Wake of Death (2004) Poster

(2004)

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9/10
The Comeback starts here!
realhiphop3 November 2004
I am a huge movie buff, and have enjoyed IMDb.com for years. This is the first time i have bothered to register to voice my opinions- and it is with good reason. I am a huge Van Damme fan, but i am also a realist. His last few films have not been great - particularly Derailed & Knock Off. However credit to Jean Claude for TRYING to do other things such as IN HELL and WAKE OF DEATH. Unlike his co-action hero's Steven Seagal who can't even be bothered hanging around to loop his on voice on his movies- VAN DAMME is making a comeback.

This film marks a great, stylish, action movie- driven by revenge in a yakuza environment. It reminded me of early John Woo movies, Seagal's Hard to Kill and early dirty harry films. JCVD's acting is only getting better with age, the action is short,sharp & powerful. Bloodsoaked action scenes & being hardcore (women shot in the head/guy is shot in head by shotgun) shows this is ANYTHING but "standard/watered down/pg action" that is all to common today. Do yourself a favour and SEE IT THEN OWN IT! If you are a JCVD fan & have been disappointed by his recent films, give this one a go- you will enjoy. Cheers, Dan
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9/10
Wake of A New Career
metallik198424 January 2005
"Jean-Claude Van Damme is back", we all have probably heard this statement about hundred times ever since his career took a turn for the worst. Ever since then Jean has been trying to resurrect a career that saw him at the top of Hollywood's revenge, action films of the 80's and early 90's. Trying to win back fans Jean has been going the straight to video route hoping that one of the films will strike gold. And I believe Jean has just found that with Wake of Death. Van Damme IS back and this time he has the acting chops to go along with the cool action. Why this film is rated so low in this site I will never know. This has to be one of the best straight to video releases of last year. The action is great, Van Damme is in it, and the story is pretty good. It's not just your run of the mill revenge movie, it has a great story to it and the film is a success when it comes to the revenge plot. It did it better then some of the big budget Hollywood movies that came out this year, one that totally comes to mind is The Punisher. If your looking for a great action film with Van Damme and this movie is not at your local Blockbuster I suggest you spend a few extra bucks a purchase the film, you will not be let down.

I have read that some people were let down by the films climax stating that it's far too quick for some. What I like to tell those people is that they need more of an imagination. This film is great because of factors like that, the film doesn't sit back and explain every little thing like most movies do now a days. This movie leaves you do use some imagination and that's what made the movie so good. It made the viewer feel more apart of the film and not like a complete idiot that needs everything explained and told to them.
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8/10
Not as good as I'd hoped, but better than I expected.
Ramden7 January 2005
"Wake Of Death" is no master piece. But it's easily the best Van Damme movie since "Hard Target" and probably his best performance ever. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he does know how to act. Especially in the scenes right after his wife's death. Granted, he's not going to win an Oscar anytime soon. But his performance was definitely worth more than a direct-to-video release. Also the directing was a lot better than I thought it would be. Phillipe Martinez has actually put together a pretty nice package of a movie. We get pretty much everything: Gun play, car chases, nudity and a solid performance by Van Damme. But I would like to have seen a bit more story. It seems that the movie is mostly driven by the action scenes. If only we'd learned a little more about the characters, the movie would have had that last touch that would make it great.
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7/10
A mature action film from a maturing actor
exntrc122 January 2005
I'll be the first to admit that the super butt kicking action was not the only thing I appreciated in Jean-Claude Van Damme's films back in the day. His own butt was an excellent plus. Timecop and Cyborg? I was there. I tried to hang on after that but... JCVD twins, Dennis Rodman, science gone bad? It was all too cartoony and the action wasn't enough to hold my interest. I turned my attention East and... Salvation! The wonders of Hong Kong film.

Looking to pack a recent weekend with as much action and gunplay possible, I found "Wake of Death" and decided to give JCVD another try. I'm glad I did as I found it to be a fine film. It doesn't have the American film clichés - a hero with a heart of gold, selflessly protecting orphans and widows, while throwing off quippy one-liners and never sustaining anything more than a few strategically placed scratches.

This is a man with a questionable and likely criminal past, but we're not back storied into seeing how he is really just a misunderstood hero. It is up to the viewer to make their own judgment about this man and his actions. This film is not for those who like their action mindless.

