical Van Damme, but I still expected it to be mindless action on the whole. I was shocked when it turned out to be truly well done, and not just for a Van Damme movie. The acting is great, especially Rosanna Arquette's performance, and the story is not cheesy at all--it's actually compelling. The (sparse) fight sequences don't involve any weird Van Damme midair split-kicks to the head; they're straight-ahead brawls. This is definitely Van Damme's best, focusing on story and not action, but I guess his presence makes a lot of people overlook it. My rating: 8/10.
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Muscles from Brussels gets into a few Tussles
helfeleather9 November 2002
This is probably Jean-Claude van Damme at his sexiest. The best thing is that he's a prisoner, and there's no suggestion that he was wrongfully imprisoned. He starts off as a bad boy, but of course his tough exterior melts away to reveal his inner sentimentality when he meets a widow and her two children, one of which is played by one of those hideous Culkins.
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Modest ambitions, modest results
dinky-43 August 2001
Reactions to this movie seem to depend on one's appetite for action. Those hungry for it are disappointed while those looking instead for plot and character development are pleased. I tend to fall into the latter category but must point out that while "Nowhere to Run" ranks among the better Van Dammes, it relies too much on stock situations, (plucky woman defending homestead), and cliche characters, (corrupt business tycoon with oily smile). I'd also like to point out the good work of Edward Blatchford as the local Deputy Sheriff. It's a thankless part but he manages to make something of it, and no, I didn't read any dark psychological meaning into the scene in which he discovers Van Damme taking a shower. However, I did find utterly bizarre that moment at the dinner table when Patricia Arquette's little girl casually comments on the impressive size of a certain portion of Van Damme's anatomy. This was promptly followed by Arquette's comment that it was only average in size. Talk about weird!
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some originality out of 'nowhere'
invictorious19 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
On the surface, it looks like Van Damme is starring as another one of his formula based action hero. But his Sam Gillen character is an escaped convict. He hides out and eventually helps a widow named Clydie (Rosanna Arquette) ward of land grabbers during his "free" time. He bonds with Clydie and her two kids Bree and Mike (Culkin).

It's a groundbreaking role for Jean Claude. Especially for this part hero, and pseudo bad guy role. How many people remembers, knows or cares that he was a villain named Andrei in the less notable "Black Eagle"? Credit is deserved for not making this completely run-of-the-mill with a predictable character and outcome.

The film perfectly pulls of the task of putting viewers in a somewhat psychological dilemma. Sam's crime(s) are never revealed, leaving an incomplete picture. Although Gillen is likable throughout, he has baggage. Not all good inside, the character is a complex one, which, for me, adds to the film. Sam could have saved the world, yet he's still guilty.
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Jean-Claude Van Damme Film Festival
lastliberal26 March 2007
Now, we are moving into what I consider a good Van Damme flick. The story has been told many times. It is similar in many respects to Romeo Must Die - evil developer wants to put up a kitzy development and needs to run off small landowners. Clydie (Rosanna Arquette) resists and her deputy dawg boyfriend (Edward Blatchford) is playing both sides. In comes the hard-ass to get things finished (a very young Ted Levine) and, at the same time our hero breaks out of prison and camps on her doorstep. It seems Van Damme is always either breaking out of prison or going AWOL. Relationships with her two cute kids begin and then things really heat up with mom. Boyfriend is jealous and it all comes to a head, as expected, between Van EDamme and Levine. Smaltzy ending, but great chases. fights, and lots of passion.
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Quick Reviews!!
malkane3166 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Van Damme was on a role in the late eighties, early nineties, making some of the most fun, simple action movies of the era. His ability to always get a laugh, and being renowned for his nice-guy qualities have ensured his continued success, even if most of his movies now are straight-to-DVD capers.

