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Although it took four viewings before I finally lowered my rating of
this from "9" to "8,", I suspect I will still watch this lame-brain
action flick a few more times and enjoy it. That's because it offers a
great mixture of fascinating fighters in the tournament that covers
most of the final 40 minutes of the movie; is a modern-day martial-arts
action film with almost no swearing and no sex; and offer some
tremendous scenery in the first half of the film as Jean Claude Van
Damme and company travel to the Far East for this "World's Greatest
That tourney is a lot of fun to watch except that it got carried away in the final bout, of course, that went on almost as long as all the preliminary bouts! However, the filmmakers were smart to make all the contestants totally different with different styles, making each one fun to watch. You didn't see the same thing each fight. There was everything from a huge Sumo-type wrestler to a little guy who imitated a monkey and a snake jumping and slithering around the ring. By the way, these were real guys, not actors imitating fighters.
The photography is magnificent, far better than you would except. The colors are beautiful and the Thailand scenery spectacular. The movie benefits from a classy actor like Roger Moore joining the cast, too. Yeah, it's stupid in parts, but it's fun and highly recommended for first-time viewers who don't know the outcome of the bouts.
This film is Van Damme's first effort as director, and he is surprisingly good in his task!The Quest is, of course, a simple action film, but it has a lot of good intentions and the story, written by Van Damme, is good-hearted. The star plays Chris Dubois, a man who is saved by a group of mercenaries led by a smooth and charming thief (Roger Moore, who brings a little bit of comedy and softness to the story), and this guy takes Chris to the Lost City to fight in a highly dangerous tournament. The winner takes home a beautiful, enormous golden dragon. This isn't the best film of Van Damme's career, his best phase was with the Chinese directors (Hard Target, The Colony), but The Quest isn't a good film for those who want to see explosions, Van Damme blowing people's heads off and those kinds of thing. This is an adventure, the type of film that, if we were now ten years old, would love!you don't have violence, shootings and explosions, if you want to watch something like that rent Hellbound Hellraiser 2, this is a Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark kind of film. If you want to give the movie a shot, try to forget your grown-up side and watch it as if you were ten years old again. Then you will love it!it's a simple, entertaining and very good movie!
I am a Jean-Claude Van Damme Fan and have to say this is a 'Damme' good film. Doesn't the film remind you of 'Bloodsport'? Well this has a good story about Chris who wants to get the golden dragon and ends up in a tournament for the dragon. The fight scenes aren't that violent as most people would want to see. But it is an Epic, with a dramatic story. Roger Moore even acts in it gives a 'Bond' type entrance to his name. Overall this is a great film which shall not be missed by all fans. Van Damme is the man!
The Quest is a surprisingly decent Jean Claude Van-Damme movie.
Quest is a period piece, and a pretty well-done one at that. Taking place shortly after World War I, Van Damme plays Chris Dubois, a humble indentured servant figure with Rocky-like ambitions to become a big fighting champion. Dubois has set his sights on some very elite and secret tournament in some mystical forbidden city, to which only the best fighter in every country of the world gets an invitation.
To get into the tournament, Dubois enlists the help of a mischievous figure, Lord Dobbs. In one of the many parts of the plot I was unable to follow, Lord Dobbs owes him some unknown favor so he buys his freedom and makes arrangements to get the kid to Beijing, with the aide of an attractive blonde newspaper editor, Carrie Newton (Gunn).
Dobbs is played by seven-time James Bond alumni Roger Moore, who I'm so used to seeing as Bond that I half-expected him to, at a crucial point in the movie, bag the attractive news lady, beat someone up, or use some cool gadget. Sadly, Moore only accomplishes one of these three things (uses a cool gadget) and fails miserably at it. However, Moore does carry one James Bond-like trait to this part which is being a smooth talker which gets Dubois in trouble in the first place. Apparently, Dubois was never really entered into the tournament, so he must win over the guy who's slated to fight for the U.S. and get his invitation, which raises the question, isn't Dubois French?
Anyway, there's no reason to fret over little things like that, because considering the plot is secondary to the action, it's pretty well-thought out, and besides the action doesn't disappoint.
The tournament where most of the actions scenes come from is probably my favorite thing about the movie because the single elimination bracketed format has the same thrill as watching something like NCAA's March Madness. The only difference is that except for rooting for your favorite colleges, you root for Industrial Era superpowers. The other plus of this was that the clashing of such a diverse array of fighting styles (sumo wrestling, Scottish fist fighting, Brazillian street fighting, and the like) led to some great action scenes.
