Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1988. Rotecon B.V., Magus. Story by Shimon Arama, Screenplay by A.E. Peters, Michael Gonzales. Cinematography by George Koblasa. Produced by Shimon Arama. Music by Terry Plumeri. Production Design by Mike Higgins. Costume Design by Rakefet Levy. Film Editing by Michael Kelly.
An American plane carrying a nuclear device crashes into the Mediterranean and two superpowers are competing to retrieve it. The C.I.A. has its best man (Shô Kosugi) on the job while Russia sends that master of the splits, Jean-Claude Van Damme to hold up the Soviet end of the conflict. Kosugi is actually being asked to do the job during the two weeks of vacation that the agency has always agreed to give him for family time, so they coerce him by bringing his two sons (who are actually Kosugi’s boys in real life) to Malta where they’re made vulnerable to the power play at the centre of the story. Nothing in this lifeless and familiar plot is new and it plays out in a very uninspired manner, most of the acting is terrible and the direction is bland, but it’s an adventure for kids and they’ll have a good time watching it. Fans of martial arts will find little satisfaction in the few scenes of combat (choreographed by Kosugi), most of them saved until the end and far from the quality of intensity that these kinds of movies would feature in the decades to come (including later Van Damme movies), but there’s something unassuming and inoffensive about this one, and the scenery is lovely.