Sunday, 17 August 2008



Dir: Peter MacDonald (Rambo III, The Neverending Story III)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Paul Kynman, Steven Berkoff, Nicholas Farrell, Ana Sofrenovic
USA, 1998

Seen: August 16, 2008

Reason to see: A challenge! Cinexcellence is hosting a Sight Unseen Blog-a-thon, where the idea is to buy, watch and review a film that is on sale for $5 or so. The trick is, you pick a film you would normally pass on by.

I have to say, picking the film was the hard part. I went to HMV as they usually have DVDs for sale in the suggested price range. But then I looked at the choices (see below) and knew I was in trouble. First off, I had seen almost everything! But after those, the ones left I actively didn't want to see. I really wanted to participate so I kept looking. I settled on Legionnaire as it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, and since I'm really hyped for his film JVCD which will be at TIFF'08 I felt like this could be a rekindling to his work.

Right from the beginning I was intrigued. The idea of the Legion, a place where you can sign up as a mercenary, no questions are asked and the benefit is the possibility to get a second chance on life. This is a great theme for a film. But, then it started in 1925 Marseilles in a club with can-can girls. Hmmm. That isn't the desert, is it? I was expecting training, fighting, bonding and harsh times - and there is all that but somehow they manage to get in romance, drama and even a little gangster-ness. It felt like the film was trying to get too much in it and spent a fair amount time getting to where it said it would be. The film did have some great characters including Van Damme's Alain Lefevre and Luther played by the delightful Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. There are a few fighting scenes, but no where near the amount I thought there would be. Overall, it plays mostly as a drama, where the story and characters are the highlight. The score really adds to the film, with majestic music bringing in moments to really hit home.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it light historical war drama

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© Shannon Ridler, 2008



Suzie Ridler said...

It sounds like Van Dam is trying to really pick movies that actually require some acting! I wonder if R would like this one. It sounds interesting and I may like it too.

Fletch said...

Keep in mind, Suzie, that this came out 10 years ago, waaaaay back when JCVD had a shred of credibility.

I actually never saw this. If I recall correctly, this came after Sudden Death, and that was the nail in the coffin for Van Damme flicks for me (at least for ones that I watched on purpose). If this ever pops up on TV, I'll stick around - to see Mr. Eko, if nothing else.

Suzie Ridler said...

It's true! I totally missed the time this came out, LOL. Duh! I actually really enjoyed Sudden Death but I'm pretty lax when it comes to martial arts movies and my expectations.

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