In Nowhere to Run he stars with an established cast as another misunderstood nice guy, an escaped convict who decides to help a young widow and her family who are struggling against a local developer who is forcing them out of their home. There is a good amount of action, some strong performances, and some very funny moments. Van Damme plays Sam, a mysterious convict who has escaped from prison. He sleeps in a tent outside a small town where two local young kids find and befriend him. Eventually their mother Clydie, played by Rosanna Arquette finds out and invites him into their home cautiously. Of course they fall for each other, much to the distaste of local Sheriff and love interest Lonnie, who decides to look into Sam's background. Franklin Hale, played with typical evil by Ackland is the main bad guy, but his side-arm Levine is the main threat. Sam helps the family, foiling Hale at every turn, but the past is catching up with Sam...

Arquette, Culkin, Levine, and Taubman as the daughter are particularly good, and the story tries to be light-hearted and moral. It may be another attempt to achieve a wider audience for Van Damme, and it is definitely one of his most accessible, thanks to the good cast and humour. The various discussions on Van Damme's naked body are always humorous. Overall another good Van Damme film which will please fans, and may interest a few others.

7.5 out of 10
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"When push comes to shove, you'll be dealing with me."
docchainsaw20002 January 2004
"Nowhere to Run" is a 1993 action film with decent action star Jean Claude Van Damme. Although good for fans of the genre and Van Damme, it may be a let down for others. Why I myself am not a diehard Van Damme fan (at least he did "Hard Target"), I thought this movie was good. Why, you ask? Because it has Ted Levine as the bad guy.! Anyway, this movie caught me by surprise. I thought it would be one of those bad movies where stuff explodes just so you can watch stuff explode. But I found it to be a decent vehicle for it's stars, and you never can go wrong with Ted Levine. It's a nice little movie. 6 out of 10.
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DigitalRevenantX727 April 2008
Plot Synopsis: Sam, a convicted bank robber, is freed when the prison bus he is on is hijacked. On the run from the law, he comes to the aid of a woman & her two children who are being pressured to sell their land to corrupt developers.

"Nowhere to Run" is one of the numerous films featuring Belgian martial arts legend Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film, like many of Van Damme's work, does not rank too highly when it comes to things like acting, script or even direction. Director Robert Harmon, who helmed the excellent "The Hitcher", manages to keep things from going out of control. The script is simplistic, bordering on clichés – the good guy convict, the embattled single mother, the shady developers, even the corrupt sheriff. As usual, Van Damme makes a meal out of his role, while the two kids should have been taught a serious lesson on not to talk to strangers. Joss Ackland & Ted Levine play the villains quite well.
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Brilliant Absolutely Brilliant Van Damme Film, With Amazing Performances And A Very Emotional Ending!
callanvass12 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a brilliant absolutely brilliant Van Damme film, with an amazing performances and a very emotional ending!. This Is one of Van Damme's absolute best, and in my top 5, plus this may be Van Damme's breakout performance as an actor in my opinion (although he is always amazing). I really liked how Van Damme tried to do something different here, and in my opinion it worked perfectly, and Van Damme and Arquette have amazing chemistry together, plus it was awesome to see how well Van Damme bonded with the kids!. I can't believe critics called this embarrassing, and if you think Van Damme can't act, you have to watch this movie, plus Joss Ackland is pretty menacing as the main villain!. The character development is outstanding, and the kids are surprisingly very likable, plus the movie has a couple of good scraps!. This is a brilliant absolutely brilliant Van Damme film, with amazing performances and a very emotional ending. The Direction is fantastic!. Robert Harmon does a fantastic job here, with fantastic camera work, good angles, creating some nice atmosphere, and keeping the film at an extremely engrossing and very fast pace!. There is a tiny bit of blood. We get a couple a very bloody gunshot wounds, and minor wounds. The Acting is AMAZING! (in my opinion). Jean Claude Van Damme is AMAZING as always, and is AMAZING here, he is extremely convincing, extremely likable, kicks that ass, had amazing chemistry with the kids and Rosanna Arquette,and gave one of the best performance in his career! (Van Damme Is quite simply the Man!)(my favorite actor). Rosanna Arquette is wonderful here, she is beautiful, had amazing chemistry with Van Damme, was very likable, and like VD's character i was rooting for her all the way!. Kieran Culkin is actually very good as the kid, and was very likable, and was actually quite funny, go figure!.Ted Levine is very good as one of the main villains, and was very menacing. Joss Ackland is also excellent as one of the main villains, didn't have much screen time though. Tiffany Taubman is great as the daughter and was adorable. Edward Blatchford is good as the weasel sheriff. Overall this quite simply a must see period!, don't waste any more time!. ***** out of 5
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Nowhere to Run!
Movie Nuttball13 August 2003
This Van Damme film is pretty good.I don't agree what the video box says "The best Van Damme movie!" The film is different and has a good story and Van Damme has a different role here.The movie has Ted Levine as a good villain!Joss Ackland performed well.Also The film has special appearances by Thomas Rosales Jr. and Sven-Ole Thorsen!The music by Mark Isham was good and the music in the beginning sounded similar like his other work in Fire in the Sky.Like I said before this is not Van Damme all time greatest but its good and different.If you haven't seen it yet check it out!

