This may be the worst Jean-Claude van Damme flick I have ever watched (with the possible exception of 1998’s Knock-Off)
I say “I have watched” since the flick received a 75% critical approval (based on 12 reviews) on rottentomatoes.com. On the other hand, the pic received only a 29% audience approval rating. (Now there’s a switch!) ” Enemies Closer belongs to a category of old-school action movies usually associated with the direct-to-video market: lean, brisk, and distinguished by a clean visual style and an emphasis on practical stuntwork over effects,” writes AV Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (apparently his real name.) RT “Super Reviewer” Phil Hubbs agrees the pic reminds him of old school action flicks “but not in a good way … its like going back in time and watching a straight to videoshop Seagal flick.” Ouch!
The alleged plot has something to do with a soft-spoken park ranger (Tom Everett Scott), an ex-con looking for revenge (Orlando Jones) and a wonky French-Canadian bad guy (Van Damme) who lectures his gang on environmental sins when he is not trying to salvage a haul of drugs from a downed airplane and nonchalantly killing people with his bare hands (and feet.)
Mr. Van Damme hams it up, Mr. Jones (who is listed as one of 13 associate producers, executive producers, co-producers, line producers and just plain Producers) acts like he is in from a gritty urban adventure flick and Mr. Scott just looks confused.
Part of the problem may be that JCVD and company seem to have trouble deciding whether they are filming a straight-ahead thriller or a parody of a thriller. I guess it depended on the mood of director Peter Hyams and the pic’s mercurial star from day to day (that may explain Mr. van Damme’s flamboyant hairstyle and odd hair color.)
Either that or first-time screenwriters Eric and James Bromberg have a lot to answer for (don’t call them, they’ll call you).
Oh well, at least the movie provided employment for Kris van Damme ( Six Bullets, Assassination Games) and film editor John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Regeneration). I guess Will Smith isn’t the only one “stranded on the Planet Nepotism” (to borrow a phrase from the Razzie Awards.)
PS Director Peter Hyams was behind the camera for 1994’s Timecop (back in the days when JCVD’s pix were still playing in the North American multiplex.) Rumor has it Timecop is being rebooted – but without Monsieur van Damme in the title role.