I’ve gone through a few reviews of “Assassination Games” just to check out other opinions (I would’ve watched it anyway though), and to be honest, most of the opinions were positive.
Film’s budget was “low”, only 4-5 mil., almost everything was shot in Romania…, and I bet you’re thinking this is another crappy low-budget Van Damme action flick. Well, its not.
In the center of the story we have two powerful (in every sense of the word) characters. Both are mercenaries. Both are killers. Both are professionals. One is Vincent Brazil (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a quiet loner, a knife specialist, and who doesn’t care about anything but his job (Yes, he calls himself “a weapon”).
The other one, Roland Flint, is different. He’s a sniper, a martial arts expert, but also a caring husband to his wife, who got gangraped by the film’s main villain. Naturally, now Flint driven by revenge, wants paypack.
Dirty cops and criminals set up both of the assassins making them go up against each other. However, they decide to join forces and finish off the bad guys, while following their own interests along the way.
Now, as the story develops we get to see that both Brazil and Flint have a common weak point – feelings. Brazil gets in trouble because he doesnt care about anyone, Flint is being manipulated because of his wife, who’s in coma.
One thing I did not like about both Flint and Brazil – lack of rage. The younger Van Damme always looked cool and tough. The older Van Damme, if enraged, is scary (Replicant, anyone?), and in my opinion, second only to enraged Robert De Niro.
In here, Van Damme’s character is everything but emotional, he throws knives, kills, fights, takes money, delivers his lines, even plays the damn violin – without any emotions. With Scott Adkins it’s a little different – he suffers a lot throughout the whole movie, and he, as well, doesn’t get a chance to release all that’s boiling inside of him.
“Assassination Games” is more of a thriller than an action movie, as there’s just as much drama as there’s action. Scott Adkins does get to fight a couple of time, as does Van Damme (although they do use one double for him in one scene), yet fighting and action are not the strongest points of the picture.
Personally, I was watching this for the actors and the characters. Director Ernie Barbarash did a great job with the budget he had, and as a result we have a solid thriller, and a Va Damme movie that went into theaters.
Oh yes, also a great promotion for Van Damme’s kids who also appear in the film (Bianca and Kristopher Van Varenberg). Recommended.
BZFILM SCALE: 7/10
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