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Wow! I really got lucky with this one! A Jean Claude Van Damme film
released in theaters for the first time in the United States since 1998
if memory serves right! A very limited release mind you, but he's
finally made it back to the big screen! It hasn't been advertised here
at all which is a shame because Assassination Games is an excellent
film! So where do I begin? Well, the film was shot for $4,000,000
dollars in some Eastern Block country which would normally scare me,
but it actually ends up looking a lot better than the above stated
price tag. Say around the 15 to 20,000,000 dollar range. The camera and
editing work was very well done and the musical score is excellent, non
pervasive and flows with the movie in a non intrusive way that adds to
the dramatic effect instead of taking away from it. The story is pretty
well done. I'd give the dialog a solid B for an action movie and there
were no detectable plot holes that I could find.
The best actor in the film in my opinion was probably Andrew French who plays Nalbandian who plays Devil's Advocate to Van Damme fallowed by Maria Kaijan, Jean Claude, Scott Adkins and Ivan Kaye. In fact, the acting was pretty much all the way around solid except for the interpol agents who's dialog and delivery was extremely weak.
The film goes about 50/ 50 on the action to drama ratio. It drags a bit after the first 5 minutes or so but the fight scenes are interspersed throughout the film well and are also followable which is more than I could say for some larger budget films like the Transformers franchise and I would definitely have to say that Jean and Scott make an excellent action duo as they have the whole fire and ice thing going.
If you happen to be within an hours drive of any of the theaters listed on the movie website, go and check the film out. It isn't as good as JCVD or the new Universal Soldier, but it's a very close third. So go check it out or just wait for the DVD. It'll be worth it! Thank you Jean Claude! I never thought I'd see you on the big screen again!
The two major roles, played by Scott Adkins, and Jean-Claude Van Damme
are something that you can relate too. One is fighting to assassinate
his target because of love, fighting to try and bring justice for his
wife. The second is the opposite. Everything thing is about work, and
he is just doing a job. Vincent becomes more open to love throughout
the film, as you see the change from the start to the end, and that was
a good believable story.
The writing for this movie was great, good action sequences, though at times there was a little too much dialogue, they did make the movie worth watching, but also something that you won't regret having watched later.
I full admit I watched this movie for two reasons. First of all, the
last thing I saw Van Damme in was JCVD, and I have to say that I was
more than a bit surprised by the weight and depth of his performance.
Second, I'm a fan of Scott Adkins ever since the last two Undisputed
and Ninja films where he showed that westerners could screen fight just
as well as anyone in martial arts flicks. How does all of that
translate to this movie? Read on.
Assassination Games probably isn't what you expect. It's not a knock down, drag out action movie. In fact the action sequences, while well done, aren't very plentiful. I actually think this may be a good thing. I'm starting to think that if Van Damme would take himself more seriously and stop doing all of the hacky crap he did in the 80s and 90s that he could very well be a well respected actor who just happens to know action movies. While I grew up with movies like Bloodsport and Kickboxer, watching someone mature and actually convey an actual sense of a character is quite rewarding. Here's to hoping that the man can stick with movies that have substance rather than just being some guy who can kick stuff and do the splits.
Most Van Damme fans will be turned off by this movie. It's a lot more
dramatic than your average action flick. Or rather, it tries to be. You
have one character that is emotionally shut off, and has no human
connection (Van Damme) and you have a killer with a heart who is caring
for his comatose wife. (Adkins) Wow, they're so deep...... yeah, but
what we really want to see is both these actors breaking bad guys
faces. Which they do... only too infrequently in this flick.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie. I love every Van Damme movie. It just doesn't deliver the straight action you'd expect. You have to sit through some forced plot first.
This Van Damme action picture displays lots of violence, action filled,
thrills and fierce combats . It is entertaining , well paced and
including interesting characters . It's thrilling and tense , at time
suspenseful movie and the firepower, explosion, struggles, shootouts
are very well done . It deals with two assassins agree to work together
as one named Roland Flint (Scott Adkins who replaced Vinnie Jones)
attempts to revenge his wife (Bianca Bree , also producer) and the
other named Vincent Brazil (Jean Claude Van Damme) collect a reward for
a job to kill a mobster (Ivan Kaye) which is backed by dirty Interpol
Agents . Meanwhile , Vincent helps a prostitute (Marija Karan) but the
events go wrong .
