If you’re a Hong Kong director in America, your first movie is always with Van Damme. Ringo Lam, you’re up next.
Originally known as The Exchange and then Bloodstone, this movie was written by Scary Movie duo Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer but not credited to them. Credit went to Larry Ferguson, who wrote the remake of Rollerball as well as Highlander, The Hunt for Red October and The Presidio.
Alain Moreau (Van Damme) is a cop in Nice, France. After he attends a fellow cop’s funeral, his partner shows up and brings him to a crime scene. That’s when we rewind our minds and remember how the movie started, with a man who suspiciously looked like Van Damme getting killed.
That person is Mikhail Suvorov, who was born on the same day as Alain. He tracks the man’s past down to New York City and learns that the man was his twin brother. The Russian mafia and the FBI are all mixed up in this, with only his brother’s fiancee Alex (Natasha Henstridge) telling him the truth.
The fights are much grittier in this than any other JCVD film I’ve seen. It certainly has style and no small amount of blood.
My wife — who has had to endure more than twenty Van Damme movies in less than a week — said, “Finally, one of these was actually pretty good.” That’s about as glowing of a review as you’re going to get out of her, Jean-Claude.