I agree with all the comments about Jean-Claude's acting skills – he has definitely earned to communicate emotion and real character depth. He is a long way from the stone-faced Muscles from Brussels.

This woman gives the film 2 thumbs up! Now go kick some ass!
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7/10
Van Damme is back!
moviecollector4 January 2005
It was great to finally see the new Van Damme movie. I enjoyed this better than his previosu 1 - IN HELL.

Acting by VD was very good, along with everyone else. Though, the editing was choppy in some places, everything else abiut the movie was fine with me. Despite the fact that 'The End' shows up, when I thought it was pointless to put that up. It could have gone straight to the credits.

This is still 1 of Van Damme's best movies in a while.

This is the best action movie of 2004. This really should have gone to theatres here, considering how much crap that Hollywood releases now.

This is a must see, for Van Damme fans & action fans.
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10/10
Very Well Done Action Revenge Flick..Good Performance by Van Damme.
furiousneon3 January 2005
This is not your average Van Damme flick. Its also not your average action/revenge movie either. There's no doubt that this is a huge step up for Van Damme. His acting is very impressive, in my opinion his best work yet and he is still in great shape and can perform the kicks, no problem. The story is simple but it gives more to you then it should. We get to see Van Damme's character completely break down, and for this you feel for him, which makes his revenge just as sweet as it is for him, for you. Aside from Van Damme the rest of the acting is pretty good. There are also some great fight scenes and car/motorcycle chases. Another thing I noticed is that this movie looked like it had a nice budget..100 times better then Derailed and better then In Hell..It was nice to see that Money was being dished out for Van Damme again. Anyway overall I give this a 10 for Van Damme's great performance, the stylish action and the way the story was executed. Van Damme fan or not, try and check this one out.
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7/10
Classy action-noir
filmguden31 December 2004
I have always wanted Van Damme in a french style action-noir movie, like the old Alain Delon movies, I was very pleased when I saw Philippe Martinez mix Jean-Pierre Melville classic anti-hero lead with "MTV" camera work. It works perfectly. Van Damme makes his best performance to date, he really acts. The guy have taken some great amount of heat in his past due to his accent. This time around you can't blame or bash Jean-Claude for being stiff. The action scenes are suitable to the story, the fights are short and bloody. No need for fancy 360 kicks, a punch to the jaw and empty the clip in the chest. Classy. The cinematography is one of the best I have seen in a action movie, within this budget, and that is all thanks to the work by Emmanuel Kadosh. The music works really good for the emotional scenes and the sound is clear and top notch.
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10/10
Excellent Action Fick
marluv8 January 2005
This movie is better than any modern action movie out right now. This movie is very stylish something like Leon: The Professional mixed with Training Day intro scenes. I've never seen Van Dam so Damn!! ; ) serious and emotional. I don't recall ever seeing him cry before in a movie. This is one of his good movies and I think the public needs to stop black listing van dam because he's made some bad flicks in the past. Every actor somewhere along the line stumble but the good ones always find a way out and come out on top.

IMDb voting is wrong.

I give this a 8/10 Go Van Damn!! Keep Kicking!!
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9/10
Very Good Action Movie... **Rent It**
KEELING198520 January 2005
Well, what can I say? Straight to video releases are always looked at strangely. I myself are guilty of thinking "The movie cant be that good if it didn't get shown at the Cinema!". I was totally Wrong with Wake Of Death...

This is a great Movie! Van Damme is basically "EXCELLENT". Lisa King who plays Cynthia Archer, Van Damme's wife is quite poor and the Cheapo acting kind of shines in her scenes. She is very basic and really, isn't very good.

Your Probably thinking "This don't sound too good from what I've said but wait, let me continue!".

