Friday, May 15, 2015

"Pound of Flesh" Review - Written by Tim Hellman

 'POUND OF FLESH': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in this martial arts action flick; about a man trying to get back his stolen kidney, in order to save his dying niece. It was directed by Ernie Barbarash (who also directed Van Damme in the B-action films '6 BULLETS' and 'ASSASSINATION GAMES') and it was written by Joshua James. The movie costars Darren Shahlavi (another martial arts B-action film star), John Ralston, Charlotte Peters and Akie Aleong. It does have some decent fight scenes but it tries to be a little too emotional, and overly dramatic, as well (which it doesn't quite have the resources for).

Van Damme plays Deacon; a man who just arrived in China, in order to donate a kidney to his deathly ill niece (Adele Baughan). He rescues a woman (Peters) from her attacker (Shahlavi), nearby the hotel he's staying at. She asks to buy him a drink, as thanks, and he wakes up the next morning with a kidney missing. With the help of his extremely religious brother (Ralston), the father of the dying little girl, Deacon decides to track down the criminals that robbed him, and get his kidney back. It helps that Deacon is an expert martial artist and former black-ops agent, of course.

I used to be a huge Van Damme fan (he was my favorite actor, briefly, as a kid) and I still enjoy watching his movies. He doesn't deliver a very good performance here though, because it seems like he really didn't want to be there (he can be a pretty good actor, when he's passionate about a role). Shahlavi, Ralston, Aleong, and a few others, do give decent performances though (on the other hand). The fight scenes are entertaining as well; and there's a decent story hidden in there too. The melodrama, and cheesy production values, do make the film a little hard to bear though, at times. It's not one of the best Van Damme films, but it's not one of his worst either.

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