6 Bullets (2012)

Director: Ernie Barbarash
Writers: Chad Law, Evan Law
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Joe Flanigan, Anna-Louise Plowman

An opening text statement regarding modern day slavery precedes what was a surprisingly good little action film. I’ve always liked Van Damme but will be the first to admit he has made some real shockers in his time. Especially during the darker days of his personal life. But with 6 Bullets he has returned to form, and more importantly, as showcased in the film JCVD, that as he matures and gets older, he does have some acting ability also.

After a successful rescue (but entirely botched mission) of a young boy sold into an organised child trafficking ring, Samson Gaul (Van Damme) is told to leave things to the professionals by the local police inspector due to the collateral damage of Gaul’s actions. We fast forward six months where Gaul is now washed up and running a small Butchers shop while being haunted by the memories of his earlier actions. I feel Van Damme plays this nicely as a troubled soul who has given up and cannot come to terms with what happened.

At this time, former MMA champion Fayden (Flanigan of Stargate: Atlantis fame) comes to town with his wife and young daughter to gain some publicity. As you can see from miles away, his daughter is kidnapped and eventually the flanigans are directed Gaul’s way, as he is a man who can get things done. This eventually all leads down one road which includes some unlikable content, plenty of action and an interesting story.

The acting is pretty good by all concerned, even by Van Damme’s kids who once again make an appearance in one of their dads films. Unlike in previous attempts, I feel they actually fit into this one quite well and don’t look out of place. The action and fight choreography is also well done (as it should be by now with Van Damme involved) and it is certainly a return to former glory days. Some of the fight scenes are excellently done and very reminiscent of the late eighties and early nineties action films.

The film has a nice look to it and also surprisingly the photography is quite good for a low-budget Eastern European production. The location however is a slight sticking point. Set in Moldova yet filmed in Romania (many reasons lots of films are made there now) there are numerous little things which to the trained eye or educated show that we are in fact in Romania. But no matter, we’re not expecting masterpieces from ten million dollar budget action films. At least they actually did get an actress who was born in Moldavia. Props for that.

My biggest complaint though would be the run time. At almost two hours long the film is perhaps twenty minutes too long. Not because an action film should not be that long, but more that around the half way mark it does tend to drag out a little towards then end. A lot could have been cut I feel. Overall though this is a solid action film and one any fan of the Muscles from Brussels will enjoy. Surprisingly good.

The Sage’s Rating:

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