The Action is excellently balanced in the Movie. The Story is constantly moving in the right direction and you never really lose feel of where things are going! Also, the camera work reminds me of some great flicks like "Face Off" and the Driving scenes could be mistaken for clips from "Fast and the Furious". I ain't kidding, they are really good! This Movie is on par with some films that have been on at the Cinemas! However, if you cant stand rubbish acting, bare with it until his Wife gets killed as the quality shown in her scenes does sound cheap (like TV Soap acting). After that, its all revenge and thats entertaining! Lastly, with Films like "The Punisher" not living up to my Expectations, I rated Wake Of Death better than Punisher! Thats how good I thought it was...
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9/10
IMDb rating does not do this film justice!
snout4life14 February 2006
This is the first time that I'm going to write a review for a movie just because it was one of the best recent action films that I have seen and the rating is far below what it deserved. It's a movie set in a dark environment with some true jeanne claude action and some of the best acting I have ever seen him do. The action and violence is intended for mature audiences as it can get somewhat gruesome at times but that is what I liked about this film, it wasn't hollywoodized and comes at you raw. After the movie I felt like it was 2 hours well spent and for being a major movie critic that rarely happens to me! For some reason it just all came together nicely and I definitely recommend this film especially if you enjoy action movies and are a van damme fan!
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6/10
Thriller, tension, plenty of frenetic action and lots of violence
ma-cortes19 May 2008
The movie begins when a Chinese little girl witnesses the killing her mother by her gangster father named Sun Quan(Simon Yam) and she flees to Los Angels aboard a ship with other abducted immigrants. An ex-gangster named Ben(Jean Claude Van Damme) is ready to retire himself; his wife(Lisa King)is a social worker, taking the refugee little girl to their house. Then, she 's cruelly killed and his son along with the Chinese girl are kidnapped. Our revenger hero wages war against the criminals .The sad Van Damme must rescue the kids and revenge his spouse, meanwhile he's attacked and pursued from all sides by Chinese triads, being only helped by a French gangster's trio.

This film direct to video-rentals, displays action-packed, extreme violence, pursuit cars, thrills and is quite entertaining. It's thrilling and tense , at time suspenseful movie and the firepower, explosion, struggles, motorbikes races are very well done. Suffering Van Damme plays finely an affected gangster, acting similarly to 'Hard cops'. Van Damme confronting nasties, using his martial-arts skills, furthermore some chase cars are pretty exciting. Remaining cast though unknown make nice acting, besides appears uncredited Burt Kwouk ,the famous Chinese fighter against Inspector Clouseau-Peter Sellers. This interesting film results to be a standard actioner, but packs atmospheric action set pieces and is fast movement . The motion picture is well produced, though with middling budget, and directed by Philippe Martinez. He's a prestigious producer, such as 'Harsh times, Modigliani, The piano player, Van Wilder 2'. This is the second and best film as director , along with 'Citizen verdict'. The picture is extremely energetic and be liked for true devotees of main actor. It's a must see for Van Damme fans.
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10/10
Van Damme's back in the most surprising way ever in his career!
bogardboy31 December 2006
Van Damme has shocked me, my jaw literally DROPPED! I never thought Van Damme ever had real talent as an actor till I saw this movie. Van Damme has finally delivered a powerfully talented and stunning performance that i think HE never knew he even had! He's finally proved with this movie that his acting skills are as powerful as his kicks and thats putting it lightly. Doesn't matter what the hell you think of his past films or what u saw, Wake Of Death exposes a raw, gritty and capturing Van Damme like you will never see. This is truly his dark side and we NEED to see more of this. Forget must see, this is a MUST HAVE, especially any true Van Damme fans...enough said.
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10/10
Van Damme's best in years!
orioles830 December 2004
This movie shocked me. This movie was really intense. After I saw IN HELL I didn't believe that JCVD could do any better than that. (and it was a great movie) His acting in IN HELL was the best he'd ever done. Most critics and people would tell you that is not much to say. But now people will have to take him as a serious actor because when he see him break down after his wife dies in this film, you will tell yourself "this CAN'T be JCVD, he is actually able to pull off a scene where he cries?!?" JCVD has NEVER done this before and he did an incredible job at that. I'm one of the biggest Damme fans out there and it shocked even me. He must been taking some major acting classes or something because he was awesome in this film. This movie should have gone to theaters, it was really a waste, this would done very well at the box-office.
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5/10
He Is Worse Than the Bad Guys
claudio_carvalho12 March 2006
In China, the girl Kim (Valerie Tian) witnesses the murder of her mother by her mobster father Sun Quan (Simon Wan) and escapes to Los Angeles in a vessel with other illegal immigrants. The ship is intercepted by the US Immigration Department, and the social worker Cynthia Archer (Lisa King) decides to host Kim at her home with her husband, the bouncer Ben Archer (Jean-Claude Van Damme), and their son Nicholas. Sun Quan comes to USA, and with the support of the dirty chief of Lisa, he gets the information where his daughter is and uses the Chinese triad to kill Cynthia and her Chinese stepparents in their restaurant in Chinatown. However, Nicholas and Kim escape from the killers, and Ben calls his friend to revenge the death of his beloved wife.

