Friday, 18 January 2008

The Order

THE ORDER (2001)

Directed by: Sheldon Lettich
Written by: Les Weldon and Jean-Claude Van Damme
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme , Brian Thompson and Charlton Heston.

At one time Jean-Claude Van Damme used to make entertaining martial arts, action films. Kickboxer, Cyborg, Bloodsport, Death Warrant, Hard Target and A.W.O.L are all classic Van Dammage. The Order is not. A sort of cross between Indiana Jones and, well, a crap Van Damme film, it has a barmy plot about some cult out to destroy every other religion. They have also kidnapped Van Damme’s dad, who he then sets about rescuing, all the while destroying half of Israel.

I’m a big Van Damme fan (I even like Double Team) as his films are often enjoyable and usually feature entertaining action and fight scenes. This is not the case with The Order. Instead we get Van Damme as annoying git, Rudy; Charlton Heston making even more of an embarrassment of himself than he did in Bowling For Columbine; a car chase involving airport baggage vehicles (exciting!); Brian Thompson in a very bad wig; an impossibly sexy Israeli female cop (wait, that might be one of the good things); dialogue along the lines of, “Something’s not kosher,” (nice); some incredibly bad editing; Ben Cross as a baddie (no, never); and the site of JCVD dressed as a rabbi: priceless.

This should have been a fun action romp, especially from director Sheldon Lettich, who directed two of Van Damme’s earlier classics: Double Impact and A.W.O.L. But instead, it is just dull, sloppy and badly acted. Die-hard Van Damme devotees might like it (there is one decent fight on the rooftops of a city) and it is slightly better than Streetfighter. To quote the words of Ben Cross’ corrupt police chief, “I can smell bullshit a mile away.” Nuff said.

Side note: Van Damme's movies have improved since The Order. Check out Wake of Death, In Hell and Until Death for recent quality Van Dammage.

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