|It was just as cheesy as I remember it.|
THAT all started because I had noticed that over at The Action Elite there was a trend of these guys giving high praise to movies I didn't quite remember being so good. I thought maybe it was me, and that I just hadn't watched them in a long time. So, I decided to pick a couple, Van Damme's Hard Target and Lundgren's The Punisher, and re-watch them.
Jean Claude Van Damme is almost deified over there. And while I like him a lot, he is not nearly my favorite action star, and I particularly didn't care much for Hard Target when I saw it 20 years ago. I mean, I remember liking it well enough, but was not all that wowed by it. However, most of the bloggers at Action hail it as his greatest film.
Well, to make sure I was being fair, I watched it again yesterday (it's available on instant view from (NetFlix), and the long story short is that my initial assessment was confirmed. It is an over-the-top cheese-fest. There were so many little things wrong with it, that I found myself laughing at parts where I was supposed to be shouting a manly "Hell yeah!" Here's a short list of some of the elements that I found laugh-worthy:
- That ridiculous mullet. It was extremely distracting. And while I know it was in style in the early 90's, it does not stand the test of time.
- An overabundance of slo-mo shots. Van Damme walking, Van Damme turning his head (mullet waving like a patriotic flag), Van Damme ballet-kicking someone in the face, Van Damme somersaulting in the air away from an explosion, etc, etc...
- The Roman Candle explosions. Whether it was a grenade, a moonshine still, dynamite, or even just bullets impacting the ground, everything exploded as if it were stuffed with Roman Candles (and usually in slow motion).
- The inept combat veterans. Ok, this was more of a story-point that irked me, but every military vet was supposed to be a decorated combat soldier (they made a point of mentioning that in the film), and yet they all acted like recruits right out of Basic (except for Van Damme, of course). The black guy was a former Green Beret, and the best he could manage was to disarm some schlub millionaire who didn't know one end of a rifle from the other, and then, after killing him loudly, he sprays and prays at the main villains, completely missing!
This is not to say it was a "horrible" movie. I've seen much worse, even from Van Damme. But this film was by far not his best (I much prefer Double Impact or Lionheart, myself). But, that's not the point. The point is, I voiced my opinion on my own Facebook page, and the Action site owner saw it, and immediately banned me from the page, from the site, and removed all of the content that I had written for it. All because I didn't properly proselytize at the Altar of Van Dammage.
At first I wasn't even angry. I was hurt. That stung, because I thought I had been building a rapport with these guys. I liked them all, and even when I disagreed with their opinions, I could appreciate where they were coming from. And it was in this spirit that I had posted my status. And yet, it was apparently taken as an insult, and caused me to be banned without comment or discussion. Ouch.
Now I'm just angry about it. So, I guess they can have their little JCVD circle-jerk over there, and I'll just be over here watching what I like. By myself. Just like I did before.
Though I still want to re-watch The Punisher again. Because, it's Dolph Lundgren. I actually like him better than Van Damme anyways. Always have.