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Bob Misiorowski, USA/Germany, 2002
Rating: 1.1

Posted: November 10, 2002

If one piece of work could ever keep a performer from being featured on Bravo's Inside The Actor's Studio, this is it. Jean Claude Van Damme's performance is stiffer than a cigar store Indian with an erection. Listen, when I see a Van Damme movie I'm not expecting to see My Dinner With Andre or North By Northwest, but even with "adjusted expectations" this is just a disaster. Here's the gist of the story: reluctant agent gets called to duty, there's some deadly biological weapon, bad guys chase the agent, and it's on a train. Oh yeah, there's lots of kicking. Van Damme comes across as totally dispassionate about whatever he happens to be doing. Sure, he beats up some bad guys and even throws in a half hearted spin kick or two, but it still left me strangely empty inside. I'm old school, and if an ass beating is on the menu, give me Steven Seagal breaking a guy's arm backwards at the elbow, or Chuck Norris repeatedly slamming a terrorist's head in a car door. There's a genius there that can't be denied, or in this case, duplicated. The script is not worthy of Jean Claude Van Damme, and yes, I am fully cognizant of the gravity of that statement. Here is proof positive that you can have a film with explosions, gunplay, and martial arts, have it take place on a speeding train (sounds like it almost writes itself doesn't it) and yield little more than a cloud of apathy. Given a choice, I'm willing to see the glass as half full, but there's got to be enough water in the glass to make me care.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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