Movie Nuttball's Note: I Also recommend Hard Target(which I believe is Van Damme's best!),Bloodsport,Cyborg,Lionheart,Street Fighter,Sudden Death,Kickboxer,The Quest,Double Team,and Double Impact.
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Van Damme escapes prison to battle an evil magician...
Gut Bag28 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Jean-Claude Van Damme escapes a prison transport vehicle to do battle with an evil magician and scum-bag cop who have been employed by developers to steal a communities' land. Kieran Culkin delivers a star performance as a kid who thinks boobs are "really gross!" Rosanna Arquette's hot mom boobs and plenty of shocking screenwriter incompetence make this film watchable with a couple of dudes. Don't check your smart phone too much because the slow moments pay off without too much meandering.

Spoiler alert!: the kids both see Jean-Claude's penis before the mom does! Au revoir!
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I like it, but it is not the typical Van Damme flick
vocklabruck1 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I know many people do not like this movie, because they are used having Van Damme in action movies with martial arts and shooting scenes. This is NOT an action flick, instead it is a drama with an action touch.

I really enjoyed the movie. Kieran Culkin was excellent and also Ted Levine. There is a scene where it would have been good some tears from Van Damme, but I bet this wasn't possible because of the "macho" he always portrays in all his movies, and... boys don't cry.

If you like action you will enjoy the fights and the chase, but do not expect fireworks. There is also the typical "show butt" scene, but what is somehow misplaced is the scene where the kids talk about Van Damme's penis at the dinner, actually unnecessary.

All in all I recommend this movie for everyone. You will have a good time.
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He's back, and he's got a motorcycle!
mrfilmmaker66625 November 2003
Jean-Claude Van Damme is back! And this time he's got the hots for a petite little southern gal played by the ever gorgeous Rosanna Arquette! Some evil men are out to take her land, but Jean-Claude, and escaped convict on the lam, is here to be her savior! Full hot explosions, hot girls, and plenty of Van Damme kicks and punches! This film is sure not to let you down!
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Not what youd expect
bhyrrus9 February 2018
This movie is sparse when it comes to fight/sex scenes and is a bit slow but those things are insignificant compared to the movies' strong points: natural acting, a sexy love interest and overall solid production. The child who plays the little boy is a wonderful actor. Rosanna Arquette, who plays the boys mother, possesses a quiet beauty and has a great bottom and the love scene where she sticks her tongue into VD's mouth is nice
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I'm the parking attendant
Michael Ledo5 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In a planned escape, Sam (Jean-Claude Van Damme) makes it on down the road. Unfortunately the prison guard knows how to use a scope and his partner in crime (Anthony Starke) dies. Sam makes his way to the widow Anderson (Rosanna Arquette) farm who is being foreclosed upon by the evil banker to make room for a development. Sam helps her out.

