Jean-Claude Van Damme, does his Jean-Claude Van Damme…

Van Damme is yet another of the waning B movie stars that Sylvester Stallone had given a career lift to when JCVD appeared in The Expendables 2, and while it might not have had an immediate effect, judging by Van Damme’s last two movies, I’d have to say he’s starting to appear a little more in vogue once again. There were no high-jumps or scissor-kicks from the older and wiser, former kick-boxing champ but he still put on enough of a physical show to appease the many fight fans who want to see him in action.

I actually enjoyed his over-the-top performance in Enemies Closer, and thought his bad guy, Xander, a perfect role for the actor to play. Van Damme has never been the greatest actor on the planet but he has an undoubted screen presence that he brought to bear well in this movie and owned each scene he was in.

Enemies Closer
Directed by
Peter Hyams
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Orlando Jones, Tom Everett Scott
Release Date
24 January 2014
Nav’s Grade: C+

Enemies Closer, tells the story of a group of drug smugglers trying to retrieve a large shipment of heroin from a lake. The police have been tipped off about the shipments arrival but Van Damme dressed as a Canadian Mountie (and a ton of hairspray), along with his gang, take out the cops so they can pick up the consignment. Their own diver is killed and it just so happens the local Park Ranger (Tom Everett Scott), Henry, used to be a Special Forces diver, and so, a game of cat and mouse begins as Xander tries to capture Henry for his diving skills.

But wait, it gets even better. Henry has someone with a chip on their shoulder, trying to kill him for something that happened a few years back. Clay (Orlando Jones) bares a grudge and intends to kill Henry when Xander and his band of merry men decide to crash the party so now the pair must (eventually) work together to stop the ruthless, apple eating/drug smuggling/vegan/ozone friendly/nice haired/murdering, Xander to stay alive.

Van Damme’s Xander is an off-the-wall treehugger who goes on about organic food and healthy living but the amount of hairspray needed to keep that mop in place looks to have depleted a fair amount of the ozone layer, all on its own. He played the character well though, and made a big difference to when he’s called to do straight acting which isn’t his strongest feature.

Tom Everett Scott done his Rambo routine but it wasn’t all that convincing. I say leave Rambo to Sly, because Scott just isn’t the physical type of actor to pull it off as well as some. When he wasn’t sharpening pieces of wood to skewer the bad guys, he was perfect as Henry, the quiet Park Ranger who wants to be left in peace, to contemplate the bad old days of the war, and try to stop blaming himself for what happened.

As far as action movies go, this was actually not bad and kept me entertained the entire time, especially when JCVD was on screen, polishing apples on his shirt. It’s the best I’ve seen Van Damme in a long time and hope he takes on more roles of this sort. Director Peter Hyams, certainly knows how to get the best out of these types of action hero, with a strong pedigree from his past work with Van Damme and also Arnie. I’ve noticed Hyams’ hasn’t been doing a great deal of movies of late but Enemies Closer, proves he still has what it takes.

by Nav Qateel