I was recently going through a list of movies that will turn 30 years old this year. 1989 had a lot of great films released that year, especially in the action genre. I recently did a 30 Years Anniversary review of the Sylvester Stallone classic Tango & Cash. If you have not read that review you are welcome to check it out, posted earlier this month. 1989 had great films such as Blind Fury, a Rutger Hauer classic where a blind man uses his sword to kill bad guys. We have to mention that this was the year when Lethal Weapon 2 was released, a sequel that is actually really good with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. I have to mention a horror classic, that is known as The Horror Show ( also called House 3 by some fans ) with legendary actors Lance Henriksen and Brion James. One of the reasons why The Horror Show is such a great horror film, is the performance from Brion James. I personally think this is his best acting performance in his career. Let´s continue talking about wovies released in 1989. This year legendary action actor Jean - Claude Van Damme released 2 films known as Cyborg and Kickboxer. Cyborg is a fun apocayptic action film with lots of fighting, but also some drama scenes as well. Kickboxer is the best film that Van Damme did this year, and is one of his biggest classics. Kickboxer had a great story, and especially some really good fighting scenes. Van Damme continued making films in Hollywood, up into the late 90´s. After some personal problems, he continued making films for other film studios and never stopped making films. And the list of films he have done over the years is incredible, you can tell that he have been very active. I can´t say i have enjoyed every film, but a lot of them are good. So let´s talk about some that i think you should see. Wake Of Death, released in 2004 from director Phillipe Martinez ( who is a producer of the Richard Gere film The Flock ). Wake Of Death is a great looking action film, and worked so well thanks to the combination of fighting scenes, as well as the action scenes. The next film i have to mention is the 2008 film known as JCVD, where Van Damme got many film critics to praise his acting. The truth is that JCVD proved that he can act, and this is one of his better films in his career. Last year i was hearing some very positive reviews about Van Damme´s film known as The Bouncer ( also known as Lukas in some countries ), especially for his acting performance. Of course i had to check this film out, so had to get a Blu Ray copy from Germany. Is this the best Van Damme film for many years, or should he go back to his traditional concept ?
Lukas ( Jean - Claude Van Damme ) is fired from his job as a night club bouncer, after a man is accidently killed. He is forced to find a new job, so he can support his daughter Sarah ( Alice Verset ). Lukas goes for a job interview at a strip club, where they need a new bouncer. He gets the job from club owner Jan Dekkers ( Sam Louwyck ). Lukas realize that Jan is doing a lot of criminal activities, especially money laundring. Criminal investigator Maxim Zeroual ( Sam Bouajila ) confront Lukas with a suggestion, he will help him and give him information on what criminal activities Jan is doing, and he will make sure that Lukas daughter is safe. Lukas agree on the offer, but he soon realize that this could become more complicated than he expected. Is it too late for Lukas to find a way out, from his miserable life ?
It has been a while since i have seen Van Damme do a really good film. And i am happy to say that The Bouncer is his best film since JCVD. There are a number of reasons why The Bouncer is better than a lot of his films in recent years. Van Damme is acting much better than you would expect in The Bouncer, and you can tell that he have tried to dig deep into his character. You have an interesting plot about a man with a rough past, trying to do everything he can to make the life for his daughter as good as possible. One thing that works really well in this film is the drama scenes, where Van Damme get to show his great acting. You can feel his anger, and the frustration of being stuck with his life. If you are worried that there are no fighting scenes, there are some scenes here and they do look great. But it is not only Van Damme that deliver some good acting. I also enjoy the acting from child actress Alice Verse, who gives a solid performance. Actor Sami Bouajila ( who you might have seen in the good films Days Of Glory ( 2006 ) and The Crew ( 2015 ) also gives a solid performance as Maxim. I have to mention actress Sveva Alviti ( who you probably have seen in the film Dalita ) as the character Lisa, a woman who clearly have a lot of personal problems. There is especially one scene where Lisa tell you about her past, and you get a sense that she have a good heart, but choosed the wrong path. The strip club scenes are very dark, and this fits really well with the tone of this film, since you feel that this is a very sad story. I think a film like The Bouncer needs to feel sad, to make another impact on you. This is not supposed to be a story about hope, this is a story about dealing with a life where you can´t see a light in the tunnel. Director Julien Leclerclq ( who also directed The Crew that i mentioned earlier ) have made a film that clearly shows that Van Damme is a powerful actor. That he gets a chance to show that he knows more than just fighting, and he knows how to give us a strong character. Julien also knows how to tell a story in the life of criminals, without making it too predictable. I also have to mention that director Julien have managed to capture the strong relationship between father and daughter, and not using too much dialogue is a very good idea. The Bouncer may not be the best film Van Damme have made in his career, but this is his best film since JCVD. I suggest you support The Bouncer and buy a DVD or Blu Ray, this is a must have in your Van Damme collection.