¨Assassination games¨ is one of Van Damme's better films . It packs violent action, suspense, shoot-outs, and martial arts fighting and results to be quite amusing . Entertaining movie , thanks to tight pace, skillful edition and well mounted combats . It's tense and exciting , at time lackluster action movie , but the struggles and fighting are well done . During the scene where Flint visits Polo's 'hardware guy', he utilizes a laser-guided gun to target him , the effects used for the mechanical movement is taken from Robocop (1987) . Suffering Van Damme plays finely an affected killer , acting similarly to 'Hard cops' . Enjoyable relationship among two rival assassins , nicely played by Van Damme and Adkins ; both of them form an uneasy alliance to take down a deadly target . Van Damme is good as action hero in this middling budget filmed in Bucharest, Romania and New Orleans, Louisiana ; here Jean Claude plays a hit man , confronting nasties and using his martial-arts skills . Long time ago he played big budget movies (¨Time cop¨, ¨Universal soldier¨ ,¨Double team¨, ¨Hard target¨), nowadays he makes low-medium budget and directly to video (¨Derailed¨ , ¨Wake of death¨ , ¨In hell¨) like in his first films (¨Black eagle¨, ¨Cyborg¨, ¨Bloodsport¨). Remaining cast though unknown make nice acting as Kevin Chapman , Ivan Kaye and special mention to Marija Karan as a beautiful whore mistreated by her pimp . This movie film results to be a standard actioner , but packs interesting main roles , atmospheric action set pieces and is fast movement . It's produced with middling budget by Van Damme and Paul Leonard ; being professionally directed by Bernie Barbarash (¨Ticking clock¨ , ¨Hardwired¨ and ¨Six bullets¨ , again with Van Damme) , though Russell Mulcahy was originally set to shoot . The picture is extremely energetic and to be liked for real devotees of main actor . It's a must see for Van Damme fans.
Script and financial limitations can hinder the most precious of
stories. For once, Scott Adkins played a character and not himself in
his movies. I didn't like that to be honest but as an actor that is
what Scott needs. I mean in this movie Scott gets taken down by so many
guys who in reality he could kill with his bare hands. Van Damme is
stuck with the monotonous monologue affected robotic hit-man which
seemed tacky. But that is due to lack of histrionic skill. Kurt Russell
did it slightly better in soldier. Arnie did it really good in
Terminator. But that was aided by the requirements of the character.
Adkins has improved as an actor since the awful Ninja. He has some
variety now in his resume. In this movie, AG, Scott plays a really
vulnerable man. Quite the opposite of the invulnerable Yuri Boyka,
Scott's best role so far.
The movie synopsis given here is tardy, and seems to indicate the crazed stereotypical view of Americans that everything revolves around them. There is no DEA nonsense here. It is the Interpol whose dirty cops provide cannon fodder for the lead actors while the main villain is a despicable criminal leader (played well by the actor).
This movie had a lot of positives going for it in terms of potential. It was a lot better than the DTV releases the 2 lead actors have been used to recently. Van Damme's face looks drawn and destroyed beyond the skills of the most talented makeup artistes in the world. He could go the Charles Bronson reloaded route with that face.
The key here is that while both the lead actors combined could compile the most complex and comprehensive columns of a martial arts encyclopedia, this movie has stayed away from capitalising on the copious martial arts talents possessed by Adkins and Van Damme. It was fresh and new of course, but nevertheless it just added to a long list of things this movie lacked.
While this movie is worth watching once especially if you are a JCVD/martial arts fan, it is only an average action film that didn't maximize its potential. The remote controlled machine gun was a nice touch but it is just one of the momentary shades of quality in a film that can never be anything above underrated. The crew just tried too much in the name of freshness, and as a result the final product ended up in the doldrums, neither here nor there.