My main complaint about the action is that Van Damme's fight scenes attempt to create suspense by him being knocked down and then supposedly against our expectations, getting back up and winning. This just becomes predictable, and besides, because the Master of Ceremonies usually hits the gong after a guy gets knocked down, Dubois would have realistically been out in the second round after getting the crap beat out of him by the Spaniard. Even if he did get back up, he wouldn't have been able to overpower the other guy after having taken so many hits. If he is such a skillful fighter, why doesn't he just win the fight efficiently without all the drama? He reminds me of the present-day LA Lakers who slack off the entire regular season, knowing that they only really have to work during the playoffs.
This gag would have been an effective if it was restricted to only happening in the film's climatic finale. Instead, to top the earlier fights, the tournament's final match really got to be a disappointment. The master of ceremonies was incredibly generous with the gong, deciding to let the fight continue even after Dubois got knocked down twice and kicked out of the ring, where he is beaten up some more and magically throws in a couple kicks at the right moment and walks away with the medallion.
Anyway, the film is a decently played out story that has its moments.
The Quest is an odd mix of martial arts and epic adventure. Its running time
is too short for it to be deemed a true epic, but the panoramic worldwide
locations hint that Van Damme was trying to give it the flavour of an
It's a painfully simplistic story. Young American pickpocket Chris (Van Damme) has to flee from New York in the 1920s after a botched robbery. He ends up on a pirate ship headed for the Orient. Soon, he is rescued by another ship (another pirate vessel, this time captained by gentleman buccaneer Roger Moore). Moore drops him off on a Thai island where young men are trained as fighters, and before long young Chris is a very handy fighter indeed, with aspirations to win an ancient golden dragon in a fighting competition. The final third of the film is comprised entirely of fight sequences in which competitors from various nations combat each other in an effort to take the ultimate prize.
The film marked Van Damme's directorial debut, and he gives it a lovely sense of scale and period but can't wring much out of the thin and obvious story. The backdrops pictured in the film are beautiful. Some of the martial arts moments are well choreographed. Roger Moore gives a surprisingly thoughtful and moving performance. Beyond that, it's very childish and simple-minded and doesn't contain enough memorable moments to be anything other than a passable time filler.
This film is a lot better than I expected, and much better than the other
imdb comments would imply. You can essentially split this movie in half,
with the first half being an adventure movie and the second half being a
fight competition. I actually liked the adventure portion a lot more than
the fight competition, which is surprising since I like stuff like
Bloodsport (the fight part of The Quest is essentially a higher-budget
version of Bloodsport). At any rate, this movie is great visually -- it's
filmed in a lot of exotic locations. I also thought the direction was
great...there were some interesting shots that really impressed me for Van
Damme's first directorial effort. The story kinda moves along too quickly
and there are a couple parts where this strains the believability of the
story (such as how easy it is for Van Damme to get the fight invitation/map
from the boxer), but these are easily overlooked and don't really detract
I went into this expecting it to be low-budget and fairly dumb, but I was surprised at the lavish production and the fact that it has an actual story which I find more interesting than the fighting.
The Quest is certainly one of JCVD's best. It has a quite good epic story and style which generally you cannot see in a martial arts movie. Come on people, this is action and so evaluate it in its genre. Emancipate yourselves from "film d'art" complexes. Give its right, this is an exquisite "film d'martial arts"..
It really get son my nerves when people criticize some films that are actually good. This film was great. It is in my opinion the best Vand Damme film ever. It has story/action/heart and mystery and the highlight of the film were the last battles which showed different fighters from the whole world (ala streetfighter 2) all showing off their capabilities. this movie also has an EPIC feel to it and I don't know what people mean by 'poor' movie cause this looked pretty expensive to me. Roger Moore was cool here too. SO was the babe. Give this a chance people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Set in the 1920's, Chris Dubois (Van Damme) is a street performer who
wears clown makeup, a funny hat, and walks on stilts for a living.
Adventure finds him when he ends up a stowaway on a boat heading to
mysterious Muay Thai Island. There he learns martial arts, and, later
in Tibet, meets the charming Lord Dobbs (Moore) and his assistant
Smythe (McGee). It is around this time that Chris seeks to be involved
in Ghan Geng, a secret underground fighting tournament. The winner gets
a huge golden dragon, so Dobbs has a stake in Chris winning, as he
wants the Dragon. Fighters are invited from all over the world , and
America is represented by boxer Maxie Devine (Remar). Chris must take
his place in the tournament and defeat the sinister Khan (Quissi) to
win it all. Also, there's some mild romance with the prerequisite
female reporter Carrie Newton (Gunn).
