THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Monday, September 16, 1996 TAG: 9609140042 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E5 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: 39 lines
THE SURPRISING thing about Jean-Claude Van Damme's new film is that it has a plot, which is a new development in his work. Van Damme's formula seems to be two flicks a year that kick around a bit on opening weekend and then head for video rental. A profit always surfaces.
``Maximum Risk'' has Van Damme searching for the killers of his twin brother. It seems that they were separated at birth, or soon afterward, and the dead brother had dealings with the Russian mafia as well as the FBI.
In the early scenes, set in the south of France, the producers seem to have solved the problem of Van Damme's accent simply by giving everyone an accent. Things soon switch, though, to New York, where he hooks up with Natasha Henstridge. She has trouble acting but does offer decoration.
The action is routine - car chases, a few kicks - and all carefully staged. Once again, we are encouraged to wonder why bad guys who are trying to kill someone chase him all over the city rather than just shoot him.
As usual, the cars crash into easy targets, like cardboard boxes or outdoor furniture. Glass crashes easily, and most of Van Damme's stunts are executed by stunt doubles. Now that Jackie Chan has shown us what it looks like not to cut to long shots for landings, we aren't so easily fooled by editing.
Van Damme's longest fight scene is played with him wearing nothing more than a towel. Now, that's the real maximum risk.
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge
Director: Ringo Lam
MPAA rating: R (simulated violence, some language)
Mal's rating: two stars by CNB