"Wake of Death" is not a totally bad Van Damme's movie. The predictable and violent screenplay uses a silly and absurd argument, the free execution of Cynthia and the stepparents in a restaurant, to trigger the character of Van Damme, who is worse than the bad guys, to revenge the death of his wife. But although using the traditional clichés of the action movies, the production of "Wake of Death" is very reasonable; the cinematography has a good quality; and if the viewer shuts-down the brain, this movie entertains. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Vingança" ("Revenge")
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9/10
Two in a row for Van Damme.
argentobuff23 March 2005
Fans and non-fans of Van Damme are gonna Like Wake of Death.It baffles one why Van Damme had not been making these types of movie earlier.He might still be the mid-level star he was.

Gorgously shot,WoD finds Van Damme a retired enforcer named Ben Archer with revenge on his mind after a knife-wielding Triad Boss(Simon Yam)brutally KIlls his wife and in-laws.He goes back to the mob way for some Damme action.

What seems like an average revenge flick is an action lovers flick:Bike chases,car chases,Gun fights,Fist fights,Drills,Shotguns to the face,and a scene that would make Tarantino proud.

Van Damme surprises here by rising above his usual monosyllabic self.He emotes!Very well.Its a welcome change to see him with such acting chops.Yam is mostly on the sidelines,letting his goons do the hard work.He underplays San Qaun at times,but he always comes off cool,collected,and evil.Rest of the cast is mixed.The mob cronies are the best:Tony Scheina has a lot of presence as JC's mob buddy and could easily go on to be a good action star.Anthony Fridjohn delivers some pretty hard-boiled lines as the kingpin.Fellow enforcer Claude Hernandez is likable and quiet.But hes all action when need be.Valerie Tian is engaging as Kim; San Quans Daughter.

Bad:Choppy style.Lack of character background.I wonder if there is another cut to WoD.A lot of questions needed answers.The ending is too open-ended.I wish Ringo Lam would have stayed on.But whatever little perks are missing, Philippe Martinez makes up for it with visuals,style,and a great soundtrack.

But all in all a great revenge flick that rivals Man on Fire.And great acting from Van Damme.Your on your way back!
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10/10
incredible acting and story
mzubac29 January 2005
one of Van Damme's best movies ever and best acting wise this movie has everything in it and not to much karate but it has some this movie should have been in the theaters.He couldn't have done a better job in the scene after his wife was killed this movie has explosions gun fighting drama everything a movie needs. they should make more movies like this. the story is realistic and has lot's of interesting scenes. for me at first it was hard to understand but after watching it a second time the story felt better and fuller.the movie is not to long and not to short unlike some movies that last 3 hours with no point to the story. Van Dammes movies should be shown in theaters again no question about it.
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10/10
Shocking!
man_in_black_1327 May 2017
One of the best and most ignored JCVD films. Angry, dramatic, tragic... Every moment is shocking and unforgettable. JCVD shakes the screen in one of the best performances of his career. A very realistic and sad film noir. The point that Philippe Martinez brings to the film is indisputable.
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10/10
Jean Claude Van Damme at his Best!!!!
BatmanFunReviews20184 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After his wife is brutally murdered, an ex-cop wages war against the Chinese triads. Wake of Death is one of my favorite Van Damme films alongside Until Death that came out 3 years after this movie and those 2 films showed that Jean Claude Van Damme can act because he gave a pretty good performance in here plus the film had some pretty good dramatic parts delivered by Van Damme and the rest of the cast gave some pretty good and solid performances, of course the action is non stop hardcore and thrilling and the Mall chase scene with the motorcycles was actually handled really well done. Also the movie has a pretty great soundtrack and the main theme was a mix of drama and western so i liked that as well. Overall Wake of Death (2004) is a great action film and for a straight to DVD movie it does have some pretty quality, acting and fight scenes and even if you're not a big fan of JCVD i think you are going to enjoy the hell out of this film.
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9/10
No fluff, just revenge!
Anonymous_Maxine5 May 2008
All too often in Van Damme movies (or any action movie, for that matter), the action is dumbed down or spread out along a goofy story that is clearly only an excuse for gunfights and car chases. Wake of Death has a moderately clever story and is moderately delivered, but much more emphasis is put on the action. It's gritty and unapologetic with its violence, clearly trying to effectively capture the mob world in which it takes place, and also features what might be Van Damme's best actual acting performance of his entire career. There's an emotional scene in the movie that is so intense it's almost difficult to watch, so I don't want to hear any more from these people who are constantly whining that Van Damme can't act. I'd like to see any of YOU show me anything close to what he did in this movie!

