Saturday, September 13, 2014
Now that Jean-Claude has been taking more self-deprecating roles in films like the comedic WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE and the semi-autobiographical JCVD, it will be exciting to discover what's in store for him as he moves further into the next stage of his career.
Van Damme, first seen in ENEMIES CLOSER wearing a Mountie uniform, sports a wild blond hairstyle and is prone to monologuing about veganism, geese, wild fruit, or nothing in particular. His loosey-goosey performance is by far the highlight of ENEMIES CLOSER. It may even be good enough on its own to make the film worth your while.
Van Damme isn’t the only reason to watch, however. The plot and dialogue are nothing original, but Hyams does well with the tried-and-true premise of two men who don’t like one another, but have to work together to survive against a common enemy.
Tom Everett Scott (THAT THING YOU DO!) plays a park ranger who moved to a remote station near the Canadian border to relax after a tough tour in Afghanistan. Orlando Jones (SLEEPY HOLLOW), one of handfuls of credited producers (as is '80s action king Joel Silver), shows up one night with a shotgun and a promise to kill Scott for supposedly abandoning his brother behind enemy lines.
Just before Jones can get his revenge, he’s interrupted by Van Damme, who appears on the island with a small army of gunmen to retrieve a small plane loaded with heroin that crashed nearby. From there, the film is a little bit DIE HARD, a little bit THE DEFIANT ONES, and a little bit fun.
Hyams, a terrific director of action in movies like CAPRICORN ONE, THE RELIC, THE PRESIDIO, and BUSTING, does a good job staging the fights. He also had expert assistance from his son, John Hyams, who edited ENEMIES CLOSER and has directed some fine direct-to-video pictures himself, including two UNIVERSAL SOLDIER sequels starring Van Damme.