The Quest (1996)

Posted in Reviews by - October 18, 2012
The Quest (1996)

The thought of Van Damme directing his own picture would be enough to make most viewers run to the hills. There is no escaping the fact this is ultimately a vanity project, but The Quest is still a fantastic martial arts adventure, one which heralds back to the star’s best films Bloodsport and Kickboxer only with more of an expensive, epic touch. This is an exotic period film littered with surprisingly vivid imagery and smart location shots which take full advantage of the Tibetan scenery, and the rousing Randy Edelman soundtrack offers a glossy shine to proceedings.

We’re taken back to Tibet 1924 and, more specifically, the prestigious Ghan-gheng martial arts tournament located in the mysterious Lost City where fighting stereotypes from all over the globe compete for a priceless gold dragon. Van Damme wants a piece of the action after escaping the slums of New York, stopping off on a Muay Thai island to learn a little self defense. His misadventures lead him into close contact with the aristocratic Dobbs (Moore), an ex Royal Navy hero now a thieving bounder with a stiff-upper-lip who seems to have his own plans for the coveted prize.

The film’s best moments are the tournament scenes, the standout performances being a Brazilian Capoeira finalist and an animal style Chinese kung fu expert, while the finale between Van Damme and the Monster from Siam is a bit of a let down. Nevertheless this is still one of Van Damme’s better pictures.

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