Van Damme stars as Ben Archer, an aging mobster who wants to get out and have a normal life with his family. Of course, his family doesn't know what he really does for a living, as far as they know, he is in the "bar" business. Claiming to be tired of the noise and the smoke and the drinking, he tells his incredulous superior that he wants out, and then heads home. Having seen this set-up a dozen times or more, we know that nothing good can come of this.

Ben's wife, Cynthia, is a social worker, and soon finds herself with the problem of a boatload of Chinese refugees, all of whom must be detained and shipped back to China. Strangely, though, they are refugees from Hong Kong. I didn't know there were many refugees coming out of Hong Kong in the early 21st century. In fact, I can't think of a time in modern Chinese history when there were refugees coming from Hong Kong.

Clearly, this is unimportant to writers Mick Davis and Laurent Fellous, who seem to be just going on the assumption that, because of Mao Tse-tung's brutal, murderous regime, there have pretty much always been refugees coming from China. The ones in the movie definitely look like mainland Chinese and not people from Hong Kong, except for the little girl, who looks Korean and is even named Kim. I can tell you one thing, out of almost 1.4 billion people in mainland China, not one of them is named Kim!

Anyway, Cynthia sees this young girl and decides she's too cute to be shipped back to the horrors of Hong Kong, so she risks her job and reputation to take the girl under her wing. Unfortunately, she is the daughter of Sun Quan, a Chinese mobster of the triad variety (you remember them from the Infernal Affairs movies). Quan, clearly, is not happy about his daughter living with some white people ("foreign devils," as they were called back when people really were trying to flee from China), so he sets out to find her, killing anyone who gets in his way.

At this point, the movie becomes astonishingly violent, even for a Van Damme film. The movie violence is serious here, like in serious gangster movies. The profanity is thick and the movie is not afraid to shoot older women in the face, showing us her exploding head. I had never seen anything like that in any of Van Damme's movies. Quan kills Cynthia, and Ben's grieving her loss is one of the best scenes in the movie, and one of the best examples of Van Damme's acting ability from his entire career.

The soundtrack is suitably depressing when it needs to be, such as in the opening credits, which features one of those god-awful moody soap-opera-ish love songs, like the worst of the Bond themes. There is a major slip-up as the little girl doesn't speak a word of English and then, in the same second that Cynthia starts speaking Chinese (she explains that her grandparents are Chinese, as if language was hereditary), Kim busts out with her perfect American English. Nice. I've been teaching English at a University in central China for two years now, and let me tell you, it is almost impossible to teach them to speak English with any accent other than a Chinese one. For that you have to have been raised in America (or Canada, as it were).

The movie is not a cognitive workout, of course, but it is definitely a solid action movie that deserves more recognition than it got. Sadly, like the great Bruce Campbell, Van Damme is a little bit of what they call "box office poison," although I would like to suggest that the reason for this is because of the bad press that he gets from people who jump on the bandwagon, uniformly criticizing his acting and his movies without even really knowing what they're talking about. No, he's not Orson Welles, but he stands for important things and, for all of the shallowness that we've seen in his films, occasionally he takes it upon himself to prove to us that yes, he can act.

