Friday, 29 June 2018

June-Claude Van Damme: 6 Bullets (2012)

The second of a few Van Damme vehicles directed by Ernie Barbarash (who has a filmography varied enough to include films like Falcon Rising and Christmas Inheritance), 6 Bullets balances a decent amount of action with a plot that involves children being kidnapped and sold on as sex slaves, which obviously isn't the most cheerful of subject matters.

Joe Flanigan is Andrew, a mixed martial artist preparing for his next fight in a foreign city. He's accompanied by his family (wife, Monica, played by Anna-Louise Plowman, and daughter, Becky, played by Charlotte Beaumont) and they're quite the happy bunch. That changes when Becky is kidnapped. Andrew soon finds that he's out of his depth, despite his ability to beat people up as he tries to find clues to the whereabouts of his little girl. He eventually tries to hire a reluctant ex-military man (Van Damme), a man in self-imposed retirement from any such work because of his guilt over people he believes died due to his actions.

6 Bullets could have easily been a mess. The baddies here are very bad people indeed, there are scenes that will make many viewers squirm in discomfort as they arrange sales of their "commodities", but Barbarash, helped by a script written by Chad Law and Evan Law, manages to give just enough details to ensure that these people are hated before sending the good guys in to beat them all up and attempt to save some of the children.

Flanigan isn't too bad with the punches and kicks, making him a good figure to support Van Damme. The two feel like they are very different in style, with the latter giving off those years of experience and savvy as the former moves forward in a bluster of wild fight moves without any specific targets. The same can be said of their approaches to acting, with Van Damme very comfortable at this point playing both the more entertaining action beats and also the moments that develop his character. Flanigan doesn't embarrass himself, even if he doesn't emanate star quality. Plowman does well, Beaumont is very good, and you get a variety of Eastern European characters played by the likes of Uriel Emil Pollack, Louis Dempsey, and Mark Lewis.

Another of the more interesting films scattered throughout the filmography of Van Damme, and it's worth remembering that he's tried to offer more variety in his 21st century output than any other standard action movie star, 6 Bullets somehow manages to build a solid movie around a serious issue without feeling overly exploitative or mishandled, to the credit of Barbarash and the writers.


You can buy the blu here.
Americans can get a disc here.

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