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DIRECTOR: Ernie Barbarash
CAST: Jean-Claude van Damme, Joe Flanigan and Anna-Louise Plowman
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
Many people frown upon Jean-Claude Van Damme’s films today and that’s just plain disrespectful.
Most of our childhoods are filled with memories of titles like Nowhere To Run, Universal Soldier and Bloodsport which were all from the man. Of course, audiences have grown a little more sophisticated so blowing up things and having cool martial arts moves is not enough anymore. With special effects technology reaching incredible levels, people will go to watch Avatar any day over Rambo 8 or another instalment of Universal Soldier. It is just where the public is at as far as preferences are concerned. But if Van Damme and his peers insist on making these movies someone out there must be watching them.
It’s with that in mind that we present Six Bullets, another Van Damme offering that works. It has to be said that at 52, the man still looks lean and agile like a young athlete. That said, in this one Van Damme shies away from the obvious karate kicks and prefers guns instead. Also, it is interesting that he shares his usual heroic screen-time with his cast members, making him a team player as opposed to the obvious hero we have come to know him as.
Van Damme stars as Samson Gaul, a well-known ex-mercenary who is now popular for finding missing children. When business is low, Gaul is a simple butcher who is interested in nothing else but keeping a low profile. When an American couple asks for his help in finding their daughter, Gaul reluctantly takes on the case.
Interestingly, the kid’s father, Andrew Fayden (Flanigan) is a martial artist and that dilutes Van Damme’s usual intimidating lead role.
Also, Kristopher Van Varenberg plays Gaul’s son, Selwyn, further taking away chunks of Van Damme’s usual portion of the limelight. The father and son relationship is bittersweet and depends heavily on the mission at hand to succeed. The kidnappers of Fayden’s kid, Becky (Charlotte Beaumont) are dangerous professional human traffickers whose payday comes from selling little girls for sex to influential men. Becky is running out of time and her parents, and the Gauls, need to figure out how to get to her fast before she is sold, raped or killed.
It almost reads like the script of Liam Neeson’s Taken, but there are more fight scenes and it’s a little more pacey. The usual cheese that is associated with Van Damme is avoided. Also, unlike in his older films, the seasoned actor does not get any woman into bed in this one. At some point that was in every movie he starred in. I guess at 52, you can only have so much energy.
Six Bullets will not be mentioned at the Oscars next year, nor will you remember it a month from now. That said, for 93 minutes, you will be glued to the screen wondering what will come next. It is that entertaining.
If you liked Taken and xXx then you will like this.