The problem is that all too often his target audience doesn't require him to, we just want to see his kick the hell out of some bad guys. Wake of Death is the most violent movie he has ever made, and is proof that he is better than most people think he is. I hope one day he really gets the respect that he deserves!
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8/10
Van Damme differently
Whadever25 November 2007
Wake of Death was the first "Van Damme" movie I'd seen in a couple of years. Shortly put it's a real surprise. Where Arnie acts in big budget movies only, Chuck Norris has become a TV star and Stephen Seagal is heading on the emotional tour, none of them has evolved the way Jean Claude has. It's a metamorphosis! The movie is still centered around action, but "Van Damme" makes you care. His character feels real enough, he's not the 'staring off in the distance' kind of muscle actor anymore. With age, he's gained bearing as well. The lines in his face, the way he acts without forcing his role. He is more patient, takes his time and it makes the roles he chooses more realistic.

It's time to look at the now... and Van Damme is in it!

(PS: He's come a long way even since this movie; Watch "Until Death" to see where it's taken him today.)
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9/10
Action Movies the way the ought to be made
timmy8867 August 2006
One word for this movie - 'AWESOME' Quite simply put, Nobody to my knowledge comes close to this guy, Van Damme, hes a breathing legend in his own right , trying dissuading us JCVD fans otherwise.

I saw all his movies in the late 80s and then from there went on to watch some of the movies he was in , in the 90s, and personally his presence on the big screen has almost always been memorable ones, in that all his movies are a big part of my 90s experience at the cinemas, or at home watching movies.

When I saw this movie I was probably over treated to the slick production, cool style, directing was VERY good too for this kind of movie, lot of directors fail but not this director JCVD astounded me with his gift of on screen martial arts and athleticism, a living testament to how to remain in good shape even in your 40s, and trust me i may be 27 but I'm no where near the level of this guy and i cycle/jog/ play soccer a lot.

To confess to being an action movie junkie and then to give this movie a miss would be sin, and your loss - as it has all the right ingredients one would except to see in a top quality spanking good action movie.

Its not just the action that this movie excels in depicting on screen, I thought J. Claude van Damme acted as good as any body prancing around on those over budget less than thrilling modern day big screen flicks in which all you get is a guy prancing around with a few corny lines to say and a weak plot.

J. Claude van Damme's character was played exceptionally well, the acting was 10/10 by him, i thought the movie was gripping, but more so extremely entertaining and enjoyable and satisfying to watch on a giant 56 inch plasma TV with my girl friend and a couple of beers beside us - Friday evenings just don't get better than this !

Shes no J. Claude van Damme fan, prefers some guy named Vin Diesel or something, never heard of him but anyway - she too was in confession of admitting that this movie was as good as any action movie she'd seen in the last quarter of the decade or so.

Great action scenes, cool story line, good character depiction on screen great acting - all in all a GEM of an action movie, MISS this movie at your own peril ! 9/10
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6/10
The art of war...
fmarkland3212 June 2006
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Ben Archer, a mob enforcer who declares war on the Hong Kong triad(Simon Yam) who murdered his wife. Of course we all know that revenge is a dish best served cold and suffice to say this is clearly what's on the menu here. Jean-Claude Van Damme's last two clunkers Derailed and In Hell were deadly serious and I for one was afraid that this one would fall into the same category as those two movies. However I was impressed with Wake Of Death. This is a well written, well acted and well made film which finds Van Damme in good form. One of the intriguing elements here is that Jean-Claude Van Damme is a not so good guy. For instance Van Damme's Uncle in the film seems like a nice guy until you see what he can do with a drill. Likewise Jean-Claude Van Damme abandons his split kicks(Made famous in Kickboxer and Bloodsport) for guns and unstylish punches which somehow add to the realism here. While some claim this to be Jean-Claude's best work, I can't quite agree. Yes this was good but it wasn't as fun as say Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Universal Soldier, Hard Target and Timecop. Still for a post-Sudden Death Van Damme effort, Wake Of Death emerges as the best.

* *1/2 out of 4-(Pretty good)
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10/10
One of Van Damme's Best Movies!
jeremyfredrikson3 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Van Damme fans who have been hoping for another BLOODSPORT will not find it in WAKE OF DEATH. However, those who have been hoping that Van Damme will appear in another high quality film of actual artistic merit (not just in the martial sense, but also in action, direction, and storytelling) will be very happy to see this film!

