Enemies Closer (2013)

Posted in Reviews by - February 21, 2016
Enemies Closer (2013)

Enjoyable Van Damme flick which sees him reunite with Timecop and Sudden Death director Peter Hyams, who adds a distinctly glossy Hollywood sheen to a rather simple production set in the sticks of the US-Canadian border. Van Damme is flamboyant as the orange-haired villain Xander, an eco-warrior vegan drug dealer spilling psychobabble dialogue in slight shades of Heath Ledger’s The Joker from The Dark Knight. That might be overstating it a tad, because he is never once convincingly menacing and instead much closer to a pantomime villain. But it is still refreshing to see Van Damme play against type and send up his heroic persona. Xander’s gang disguise themselves as French-Canadian Mounties and break the necks of drug enforcement officers patrolling the waters outside the fictitious King’s Island National Park, where a biplane carrying a load of heroin has gone down. The criminals show up at exactly the moment when the island’s only resident, cuddly ex-serviceman Henry (Scott), is having a gunpoint tête-à-tête with the vengeful brother of one his dead army mates. The two enemies have to put aside their differences and go native when the gang attack, at which point the film turns into a Hard Target-style survivalist action piece. The dialogue is a bit dopey, but Hyams is a veteran at this kind of macho-driven pugilism and the violence and suspense is handled expertly. Everyone on the island appears to be an MMA fighter, too, which certainly helps. It’s dumb fun, like what every Van Damme film ought to be.

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