Yes, folks: my fondness for the cinema of Peter Hyams extends so far that (thanks to Dave of Red Cat Records!) I am now watching, and enjoying, his new film with Jean-Claude van Damme, Enemies Closer.
trailer for which is also pretty great. I have always assumed that Jason Patric's moustache (and toque) in Narc is a homage to Gould's in Busting:
But even bad Hyams' films have their moments. I hold Capricorn One, his somewhat risible Mars-landing conspiracy film, as one of his failures; among other things, it features one of Gould's earliest terrible performances, where his wisecracking rings hollow and makes him just look completely unconvinced by the movie he finds himself in. Even still, there are some fantastic scenes, like the one where the main bad guy, Hal Holbrook, fakes his regret when delivering bad news about the fate of men who he fully intends to murder, before they're even dead. It must be Holbrook's evillest moment on screen. And those black helicopters are beautifully filmed, and - hey, I'm even kind of fond of Telly Savalas in this one, an awful actor being put to good use...
Anyhow, here's a few good reasons to see Enemies Closer. If they apply to you, you will probably enjoy the movie:
1. It has been so long since you saw a film where people beat each other up every fifteen minutes that you feel nostalgic for the experience. The film will bring you back to the good old days when you would indulge in the odd guilty pleasure video rental involving Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, or, indeed, Jean-Claude van Damme himself. The fights are intense, beautifully choreographed and shot, and do not appear to be computer generated in the slightest. Cinema involving real bodies doing real things that look very much like they might hurt... there's a sweetness there, you know? Something strangely old-fashioned and not to be had for too much longer (once van Damme and Seagal and Norris and their ilk are gone... will there really ever be an "action" star on their level again?).
2. Playing against type, van Damme hams it up as the villain most delightfully, and what a villain he is: an ex-military vegan mercenary on the hunt for a lost cargo of heroin, he spends half the film offering asides about global warming, ethically-sourced coffee, cow farts, and the pleasures of wild strawberries. Then he kills someone, and eats an apple. There's a sort of restrainedly campy irony to his performance here, post-JCVD, that actually brings to mind, of all people, the hallowed Udo Kier; van Damme had a lot of fun with this role, I would guess. Plus he has red curly hair and appears in a Mountie uniform! You need more than that?
Actually, I can't really think of any other reason to recommend this film - beside it being the new Peter Hyams' movie - but I've had fun with it. Odd to watch a film made in 2013 and experience it through the filter of nostalgia, but that's exactly how to best watch this movie: with sweet fondness for the action movies you watched as a kid, and never had much respect for... but secretly kind of enjoyed. Now that the form appears to be nearing extinction, its time to give it some love. Enemies Closer makes it easy...