Van Damme turns in one of his finest acting performances in this one. He does a great job handling awkward silences (you'll smile when he is introduced to a little girl), pent up rage (you'll sweat along with one of the villains as Van Damme interrogates him), and moments of tragedy (I won't give anything away, but Van Damme is completely believable in these very difficult to perform scenes). The film also delivers the goods when it comes to the action. Sure there are the usual (and perfectly performed!) high kicks and punches, but there are also surprisingly effective (and surprising in general!) moments of gun-play, and knock down drag 'em out violence (mafia style!). There is also a terrific car chase (great sound effects!) and one dynamite motorcycle chase (inside a shopping mall!). For those of you who prefer Hong Kong action, one of the henchmen is played by a champion wushu performer. For those who prefer more reality based methods of combat, there are plenty of punches, low kicks, guns, and even...gulp...drills!

The director also does a fine job, and definitely knows how to deliver shock and suspense, in the same way that the better horror directors do. Sometimes you are taken completely by surprise at things that happen, and other times you know things are coming, and you still can't take your eyes off the screen to see how the character who doesn't know what's coming will react.

All in all, this is definitely one of JC's best works. To be fair, I'm not really a big fan of BLOODSPORT. Sure, it was Van Damme's big breakthrough film (and he did a great job in it, there's no denying!), and Bolo made a great villain (you absolutely HATE his character in that movie which is exactly what you are supposed to do!), but the storyline was very basic (a bunch of fighters fight in a tournament, woo hoo!), the dialogue was pretty embarrassing ("Look...he's fighting like a...such and such kind of an animal!" No, really? I never would have known had you not told me. Thanks a lot. Jeeze!), and there was no real lesson, moral, emotional content, or...point?...to the story, other than, I guess, that you are supposed to want Van Damme's character to win because he's the good guy, and he does win because...he's the good guy, and...it was written in the script. The point of me bashing BLOODSPORT (and again, even I will admit it does have some merit) is to give a little clue to reasons why some people hate JC's newer movies. There are those that love BLOODSPORT, KICKBOXER, LIONHEART, and maybe THE QUEST which are his purest fighting films (the ones where he loves yelling, "Come, on!" to his opponents...even sometimes when it seems like they're beating him!). These people have good reason for not liking his newer flicks, as they are just not like those classics, and will probably not please most who are looking for that kind of film.

Then there are those who, like me, prefer MAXIMUM RISK, HARD TARGET, DEATH WARRANT, UNIVERSAL SODIER (1 not 2!), TIMECOP, REPLICANT, IN HELL, and...uh, hum...NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER (Okay, I admit it! That is a VERY fun little flick, and no Van Damme fan should go without seeing it!). For those of you who like ALL of his films (I kind of fall into this category as well as I seem to only REALLY hate STREETFIGHTER...P...U...!!!), or those who like the ones I listed (the ones with a little less martial and a little more art), you should definitely give WAKE OF DEATH a chance. I wouldn't be surprised if you, too, find yourself adding it to your list of favorites.

Keep heading in this direction Van Damme, combining the martial (don't abandon that aspect, in fact, you can still add more!) with the art!
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10/10
Great to See Van Damme Back !
whpratt118 May 2006
In this film, Claude Van Damme, (Ben Archer) is starting to burn out from his past method of making a living and decides to leave his present position and just enjoy his sexy good looking wife and son. Ben Archer has a beautiful home and one night his wife brings home a young girl at the age of 14, who wound up in a jail with all kinds of people who are transporting drugs. Ben's wife is a social worker and wants to help this innocent your gal. Well, from this point on in the picture, everything goes completely crazy, with lots of blood, torture with drills and plenty of car chases. Great action filled film and well worth your time to view and enjoy.
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8/10
van Damme is back
RayNou13 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Van Damme mates the last 6 or 7 years not so good movies, but in hell or replicate were good movies. This movie "wake of death" is a excellent action flick. van Damme is a very good actor and we can see that in "wake of death" or in "in hell". Wake of Death is a very good action movie. the action is excellent, the story is good and the actors, too. I love this van Damme movie and i hope and i believe that van Dammes next movies are very good. i think second in command will not so good, but hard corps or Kumite will the action/cinema hit in the next years. i love Jcvd and his movies. he rules:-)

Van Damme is Back!!!!
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