release year: 1989
viewing setting: home Bluray, 6/2/13
synopsis: Various people do various things in a post-apocalyptic world.
impressions: I vaguely recalled watching this movie in a previous life (around 1990, long before I wrote reviews or even really paid attention to movies I watched, for that matter.) When it showed up as part of a 3-pack on Bluray with another movie I wanted, I thereby ended up owning it. Eventually, I decided that I needed to watch it and relive the wonder of a young Van Damme's second starring role. Unfortunately...while he did fine, the movie was just weird. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where bandits reign supreme, the plot involves a young woman who's got information that can lead to a cure for the plague. Apparently this plague isn't a big problem, as only one person in the entire movie is seen to have it. To make things stranger, the woman with the information is a cyborg of some kind, which makes you wonder why such technology isn't in evidence anywhere else in the movie. Hell, if it was me, I'd have built a cyborg more along the lines of the Terminator, because that would have been useful against all the bandits. Ah, bandits. Let's talk about them. They consist of a bunch of huge musclebound guys and a couple of hot women, all wearing cloaks and chainmail and rags as they either sit around sharpening their knives or else roam the land aimlessly. This aimlessness is possibly due to their leader, a tall wiry guy with bad teeth and the need for violence. He also has piercing blue eyes - he's the male Meg Foster! He's also not very smart, because he has no purpose...he just leads his people around for whatever purpose he thinks is important at the time. For most of the movie, they chase Van Damme's character, their numbers gradually dwindling as they leave their home base area, hijack and then abandon a boat, run through the sewers...this gang had the potential to rule the land, if only they didn't waste time. Again, I blame it on the leader. Another thing: names. All of these characters have names, but it's odd to hear them used and realize that they HADN'T YET BEEN USED UNTIL THAT POINT in the movie...in other words, there's no scene like "hi, my name is Nady, can I follow you around?" This happened a lot in 1960s and 1970s movies, but you'd think the trend would have died by 1989. Finally, there were some logic loopholes, like how can a guy who got crucified recover AND get ahead of the bad guys who had a head start on him? Sigh. Anyway, on to the positives: action, action, action. A lot of people fight and die in this movie, and a number of weapons are brought to bear. There's also a cute woman who decides to accompany Van Damme on his mission, even after he rejects her advances after watching her prance around nude in the ocean surf. Good times.
asses kicked by Van Damme: 15
times Van Damme got his ass kicked: 3
body count: 33
acting: Jean-Claude Van Damme does fine as a sort of mercenary who's also out for revenge. Deborah Richter is the cute woman who follows him around and occasionally helps him. Vincent Klyn is the freaky leader of the bandits, who seems to enjoy being punched, kicked, and stabbed in the final battle. Dayle Haddon is the cyborg woman, who utters some really stupid lines. Gigantic Ralf Moller plays the largest of the bandit horde.
final word: Entertaining, but not one of the classics.
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