DVD Review: Jean-Claude Van Damme in Six Bullets

Fresh from his big screen appearance in The Expendables 2, Jean-Claude Van Damme continues to surprise fans with another high-octane straight to DVD feature, Six Bullets. Director, Ernie Barbarash (Assassination Games, Ticking Clock) knows what it takes to make a decent Van Damme film, with Six Bullets proving to be one of the Belgian stars’ most enjoyable features in recent years.

Van Damme plays Samson Gaul, a reformed mercenary turned rescue expert coaxed into rescuing the daughter of down-on-his-luck professional fighter, Andrew Fayden (Joe Flanigan). Soon Fayden and Gaul are caught up in a world of Government corruption and brutal sex trafficking.

Barbarash and Van Damme impressed in their prior collaboration Assassination Games and fortunately, Six Bullets sticks to this winning formula. Ever present are the slickly choreographed action scenes and stunts that we would expect from a Van Damme vehicle, where he reminds us that he is the quintessential action star. Opening with Gaul on a tense undercover rescue mission, Six Bullets features a striking array of hand to hand combat, shoot-outs and motorbike escapes, remaining fast paced and slickly produced throughout.

Whilst Six Bullets does stick to a simple narrative (showing some parallels to 2008’s Taken), writers Chad and Evan Law include enough surprising plot twists to keep the story feeling fresh and exciting. Time is also taken to establish a moral background to Gaul – he is a man haunted by the guilt and regret of previous failed rescue missions, determined not to let the same happen again. This allows Van Damme to remind us that he is equally as convincing giving an emotive, developed  performance as he is during a more action based role. This is arguably his strongest direct to video turn since 2008’s stellar JCVD. When Van Damme is not at the forefront of the action, Joe Flanigan steps in, proving to be a convincing tough guy and completely likeable action star.

It’s also particularly enjoyable to see Van Damme working with his children, Kristopher and Bianca Van Varenberg. Both of whom are charismatic additions to the cast of Six Bullets.Not all of the supporting turns are matched with the same success, but this is nothing new in the straight to video world.

Six Bullets excels through its tense atmosphere and exciting action sequences, skillfully handled by director, Ernie Barbarash. Jean-Claude Van Damme continues to show us that he is one of the coolest, most watchable action stars working today. This is definitely one to look out for, action aficionados.

Rating: 4/5

Six Bullets is released on October the 1st. You can order it from Amazon UK.

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