Action Movie Fanatix Review: Pound of Flesh

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Pound of Flesh

The Black Market Is About To Get Bloody

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Darren Shahlavi, John Ralston, Aki Aleong, Charlotte Peters

Director: Ernie Barbarash

2015  |  104 Minutes  |  Rated R

“What I’m really good at is killing.” – Deacon Lyle

After saving a mysterious woman, Deacon Lyle (Jean-Claude Van Damme) awakes the next morning missing one of his kidneys.

Jean-Claude Van Damme movies have been hit and miss for quite a while now.  Every new movie that is released gets me hopeful that we’ll get something special and very rarely does that actually happen.  Pound of Flesh isn’t doing anything to change that trend.

Right off the bat, the story is a murky mess.  The various characters’ intentions are unclear for the majority of the movie.  Elements of the story remain hidden until the character finally speaks clarity into the situation but by the point they do so, the viewer has spent a large amount of time confused at what is going on, causing the movie to really drag at a few points in the middle.

With Jean-Claude Van Damme you know you are going to get good action… usually.  He’s certainly capable of it when given the opportunity.  The fights in Pound of Flesh are fine but really nothing too special other than his two showdowns with Darren Shahlavi’s character, Drake.  Those two fights are actually good and could have been longer than they were in the final cut of the movie.

Darren Shahlavi makes for a really good bad guy.  Had a bit more of the focus been on his character, the movie would have been a lot stronger.  It’s really sad that this ended up being one of his last movies.  He’s a talented guy who had been in many movies but was probably on the verge of really starting to see his career explode.

As with many DTV actioners, CGI rears its ugly head when guns are shot and blood is spurted.  It ain’t pretty but if you’ve seen any DTV action movies in the past 8-10 years, you should be more than used to it.

I’m always excited at each new JCVD movie to see release.  It’s good to see him getting work and each new release has the potential to be something really fun.  Pound of Flesh is one that most fans can probably just skip unless they just want to watch the very beginning and the very end for the two JCVD-Darren Shahlavi fights.


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