Pound of Flesh – 2 out of 5
The last time I sought out a Jean-Claude Van Damme film was JCVD and it really changed my opinion of the guy. His performance in it was pretty amazing. However, before that, I really haven’t sought out his work for a long time. Even in his glory days, I wasn’t never really a big fan. Sure, I watched Bloodsport, Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Timecop and Street Fighter but I’ve never been a big fan. However, the story of Pound of Flesh interested me…
|JCVD is pulling off a Ian Malcolm look in this film.|
Deacon (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a former special forces agent who travels to the Philippines in order to donate his kidney to his niece. However, after stopping a woman in distress and spending the night with her, he wakes up to find his kidney gone. Now he must team with his brother George (John Ralston), a former enemy who has since become a confidant (Aki Aleong) and the woman who got him into this whole mess in the first place (Charlotte Peters) in order to get his kidney back before it’s too late.
|I have bad kidneys, so I welcome someone to steal mine. The joke would be on you, buster!|
Sure, the concept may sound a little silly but, if it was done right, it could have been a nice throwback to the action spectacles of the 80s. Heck, that’s the whole reason I was sold on this film was because I thought it was going to be a mindless action film where JCVD is hell bent on getting his kidney back from some black market organ thieves and a whole lot of kicks to the face, explosions and bullets ripping bad guys apart was suppose to follow…I didn’t get that.
|He's imagining all the things that should have happened in this film.|
|Yep, I pulled a muscle in my groin just looking at this.|
Realistically, there’s not much wrong with Pound of Flesh. Sure, some of the acting isn’t the most memorable but it’s passable and works. Sure, there are some issues with the green screen car scenes. It smacks of being green screened and looks fake as hell. It even makes for some awkwardness as, when the camera goes in for a angled shot, makes the car looks like it is driving sideways because all the traffic and the direction the car is going is in a direction that is forward—forward as long as the camera is at the front of the interior and shooting the passengers dead on.
|The angle makes it look like the car is driving partially sideways...|
and that a car is coming to hit the brother character at any second.
These are all minor issues that I could have easily looked over if the film focused entirely on Van Damme smashing faces in order to reclaim his stolen body part but the whole film suffers from something else: It creates too much boredom. The movie takes itself too seriously and when you combine that with fight sequences that feel lethargic and are only obligatorily thrown in, it makes for a film that drags a lot and something that was very difficult to get engaged by.
|"This is a fight scene, why are you showing me your penis?"|
There are parts where the film works and works well. It starts intriguing enough, there’s a great ending to it, some of the action is definitely satisfying and Jean-Claude Van Damme is doing a very good job as Deacon but those elements can’t save Pound of Flesh from how often the film is dragged down by its own sense of self-importance. The movie didn’t need to be such a joyless, overtly serious film. A lighter approach probably would have helped a lot because the premise is pretty hard to take as seriously as the film wants you to take it. Overall, it’s not a bad film but it definitely wasn’t a very engaging piece of work.
|It doesn't help either that this is one of the film's bad guys. I get it the hair makes you hate him|
but there has to be easier ways to dislike your antagonists.