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Posted October 1, 2010
Perhaps Van Damme's Best Effort
David Sheehan of NBC-TV said back in 1993 that this is 'the best Van Damme movie ever'...and I am inclined to agree with him. Jean-Claude plays the part of escaped convict Sam Gillen, who is hiding out by a pond just over the hill from Clydie's (Rosanna Arquette - Desperately Seeking Susan, Pulp Fiction, Hope Floats & The Whole Nine Yards) farm, unbeknownst to her. During his daring escape from a prison bus, his partner in crime, Billy (Anthony Starke - Return Of The Killer Tomatoes, Licence To Kill, Repossessed & Inferno) is killed, leaving him with a metal box full of cash and a cassette tape in which he says his goodbyes. Sam had earlier taken the rap for something that Billy had done, and was serving the prison sentence for him. One night, as Sam is settling down to sleep in his tent, he hears music coming up the hill from Clydie's house, and he moves in closer to investigate. He sees Clydie and her two children Mookie (Kieran Culkin - Home Alone Movies, Father Of The Bride Movies & The Cider House Rules) and Bree (Tiffany Taubman - TV's Mad About You & Star Trek Voyager) readying themselves for bed. When Clydie goes to take a bath, Sam enters the home and Mookie hears him come in. Sam leaves taking the salt shaker with him, and Mookie, being the imaginative young boy that he is, thinks it is E.T. come to visit him. The next night, Sam enters again, and Mookie throws a ball down the stairs to him, whispering out...'E.T....Is that you?' Sam leaves, placing the salt shaker back on the table and Mookie follows him over the hill to where he is camping out. That is where they meet, and Mookie takes an instant liking to Sam, as his own father has passed on due to a medical condition. Meanwhile, plotting against Clydie to take possession of her land, is a greedy real-estate developer Franklin Hale (Joss Ackland - Lethal Weapon 2, The Mighty Ducks & K-19: The Widowmaker), his hired help Mr. Dunston (Ted Levine - The Silence Of The Lambs, Flubber & Heat) and the local sheriff who is sweet on Clydie. But Clydie will not sell at any price to anyone, which is much to the vexation of Hale. He sends a few ruffians over to her place one night, and Sam steps in sending them back with their tails between their legs. Though having doubts as to why he is there, Clydie is grateful and allows him to stay on her premises, and he moves his belongings to her barn. As the tension between Clydie and the land developers escalates, the warmth and feelings grow between Sam, Clydie and her children...until things finally boil over and Sam has to step in one final time in defense for what is right, and for the newfound family he loves. ***This is certainly not what I expected when I went to the movie theater all those years ago to watch this movie. It is not your usual Van Damme-age type of kick 'em sock 'em affair. This is something different. In fact, it reminded me partially of Witness starring Harrison Ford & Kelly McGillis. It had a very good story and plotline to it. Though the children are outspoken to a degree (for example: Bree mentions the size of Sam's manhood over breakfast after having seen him quite by accident while he was bathing in the pond, and Clydie shares with Mookie the fact that Sam spent the night in her bed one morning because Mookie was looking for him...and after telling Mookie to let him rest for a couple more hours, Mookie responds with 'What did you do to him?!?'), the parts they played were quite believable and well done. Personally, I felt this was the best acting that Van Damme has shown in any of his movies. He stayed within himself, not trying to go overboard as he has done in so many of his other efforts, yet displaying his talent for martial arts, though well hidden, in his conflicts with the ruffians throughout the movie. And the ending was also quite realistic and believable. He had made some mistakes in his past, and he knew that he had to come to terms with them...setting the right examWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.