Scott would do good to get some serious acting lessons as would JCVD. A lot of people, including me, cannot keep watching Kickboxer/Bloodsport/Universal Soldier/Hard Target/Undisputed 2,3 again and again.
Interestingly, JCVD's kids play roles in the film. His daughter Bianca(a super stunner) plays Adkins' wife. His son, Kristopher plays one of the villains I believe.
Well if you have been a fan of Van Damme since the start, like me, your
favourite movie are probably gonna be Bloodsport, Lionheart and
Kickboxer, the movies he got a big role from. A lot of other Van Damme
production caught my eyes, Double Impact, Replicant, and Time Cop where
some good strong movies in the actor gender combining action and plots.
If you are a fan of John Woo and gun fights, Hard target was maybe more
Then after that Van Damme did a lot of direct to DVD movies with minimal martial arts and more action parts with guns and all, some where pretty good, some where not, depending. But The Sheppard, one of his last movies was actually very strong having him with the very well balanced Scott Adkins that can fit any roles. And i loved it. So i was looking for this one a lot since it was the first true van damme movie in a LOOOONG TIME. Lets say i was please and yet disappointed a bit. For example i loved the story, all characters played well, it was a very cool movie, but at the same time i was expecting a bit more with a movie staring BOTH Van Damme and Adkins(Boyka from Undisputed) I dunno... maybe i was expecting the big martial arts blockbuster when this movie actually not even aim for that... But well... Lets just say this movie works well for what it tried to be.... an action movie with a strong plot and a dark feeling, with SOME martial Arts. Now i can wait to see The Eagle Path since i have been waiting for it for a long time.
A small handful of better than average action sequences highlight an
otherwise generic and trite tale of two assassins with different
tactics and end goals searching for whomever set them up. Van Damme
fans would be much better off watching JCVD for a good latter- day
Damme flick. As he performance in here is good, but the movie is
mundanely average at best. There's also a prostitute sub-plot that's
admittedly pretty awful. As the movie wore on I found myself less and
less interested in a film hat I couldn't help but believe I saw before
in minor variations in the past. And better, in all honesty.
My Grade: C-
Caught this at a theater near by and I have to say that I did enjoy this. It wasn't great or even "really good" but it was better than most of JCVD's other dtv movies(excluding US3 and Replicant)...and better than some of his later theatrical movies(Street Fighter,Double Team,Knock Off, Unisol:The Return). I think putting it on the same level as Wake of Death is pretty fair. I actually may have liked this a little more since it didn't feature the dopey MTV edits that WOD had. The acting was pretty solid all around for the most part. JC's son, Kris' character(Schell) was extremely pointless in my opinion...not to mention he sucked in it. Felt like he was reading his lines the entire movie. I really liked JC and Adkin's chemistry together. They played off each other really well but I was left wanting to see more of them sharing the screen. There were a few aspects I didn't care for but I don't want to spoil anything. Production wise, the movie looks pretty good considering the budget. It's well directed and shot. Good music score too. However, I actually feel like it would have made for a better at home experience than a theatrical one. The sepia tone actually looked a little blurred on the big screen during some of the wide shots...and I did find myself craving a little color. Close ups looked good though. All in all, it was a pretty good movie. This gives me hope for The Butcher. If Ernie Barbarash had a little more money to work with, he'd do a hell of a job. 3/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
this slick action pic stars van damme and scott adkins as assassins, one killing for money, the other revenge, when they are both after the same target, they have to work together. although on paper the story don't sound too original, but believe me this is a smart script with a few good surprises you don't see coming. and the action, well the movie is voilent and the action is fast, hard and brutal, if you ever wanted to see van damme chop of a guys head with a sword this movie is for you. in the early 90's it was seagal who was on top, but ever sice 2003, van damme has been the king, his movies a lot better, and van damme has actually turned in to something of a good actor. scott adkins, is also great here, although not as good an actor, he is brilliant at fighting, and handles his action stuff with ease, maybe even a bit better than van damme himself. all in all, i liked this film very much, and is further proof that van damme is still on top, i recommend
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