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” in case you were wondering.) might not seem terribly original now, with its power ballads and “I don’t know whether to fight you, or fuck you” dialogue, but the execution and simplicity of it all still make for a fine slice of entertainment, and the fight scenes still rank amongst my most watched from that era – it’s the martial arts equivalent of came left of centre at a time when the general public had chosen to simply write Van Damme off as capable of nothing more than straight to video-action-movies.
To the film's credit - even to a loyal fan - it was still a shock to the system, with its rather depressing depiction of one man trapped inside the notion of celebrity, while destined to make the same kind of movie ad infinitum for the rest of his career.
I’d waited most of my life to see the two of them face off, and the scene plays out to perfection, resulting in one of my favourite fights ever committed to celluloid, which I think says it all.
then it was Van Damme’s second collaboration with director Peter Hyams that resulted in arguably his most accessible and mainstream movie to date.
His appearance, combined with the humour and gloriously obscene amounts of carnage (the opening sequence has to be one of the greatest starts to an action movie yet) made supersede everything that was great about the first entry.
It was a real thrill to see him back on the big screen again, and there was a real sense of dedication to the role, as he makes the most of every line and every action, savouring the moment that would see audiences cheer his first appearance in the film.
As I stated in my review of , I grew up at a time when action movie sequels went straight to video, so the mere fact that the franchise has given not just Van Damme, but stars like Lundgren and Norris a chance to shine on cinema screens once more, makes the film even more of a special event.
As movie geeks, I’m sure we all have favourites that never quite achieved the success we wished for them – in the martial arts/action world alone, the list would be absolutely huge, with names like Michael Dudikoff, Richard Norton and David Bradley springing to mind from back in the day, as well as the more contemporary direct to video stars such as Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins, who still maintain the tradition of making solid action flicks for those of us who simply can’t get enough.So naturally, adding two roles for the Muscles from Brussels to play in one film, giving his underrated comic delivery a chance to spar with itself, as polar opposite characters, made leap to the top of my chart.It also features a few scenes that are overlooked in action cinema - in particular a frantic fight scene on a boat, trafficking bootlegged cars, that features double the kickassery." Which brings me nicely to , for my money VD’s most underappreciated film, and one which allowed him to play two even more diverse characters under one roof – there’s notorious serial killer of mothers Van Damme and slightly special, puppy dog Van Damme, who’s cloned from the DNA of his murderous counterpart.It’s delivered in such a unique and profound manner, which I certainly wasn’t prepared for, and is made all the more powerful when delivered by a man who is subjected to hero worship and held up to be an infallible icon – which is utterly at the core of what Van Damme is so torn up about during his speech.It’s a sublime moment in a great film, and thoroughly worth a watch if you’ve been undecided up to this point.