Action stars are not what they used to be, at least if you look at the action films that are released today with new young actors. I always hope to see new talents, because i do believe we need new action stars, so we can have a future with martial arts, guns, explosions, all those wonderful details that makes you jump on the roof of your car out of joy. I am 44 years old, and i grew up in the 80´s when action films made a huge impact worldwide. Those were the days when you did not know what romantic comedies were, we just wanted to see serious acting, macho diaogue and a lot of guns. You did not care about what makes sense, we just needed some mucsle guys fighting, and we felt like it was our perfect home. Back in those days, all we knew were the following rules:
* Blow up building first, ask questions later.
* If you have extra ammo, use it all, don´t think too much.
* If you can do special kicks, do them a lot, and make sure the guys who get them don´t stand up again.
* If someone is cocky, use at least 46 punches, so they learn their lesson.
Speaking of action films, we do have a few action film legends that will forever impact this world. And one of the greatest action legends of all time, is of course the action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, also known as The Muscles From Brussels. Van Damme have delivered so many great action films such as Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Cyborg, Lionheart, Double Impact, Universal Soldier, the list never ends. One of my earliest Van Damme memories at the VHS store, was the first time i picked up Kickboxer on the renting shelves back in 1990. I still remember the cover of this film, and at that time i was probably too young to see this film. But thanks to a dad of family friend, we got to see this film anyway. Kickboxer turned out to be one of the coolest films i have seen during that time, and i still remember how i tried to do round kicks in front of the TV. Did not go very well, i actually accidently hit my sister, but she revenged me by hitting me with a snow showel. Kickboxer tells the story of Kurt Sloane ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ), who is the younger brother and cornerman of Eric Sloane ( Dennis Alexio ), the United States kickboxing world champion. After a successfull title defense, the media asks Eric what he will do next. When a reporter mention that Thailand might be something he should look into, Eric is convinced he can defeat any champion there. A fight between Eric and Thailand´s undefeated top fighter Tong Po ( Michel Qissi ) is arranged, as the brothers travel to Bangkok. The fight ends badly, where Eric is paralyzed from the waist down and will never be able to walk again. Kurt is devestated, and is determined to revenge his brother, by training to fight Tong Po. If you want a really good martial arts action film, seeing Van Damme make some special kicks, Kickboxer is a must see. For a while i have been following social media about the making of the latest Van Damme film The Last Mercenary. I have been really pumped up for this film, being a huge fan of this legendary action actor. Is this the best Van Damme film in many years, or is The Last Mercenary more horrible, than we ever could have predicted?
A mysterious former secret service agent known as Richard Brumére ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ), must urgently return to France when his estranged son Archibald Al Mahmoud ( Samir Decazza ), is falsely accused of arms and drugs trafficking by the government. Richard have to find a way to make sure, that his son will be secure.
Just to let you know, if you are expecting to see a pure action film, with only Van Damme doing his special kicks, you might need to go into this film with an open mind. Because this film is definetely trying to have a good time with the traditional action genre, by using a lot of comedy. I would probably say that this is a throwback to the action comedies of the 90´s. It´s got that tone, that you would be familiar with, from that time period. I personally appreciate that legendary action actor Jean-Claude Van Damme as the character Richard, can make fun of himself, that he does not try and be serious, in everything that he does. He have proved in the past, that he can be funny. And in the case of The Last Mercenary, he is definetely the highlight in this film. Not only because of his funny character, but he knows how to put on a show, in his own unique way. With that said, what about the rest of the cast? Actor Samir Decacca as the character Archibald, is actually surprisingly good. Not on the same level as Van Damme, but there is something charming about Archibald´s character, even if he definetely is having personal problems. The rest of the cast is very divided. Some of them go into their character in a positive way, while some does not leave any bigger impact. So what about the action scenes? The fighting scenes that i am sure a lot of Van Damme fans have been waiting for, you will get some fighting in this film. Maybe not as much as i was hoping for, but i believe the reason to that, is that they were focusing more to tell a story, than just delivering fight scenes. When it comes to traditional action scenes, we do get some here as well. Is this a future classic Van Damme film? I am sure a lot of fans will appreciate this film, but it can´t reach the same level as his classics. And that´s ok, because i still think this is an entertaining film. I probably would have wanted to see Van Damme do a little bit more special kicks, but im happy that he at least brought some fight scenes, for his old school fans. Director David Charhon ( who have directed 3 comedy films in the past ) manage to make a film that definetely feels inspired by VHS action comedies of the 90´s, in a positive way. If this is your kind of genre, and you love Van Damme, you should definetely give this film a chance. The Last Mercenary proves why we need a legendary action hero in our lives, and Jean-Claude knows exactly how to charm his audience.