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Assassination Games (2011)

November 12, 2011

MY CALL:  A solid straight-to-DVD action flick.  For that college-rental sort of category, it gets a B+.  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  This made me want to re-watch Double Impact and Undisputed II-III where they each shined brightest.  To keep with hitman flicks, maybe The Mechanic.  I liked it, but Mark was less of a fan.  Here’s  his review.  Maybe The Professional, The Big Hit, In Bruges for  some dark comedy, or Grosse Point Blank  for a straight up comedy.

I was way-stoked about this one.  I mean, c’mon.  Scott Adkins (Ninja, Undisputed II) and Van Damme (The Quest, Bloodsport)?  I’m  there!  Hell, I was there yesterday.

The opener is Van Damme disguised in some hideous sideburns performing a clever assassination of some Euro-mob father-of-the-bride.  Well done, and already more promising than most of Van Damme’s work in the past decade. Thankfully, the sideburns do not endure throughout the movie.  What does is some surprisingly decent camera work, abrupt but good combat work, and not so surprisingly mediocre acting.  Van Damme has a hitman-chic, secret bachelor pad, a cute turtle, and a violin collection.

Then we cut to Scott Adkins, who is sponge-bathing the catatonic wife in a bedroom the size of
a quadriplex.  Oh, yeah, he’s also a hitman.  These guys both agree to do the same job, end up planning on doing it at the same time, and it gets botched.  They fight.  They make up.  They work together.  To give the stars some flavor, some concepts were clearly borrowed from other movies. Adkins pulls some a la-The Professional vanishing acts while Van Damme has a rather Transporter-ish unwelcomed female guest (who also smacks of an older, emotion-evoking Natalia Portman from The Professional).  These are over embellishments, of course.

Some interesting things stuck out in this movie.  1)  The filmmakers really tried to make this
good—for a straight-to-DVD action flick they did, but I won’t dare suggest it should’ve been in theaters.  2)  Time is a strong element.  I think they were going for a subtle motif, but it is way in your face.  3)  Neither hitman needs the money.  They kill to fill some other void.  4) Van Damme hasn’t been working out nearly as much as Adkins.  5)  My favorite character was the turtle.

In other good news, Adkins will be working with Van Damme again in Universal Soldier: A New Dimension and The Expendables II, and then with Michael Jai White (also of Undefeated II, Blood and Bone, Never Back Down 2) in El Gringo.  Here’s some more martial arts goodness to come (click here).

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