Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Quest

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in "The Quest", a 1996 martial arts film about Christopher Dubois and his journey of self-discovery. The film follows Chris from the streets, barely getting by and taking care of a group kids, to being sold into the seedy world of fighting competition. Chris learns about a fighting tournament and enlists the help of the man that betrayed him to get the tournament's prize: a dragon statue made of solid gold. The film also stars Roger Moore, James Remar, Janet Gunn and Jack McGee.

The film's story was overall a good one, but it did suffer from some pacing issues in my opinion. It felt like there was so much crammed into the  first half hour, then it slows down, then it picks back up only to slow down again. It's never bad enough to where you get a feeling of being bored, but it could have been better. Another issue with the story is...well this is practically "Bloodsport" . Sure there are some changes, but overall I got the feeling that after Van Damme hit his post "Street Fighter" slump, he went back to the film that made him famous. It may sound odd, but I think doing so worked out here and it makes for an enjoyable story.

The acting is where this movie shines, and with so many great actors in the film, how couldn't it?  Jean-Claude Van Damme was entertaining in the film and unlike with "Street Fighter" actually showed some emotion as well as the outstanding action he is known for. Roger Moore as Lord Dobbs was good, as was Jack McGee who played his sidekick Harry Smythe. James Remar as the boxing champ Maxie Devine was a highlight of the film for me as I felt he did a great job with the character and came across as a believable professional fighter and sportsman.

The action was as entertaining as you would expect and it seems like as director, Van Damme wanted authentic looking fights for this film. It never goes to the point where anything looks  unrealistic, and I feel that makes for a better action film. If anything my one complaint about the action is with the use of slow motion and showing the same moves from different angles a second or third time, it gets repetitive after awhile.

Is "The Quest" a great martial arts film? Not really, but it is an enjoyable film to watch. It has its faults such as plot points that make no sense and a strong resemblance to "Bloodsport" but it makes up for it with great action and exciting moments.With outstanding actors and action you might want to check out this film, especially if you're a fan of Van Damme.

Verdict: May not be entertaining for everyone, but enjoyable for fans of the genre/ JCVD.


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