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what a great meta movie this is. jean claude van damme plays himself and gets caught up in a robbery. that's the premise and it is awesome. this is no action film, although there is action and this is no thriller, although it plays like one. no, it's pretty much a drama and a meditation on the live of jcvd.
how much of this movie is true in regards to jc's life i cannot say. i was tempted to look it up after watching it now but i figured i's write about it first and then look it up just so i don't ruin or influence my writing. as of now i am going to believe that most of it is true.
what makes this movie so great is two things. the first is the story and the script which is smart, seriously meta and just well written. it blends reality with fiction in a way that makes this seem very real (at least in regards to jc). it's also funny, sad, dramatic, thrilling and very original.
the second, and most important thing, that makes this movie work is the acting. all the acting is good but everyone pales in comparison (and who thought that this would ever of been said?) to jcvd. he is a revelation here. if you have ever seen one of his movies before you, like me, probably never saw this coming. what a performance, and his monologue to the audience near the end, wow, it almost had me in tears.
what stops this from being a 4 and a half star film though is two major issues. the first is the music. there are are moments when the music is awesome but then there are moments where the music is just not very good, or at least not as fitting as it could be.
the second issue is the cinematography. now the opening long take is fantastic, and the monologue scene is great too and the framing of all the shots is really well done and well captured. but the lighting is a little off and the colours too muted. i get the style they were going for but it just looked off to me.
besides those major issues (and a few wee ones not worth mentioning) this movie is fantastic. it deserves all it's accolades, it deserves to make jc more of a star, it will make you look at him in a different light and most of all, it will entertain the hell out of you with it's smart and meta premise.
i could watch this over and over and never get bored. so good, so so good. now i'm off to see if the backstory is real...
production design: 8 out of 10
cinematography: 8 out of 10
re-playability: 9 out of 10
originality: 9 out of 10
costumes: 8 out of 10
directing: 9 out of 10
editing: 8 out of 10
acting: 9 out of 10
music: 7 out of 10
script:: 9 out of 10
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