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Jean-Claude Van Damme,
St. Jude Square is a neighborhood living in fear and despair. The dueling gangs of local kingpins Dash and Antuan terrorize the streets and the citizens live without a shred of hope... until mysterious stranger Ryan Hong (Cung Le) arrives in town. He begins to play one gang against the other using his unparalleled martial arts skills, and by calling on the teachings of his brilliant mentor Tiano (Jean-Claude Van Damme) to find the strength to battle back. However, just as he begins to bring the community under control, Hong is confronted by Mr. V, the town's ruthless and corrupt police chief. At first Mr. V is impressed by Hong's skill, but soon sees Hong as a threat to his regime, and the two warriors are locked in a head-to-head battle, pitting the fear and corruption of Mr. V's regime versus the new beginning Hong represents for the people of St. Jude Square. Written by
Showcases Chung Le's talents well as an action force to be reckoned with!
'DRAGON EYES': Three Stars (Out of Five)
International Kickboxing champion and UFC star Chung Le stars in this crime drama action film. It co-stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Peter Weller and Kristopher Van Varenberg (Van Damme's son). The film was directed by John Hyams (who also directed the last two 'UNIVERSAL SOLDIER' films, also featuring Van Damme) and written by Tim Tori (who also wrote the low budget B horror films 'PROWL', 'HYSTERIA' and 'TRESSPASSERS'). It was produced by After Dark Films, who had primarily been known for releasing horror films but has now turned to martial arts action films as well (they also produced the recent Scott Adkins action film 'EL GRINGO'). The film is about what you'd expect from your average martial arts B movie but it does showcase Le's talents well; as an action force to be reckoned with.
Le plays Ryan Hong, a mysterious loner who rolls in to a town, rife with gang violence, known as St. Jude. He turns the two ruling gangs there against each other before falling under the attention of corrupt police chief Mr. V (Weller). Mr. V first sees Hong's skills as an asset and uses him to help control the gangs but then finds him to be more of a menace than an ally. Hong turns to the skills he was taught in prison by an old resident of St. Jude, known as Tiano (Van Damme), and attempts to clean up the town once and for all.
Le has had a lot of cool supporting turns in action films like 'TEKKEN', 'PANDORUM', 'FIGHTING' and most recently 'THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS' but this is his first chance to show off his leading man chops. His fighting skills are very impressive and he has an acting style similar to the likes of the greats; like Jackie Chan and Jet Li (in my opinion). It would be nice to see him get better movies with higher production values but this is a good start for him. Hyams is a good action film director and it doesn't get much better than having Van Damme and Peter Weller supporting you in your first starring role. Van Damme plays little more than an extended cameo in the film but was given top billing in all the marketing (including posters and the DVD cover) in order to sell it (his name is pretty marketable these days, despite being seen as washed up just a few years ago). He doesn't really have enough screen time in this film to make much of an impression but just his presence gives the film some extra cred. Weller is great as the movie's villain and it's nice to see him popping up in films still as well. The movie is really just an action vehicle for Chung Le though and at that it does it's job pretty well.
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