Jean-Claude Van Damme was in his prime, and up to his usual antics in this country based action film that screams classic 90’s cinema.
Action stars were running rampant in the 90’s and among the group of the elite for the decade, was Jean-Claude Van Damme. While his roles were usually the same personality wise, his characters often varied in background. In 1993 he starred as a fugitive hiding out in the backwoods in “Nowhere to Run”. The film also stared Rosanna Arquette, Ted Levine, Kieran Culkin and Joss Ackland.
Sam (JCVD) is an escaped convict looking to hideout in the vast countryside till things die down. This plan is threatened as he comes across a small family being harassed by ruthless land developers trying to force them from their property. Sam will be left with the tough decision of saving himself from the authorities, or saving a small family who desperately needs his help.
It goes without saying that one of my guilty pleasures is the classic 1980’s and 90’s action films. Mostly built from childhood nostalgia, I have a long list of films from the time period that I can virtually watch at anytime and one of them was this classic JCVD action-romp from ’93.
The setting being placed in the country added a new feel to his usual films plots. It never gets old watching JCVD fight his way through country thugs to defend and innocent family from being uprooted. Time-after-time he saves the day and his hair is never out of place, and for me it will always translate to classic 90’s action.
His performance was generic and his character was extremely recycled, but one must remember, solid acting and Oscar worthy performances are not why you watch films like this. You watch to see some action, some nice one-liners, and hopefully a decent story, which this film managed to provide. Rosanna Arquette was not very convincing in this film when she tried to deliver some of the emotional elements of her character, but she was believable as the strong-willed widow, and mother of two so she did pull off the performance effectively.
Kieran Culkin was excellent, and through all the action-sequences, sub-plots, and textbook love-scenes, his performance was the best in this forgotten 90’s classic. He was captivating as the fatherless boy and he delivered great chemistry with ‘JCVD’ and maybe even pulled the headlining JCVD’s best moments with their scenes together. Something that was odd but entertaining to watch as a child actor carried the scenes he shared with an action legend. No film of the genre is complete without a solid antagonist and Ted Levine in this one was very good but highly underused. His scenes delivered impact but with a script that weighed heavily on the family dynamic he was lost in the shuffle.
The action scenes where what you would expect from the genre in 1993 and especially JCVD’s skill-set where he managed to slip in most all of his signature moves. The sequences were well organized and used decent cinematography to capture the most they could. There was some times were it was a little over-orchestrated but who cares, it’s JCVD is his prime, name a movie of his that wasn’t a little overdone when it came to action-sequences. The chase scenes were also fun to watch despite a few classic action movie flaws and cohesion errors.
What made this a more entertaining film than some of the others was that it managed to tell a rather intriguing tale among with the action, and carried the film with a nice pace. It was not a groundbreaking story by any means but it was enough to keep your interest. The script didn’t try to do too much in the way of subplots, and kept it simple and single minded, and it resulted in a fun movie. For fans of JCVD I’m sure most of you have already seen it, if not do so, you will be entertained.
Time: 94 min
MPAA Rating: R (For violence, language and sexuality)