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Until Death (a JCVD movie review)

Finally, JCVD is here in the pages of the Rubber Axe webzine! It’s almost criminal to omit this B-movie star and legend so it’s time to remedy that situation straight away!

If you remember (you might read the Breakin’ review for it), I’ve briefly mentioned his short appearance in said movie (which is still hilarious, and even better was his explanation of his efforts there), but for a movie starring JC, there was nada, zero coverage. And with his catalog of movies under his belt, it’s quite surprising I’ve waited so long to write a review of any of the movies he starred in.

It was quite hard to choose a movie for a last night, believe me. Even with the movies I’ve already seen, I couldn’t remember much about them – well, it’s been a while. So it was a random choice and I’ve ended up with Until Death. Well, that is as good as any, I’d guess, right?

Yeah, JCVD here is a junkie cop.

Released in 2007, Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a really shitty cop Anthony Stowe. What you can say, his wife (Selina Giles) is divorcing him and already got pregnant by her colleague lover (Mark Dymond), colleagues despise him, poor old Tony is a drunkard and on top of it – a junkie. Yes, our cop here shoots himself with heroin. And man, does his life mirrors in his face. Kudos to JCVD for portraing the person sliding down so well. That’s one bonus watching it.

The story? Well, New Orleans PD (because that’s were we are at, New Orleans) is after a ex-cop turned a big time drug dealer and gangland figure Callahan (Stephen Rea), who in past was Anthony’s partner. Obviously, both corrupt and drug dealing on the side, but Anthony (as Callahan addresses him in the end of the movie) changed from supplier to user. Tough shit, partner.

So while they try to catch him, we witness a botched sting operation where two undercover cops get killed. Doesn’t really score Anthony any good points, so he just does what he does. Getting drunk and shoots himself with drugs. Oh yeah, and he got a colleague cop fired for asking him a dirty favor. Really nice character this Anthony.

Somebody’s getting shot here.

Anyway, his bartender friend has betrayed him to Callahan’s mobsters and dear Tony got shot in the head. Normally, that would be the end. And in sense, it is.

Stowe has survived though and come out of coma a changed man. A better man. A man determined to change what he’s done before. Although his police boss refuses to give him his job back (especially after finding a junkie tools in his desk), he’s on his way to make amends.

So while he tries to reconnect with his estranged wife, much to dislike of her colleague lover, he donates most of the insurance money from the incident to the ex-cop he got fired from work.

Now there’s one character whose whereabouts were never explained. A young boy named Chad Mansen (Wes Robinson). But two scenes and he’s a goner. Well, life can be cruel. And not always just.

Tony’s wife is kidnapped and Tony is required to meet Callahan. And now the expected finale can unravel in a full swing. The action scenes here cool and realistic, and if you’re expecting any martial arts thingy JCVD is known for, you’re watching a wrong movie. Nothing of it here, and that’s good.

JCVD is on his killing path.

Anyway, as expected (or maybe not), JCVD with a help of the ex-cop seargant (the same who he’s got fired) managed to kill the goons and Tony’s got his revenge of Callahan too. But not before there is a nice little twist, but I’m not gonna reveal that.

The finale after is just a little too happy ending, but hey, why not.

Weighting balances, I was actually surprised how good this movie was. True, JCVD’s stuff can be hit a miss most of the time (and the same can be said about almost everyone of the action heroes of 80’s, Seagal, Lundgren, Norris, etc…) but this little flick is worth of your attention, of that there’s no doubt.

And just for your information – JCVD is still my fuckin’ childhood hero. Period.

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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