The Bouncer (2018)

Posted in Reviews by - December 27, 2019
The Bouncer (2018)

A French-Belgian action drama starring Jean-Claude Van Damme which offers all the usual tropes you would expect to find in a JCVD flick – fist fights, car chases, gun battles, European gangsters running strip-clubs, you know the sort of thing – but shot with an effective, gritty élan by Julien Leclercq. He approaches the subject with an indie sensibility, elevating what is essentially a B-movie with pretensions. His intimate, handheld approach to the action and use of long-takes make the film genuinely exciting, bolstered by some thudding, atmospheric, electronic soundscapes. The washed-out urban setting is also befitting of the mood of the piece, helping to paint a picture of a bleak, sinful and seedy world of vice and violence. Van Damme – who also produces – adds to the film’s authenticity with a natural, grizzled, bilingual performance (there’s an American version of the film, but much of its original dialogue is in French, Flemish and English). He’s a hooded heavy with a heart called Lukas, a widow working as a nightclub bouncer who is totally devoted to his infant daughter. He winds up working for a crook involved in counterfeiting money, while acting as an informant for a mysterious private investigator who is blackmailing Lukas for a previous misdemeanour. It’s a convincing turn from Van Damme – acting his age and open to showing vulnerability – although this isn’t as much of a departure as, say, 2008’s JCVD. Compared to that gamble, this still sits quite firmly in his comfort zone.

AKA: Lukas.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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