Wake of Death (2004)

Posted in Reviews by - March 09, 2013
Wake of Death (2004)

Formulaic action drama directed for the most part like a perfume commercial – all slow motion, detached voiceover and operatic intention. The idea is to add weight to a dud Van Damme vehicle, but it actually sucks the life from it. Van Damme is on autopilot as a doting family man and nightclub owner with a vague heroic or criminal background (it’s never properly explained) who calls on some heavily militarised buddies to help him avenge the death of his wife, killed at the hands of a Hong Kong triad kingpin played by Simon Yam. Yam had been making a lucrative sideline murdering women with a flick knife and smuggling heroin into the US through a Chinese people smuggling operation – cooperated by bent cops in the LA harbour patrol – until his young daughter escapes and boards the next boat to Van Damme’s house. The recycled story and irksome pretentiousness makes the film look and feel like something from another era. Original director Ringo Lam was wise to leave this one very early in development.

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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 laptop in London, UK.

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