Jean Claude plays an official who's just been appointed as Second In Command to the U.S.Ambassador at an American Embassy in a small, turbulent Eastern European nation. When local ... See full summary »
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Jean-Claude Van Damme,
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Jean Claude plays an official who's just been appointed as Second In Command to the U.S.Ambassador at an American Embassy in a small, turbulent Eastern European nation. When local insurgents attempt a coup d'etat, the nation's President takes refuge inside the embassy. The embassy is then besieged by the well-armed insurgents. The U.S. Ambassador is killed in the ensuing action, and it's now up to Jean-Claude and the embassy's small detachment of U.S. Marines to fend off the attackers. Written by
The action is placed in Moldova, but it was filmed in Bucharest, Romania. It is easily to see auto numbers on ordinary cars which are from Bucharest, not from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Not even one car has Moldavian numbers. Another goof is people's accent. None of them has Moldavian accent, which, for a native Romanian, is as obvious as one can distinguish between a penguin and a seagull. See more »
Above average but Van Damme lets his recent standard drop!
The film sees Van Damme star as Sam Keenan who is given the task of protecting the new president of Moldavia (made up? Maybe!) from violent protesters and ardent supporters of the country's previous regime. Essentially this is a siege movie, and with a plot somewhat resembling Dolph Lundgren's The Defender. Both movies are very similarly toned, however while Lundgren received mostly positives from that film (and more so from his directorial follow up the Mechanik) Van Damme will probably not earn the plaudits on this one. Now the man himself is not the problem, but the film suffers from amateurish direction and overly ambitious delivery of it's ideas in which the film tries to deliver the requisite amount of atypically military imagery. For instance helicopters make appearances in this film, only mostly they are poorly done CGI helicopters. As such the films attempt to look more expensive results in it looking cheaper. This is where SIC fails and where The Defender did not.
The direction from Simon Fellows lacks imagination, cohesion and competence. The trouble is the director is too quick to try and mimic certain styles from other directors. There is also too much compensation made in the editing room. Many of Fellow's stylistic choices do not work and only serve to hinder the film and whereas Dolph Lundgren made the Defender taut and polished, SIC is sometimes a little slipshod. However as the film progresses, Fellows gets a little more controlled. On a technical standpoint the rest of the film is okay, with mostly polished cinematography and an okay musical score.
The cast are good with Van Damme ably supported by Raz Adoti, Julie Cox and Alan Mckenna and William Tapley. Jean Claude himself is good in a pretty straight down the middle kind of role. He's not required to stretch as much as in Wake Of Death, but Van Damme gives his role a humanity and the role some conviction and thus adds depth to the 2 dimensional character as written on the page. Van Damme is certainly developing as an actor and he now adds so much to roles that other action stars would simply do competently. JC has improved so much and in regards to the action stars of the moment Van Damme is the most interesting as an actor. I certainly hope he stretches himself in future roles, cause I think having matured as a person he has a world weariness to him and an inner depth that shows up in his last few roles and there is now something going on behind those eyes.
The action in the film is okay. In terms of hand to hand combat there as some nice brief flourishes from JC, and there's a average length fight scene at the end but that suffers from poor editing and choice of shots. As for the rest it's primarily gunplay and Fellows chooses to go docu style which half walks and half doesn't. However the last half hour of the film is mostly action and the pace picks up nicely and we have a good amount of explosions going on.
Overall this is not a write off and by no means one of Van Dammes worst. It's good to have him back after a long wait following Wake Of Death, but understandably some fans may be disappointed. I can only say to them that Hard Corps promises much more and that also this film is far better than Seagal's recent turkeys. **1/2
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