Van Damme does a solid , professional job with his directional debut. Having co-written the film with Bloodsport (1988) dude Frank Dux, you pretty much know what to expect- but this movie is rated PG-13, so it was clearly trying to bring the Punchfighting genre some mainstream acceptance. With its slick Hollywood look and booming, sweeping score by Randy Edelman, the final product is perfect for 13-year olds, presumably its target demographic.
Interestingly, the movie is a period piece, and plays like a prequel to Bloodsport. Instead of The Kumite, It's Ghan Geng. Van Damme tries on a number of personas from "Old Man Van Damme" to "Van Damme The Clown" and many things in between. The presence of Roger Moore adds class and respectability to the proceedings, and James Remar of Quiet Cool (1986) fame stands out as Devine. He's always worth seeing. Janet Gunn from Night Of The Running Man (1995) and The Sweeper (1996) is the eye candy but not much else.
It's important to remember this was when video games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were at the peak of their popularity. So when the Ghan Geng section of the movie begins (pretty much the last half)- the plot just STOPS. It's just one fighter from one country facing off against another fighter from another country. It gets repetitive and pretty numbing after awhile. Other Punchfighters don't do this. They vary the Punchfighting scenes with other plot-based stuff. Not so here. Plus the fact the movie is kind of on the long side doesn't help matters. What The Quest should have been is an 80 minute R-rated Punchfighter. Simply cutting the length but adding more violence would have helped immensely. But they weren't going for that audience, unfortunately.
The Quest is more of a big "adventure" film where characters are seeking a "lost city" and many countries and time periods are represented. This might be a good way to start younger viewers on a career of watching Van Damme movies\action movies\Punchfighters but for adults. Only Van Damme or perhaps Roger Moore completists need apply.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Do I need to say
anything more about it?
Okay, if you insist.
The Quest is about a man who journeys across the world to take part in a martial arts tournament to crown the world's greatest fighter. I know that describes several of Van Damme's films, but this is the one set in the 1920s. Chris Dubois (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is the acrobatic and not-at-all-child-molestery leader of a gang of street urchins. Chris decides to use his young followers to steal from the Mafia, which is possibly the worst idea anyone has ever had. When the gangsters try to get their money back, a kid gets shot and Chris flees from the police. He runs because another kid tells him the cops will blame him for the shooting, even though that doesn't make any sense given how it happened, but Chris being highly suggestible is a recurring theme through this story.
Chris winds up a stowaway on a ship, forced to work in chains, until that ship is attacked by the forces of Lord Edgar Dobbs (Roger Moore). A pirate, con man and all around scalawag, Dobbs sells Chris into slavery on an island of Muay Tai fighters. 6 months later, Dobbs runs into Chris at a Muay Tai fighting match and Chris insists that Dobbs help him enter a secret combat tournament in Tibet, not so Chris can win but so they can steal the winner's giant gold dragon prize. Oh, Chris and Dobbs also join up with a female journalist named Carrie (Janet Gunn) and I sure hope Van Damme was banging this chick because there's no other reason for the character to exist.
Tagging along with Maxie Devine (James Remar), the American heavyweight boxing champion invited to the secret tournament, they make their way to Tibet. After a scuffle where Chris literally kicks Maxie once and punches him once, Maxie decides that Chris is the better fighter and offers him his spot in the tournament.
Then we finally get to all the fighting, which turns out to be disappointingly brief and generic. Except for the Brazilian fighter and the Chinese fighter engaging in a dance off, the Japanese fighter demonstrating the martial art of being morbidly obese and a Spanish fighter apparently trained in the deadly skill of flamenco dancing, there's nothing at all interesting about the combat. The designated bad guy turns out to be a Mongolian (Abdel Qissi), of all things, who glares a lot and kills somebody that was supposed to be a friend of Chris', even though the two characters barely said 6 words to each other in the entire movie. Chris and the Mongolian fight and Chris wins because this film was not directed by Abdel Qissi.
The Quest is bad. I know that's not exactly a surprise, but Van Damme's ability as a storyteller is so derivative it's not even interestingly bad. Instead of doing some howlingly incompetent stuff, Van Damme is just mimicking things he's seen in other films, including what I believe is an homage to Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose. The script is written at the level of a 10 year old and the direction looks like any other terrible Van Damme flick.
If this thing had been hilariously awful, that might have somewhat redeemed it. Instead, it's just another crappy step on Van Damme's career trajectory from nobody to action star to living joke.
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