REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — December 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm

REVIEW: Enemies Closer (2013)

enemies-closer-2013A plane, carrying a big pack of drugs falls into a lake in a remote park, near the US-Canadian border.

It doesn’t take long before a gang of ruthless French-speaking mercenaries, led by Xander (Jean-Claude Van Damme) arrive in the area, searching for the lost cargo.

Local park ranger Henry (Tom Everett Scott), a former Navy seal, is not aware of this incident, and he has enough of his own problems – as Clay (Orlando Jones), man driven by revenge, tracks Henry with an intention to avenge his brother’s death, for which he blames Henry.

When the Frenchies start killing off other rangers, and eventually stumble on Henry and Clay, the two enemies have to work together to stay alive.

“Enemies Closer” left a really good impression, thanks, mostly to Jean-Claude Van Damme. The ageing action star plays a very vivid, interesting character, who is, in short, a complete nutcase.

Xander is arguably Van Damme’s best villain role since “Replicant”, and way better than Jean Vilain from “Expendables 2”. Xander is a former military, an avid vegetarian, and doesn’t spare anyone who stands in his way. He also knows martial arts (surprise!), and wanders around the forest, eating berries. Van Damme’s son Chris also stars in the film as one of Xander’s henchmen.

“Enemies Closer” is directed by Peter Hyams, who has previously worked with Van Damme on Timecop (1994) and Sudden Death (1995).

The action mostly takes place on an open ground, as the leading characters run through the park’s forest, occasionally shooting at each other, fighting, and stabbing one another with knives.

The film is very straight forward, so the story wise, except for a very obvious twist, there is nothing to highlight. Action is good, there are not too many fights, but Van Damme (as well as his son, finally!) gets to show off some martial arts.

Speaking of Chris Van Varenberg (credited as Chris Van Damme in the film), the young man should finally start thinking about making his own movies – he has the looks, the skills, and could easily be making his own action movies.

“Enemies Closer” does have some downsides, one of which is the budget, which was only $5 million (IMDb). This is not surprising, considering some Bulgarian actors, and basically the whole Bulgarian crew that worked behind the camera.

Another downside is that some scenes are shot rather carelessly. One such example is the last scene with Xander on the boat, towards the end of the film. In some scenes Van Damme’s double can be clearly seen doing some action, instead of the actor himself – a rather annoying thing when you actually notice it.

Aside from the above, “Enemies Closer” is a neat DTV action film, which should be better accepted, compared to other of Van Damme’s recent DTV movies, since his character in the film really stands out, and carries the whole story on his shoulders.

So, keep your friends close, and enemies closer. Recommended for viewing at least once.




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