This is the Rosanna Arquette in her prime and is about two table dances away from paying off her farm and that of her neighbor. The film had about as half as many stuntmen as actors, for the short amount of time they were needed. Our protagonist is a gentleman criminal. This movie appears to be the inspiration for the chick flick "Labor Day." Guide: No F-words. Sex and nudity (Rosanna Arquette)
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Family drama masquerading as action vehicle
Leofwine_draca6 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Despite being later copied in 1997's FIRE DOWN BELOW, this is actually one of Van Damme's lesser films from his 'classic' period. It looks like he was trying to break away from his martial arts background here into more serious acting (which obviously failed), so fans will be disappointed that there are none of those famed kicks to the head. In fact, the film is extremely slow-moving, the monotony broken up only by a few good action sequences (the barn fire coming to mind). Adding insult to injury, a good deal of the film is made up with sickly sentimentalising in the form of Rosanna Arquette, who comes across as a really poor actress here, and an obnoxious child, namely Kieran Culkin, the younger brother of Macaulay. Yes, I cheered when someone smacked his gob at the end of this film.

The fight scenes, when they do come, are pretty good, but sadly they're over very quickly. The first time we see Van Damme, he's beating up his guards, which doesn't exactly endear his character to the audience, later he flashes two young children in the woods. I'm not surprised they arrested this guy. The plot about landowners using dodgy methods to get rid of the woman living on their land is nothing new, and extremely basic - you could figure out what was going to happen next with ease.

The acting is okay here, but strictly of the television-movie level, with the aforementioned Arquette and Culkin going through the paces. Van Damme seems to be a little out of his depth, as if his heart wasn't really in the film, and we don't really get to know him very well. He's not at his best. Of the bad guys, Ted Levine provides a worthy opponent for Van Damme, while Joss Ackland enjoys a seedy role (almost exactly the same role as he played in LETHAL WEAPON 2). NOWHERE TO RUN is passable entertainment, but you could do a lot better.
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JCVD at his alright!
matatosky9 May 2016
I got this on DVD at Walmart. It came with "The Order", which is a strange but fun change of pace for Van Damme and "The Shepherd" which is not too bad for what it was. This triple feature came at me for 5 bucks, so naturally I had to get it. My main reason for getting it was Nowhere to Run. I hadn't seen this movie since the 90's and after that it fell into obscurity, considering JCVD released better quality in films. The movie takes place in a shanty town that apparently wanted to try too hard to look rural. It's not a bad setting but it made the movie somehow look dull. (That plus the lack of a good score, which was basically absent through most of the film's better scenes) After movies like "Lionheart" and "Bloodsport" where Van Damme looked incredible as the good hearted hero, in this one, he tries to be and look rugged for his convict persona. Included the stubble he rarely grew in movies back then and the laid back but heavy foreign accent. It definitely seemed like he was into his part but he drops subtle signs of weakness in his acting, like for example, when he intentionally mispronounces the word 'Motorcycle' and his delivery of obligatory 90s action movie one liners. Only good thing about his performance, is he didn't pull any fancy moves. He kept it brawling and I liked that. I'm a JCVD fan for life, but this movie is one of the reasons why I get when some people dislike him. Moving on to the supporting cast, Rosanna Arquette and Kieran Culkin did great as mother and son who take kind to a random drifter. The chemistry between the 2 of them wasn't any better at mom and son than it was for JCVD and Rosanna (whom according to interviews, disliked working with Van Damme) Ted Levine is always fun to watch and actually menacing in his role. In fact, I can't really remember a role where Ted Levine was rubbish, because even in "Flubber' he delivered some great scenes that combined his tough guy act and his comedic timing. The movie is simple enough, with some good decent fight sequences thrown in between. The story could've used some more development, like for example: some retrospective scenes where it showed Van Damme's failed bank robbery or his aforementioned marriage, so it would have made Van Damme's character a bit more sympathetic because you just end up feeling sorry for the poor family caught in between his story and the film's plot. Im pretty sure, this was a movie that was still polishing his acting skills and expanding his resumé as a leading action star but there were definitely better ones. Not bad at all. Fun little movie to watch when you want to snack on something at 2am and be amused while you're at it. But if you really wanna get into his movies, I wouldn't suggest this as your first one.
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