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3.8 out of 5 stars31
3.8 out of 5 stars
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I haven't seen all that many Van Damme movies, but the ones I have seen have all been pretty good (I'm one of the few people that actually liked Second in Command). I had my doubts early on this time around, though, as Van Damme looked like death warmed over, and his character was pretty hard to sympathize with, even for an anti-hero. But you know what? Van Damme himself may be showing some age now, but he is far from washed up. I see Until Death as a transition film of sorts for him; he shows that he can still be a tough guy without relying on elaborate martial arts displays and, more importantly, that he has developed into a decent actor. Anthony Stowe isn't your stereotypical, one-dimensional cop; there's a lot going on with this guy, and Van Damme does a really nice job of revealing both the bad and the good in the character.

Stowe is a NARC on the New Orleans police force, and he's carrying two huge monkeys on his back: a seemingly personal mission to bring down the city's most notorious gangster and a secret addiction to heroin. Obviously, he does not fit the description of a good cop. Watching fellow cops die as a result of his continually futile efforts to catch Callahan (Stephen Rea) doesn't do much for his already abrasive attitude, he has no qualms about roughing up potential criminals, innocents, or fellow cops, he doesn't work well (if at all) with a partner, and the heroin isn't helping his job performance. His personal life is in even more of a shambles, as he has just learned that the wife he has been neglecting is pregnant - with someone else's child. Yep, you'd think life couldn't get much worse than it already is for old Anthony - until the guy he's hunting finds him and leaves him lying in an alley with a bullet in his skull.

Miraculously, Stowe survives the shooting, but it is several months before he emerges from a coma. As his physical rehabilitation progresses, he starts taking steps to rehabilitate his life as well, apologizing and making amends to those he has hurt along the way. Unfortunately, though, the people he cares about the most remain in harm's way as long as Callahan is still out there - and he's really out there, having wiped out any and all criminal competitors and solidified his position as king of the criminal dung heap during Stowe's absence. You know an ultimate showdown between Stowe and Callahan is coming, and the movie does not disappoint, serving up an exciting, action-packed ending.

Van Damme isn't going to win any best actor awards, but he actually does quite a commendable job bringing out the nuances of his character, as Stowe tries to put his life back together again following his grievous injury. Until Death isn't focused entirely on action and more action; there's a really human element here that I wasn't expecting to find. If this film is any indication, Van Damme isn't going to disappear from the cinematic radar any time soon.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2007
Hey come on, I can't believe some of the negative reviews given for this film, 'Until Death' is Van Damme's best movie for a very long time, certainly better than his previous effort 'The Hard Corps' which was shockingly bad. Despite the cynics out there Van Damme likes to bring something different to each movie, unlike say Seagal who plays exactly the same character in every film, usually a cop, wears the same clothes and hairstyle, with exactly the same storyline! Van Damme at least has tried a bit of diversity, from historical (Legionnaire, The Quest) to sci-fi (Timecop, Replicant), even a bit of comedy (Desert Heat, Knock Off). 'Until death' has Van Damme flexing his acting muscles with more of an emphasis on drama with only two major action sequences to speak of. It's a rather different character for Van Damme which is good to see, there are no martial arts in this one, just some very good shoot-outs and the whole film has a very gritty realistic feel and look to it, making it look like it has a bigger budget than it actually has - there are some movies out there with a huge budget that come across like b-movies!!! Overall a very impressive outing for Van Damme and let's hope that he can continue this trend.
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on 21 May 2007
Although Van Damme is an 'old-school' action star most popular for his martial arts and quick fun action films, he still delivers great character acting and action scenes 20 years on from from his popular 80s early 90s features. Until Death is now in my top 3 Van Damme favorites. Unlike Steven Seagal, Jean Claude has aged with grace and diginity, taking his roles seriously and puts out some dynamic character acting that gives this film good weight and a suspense unlike that of his more popular movies. This is far more then just an action screen favorite doing a low-budget 'dated' + 'easy money' flick for the fans. Until Death holds it's own and differs greatly in style and suspense from personal fav's such as A.W.O.L. and Double Impact. It's more brutal, and bleak then cheesy and '80s' cool.

Van Damme plays a beat-down heroin addicted cop, who's having a string of bad events in and out of work, resulting in a real mess of man who has to pick himself out of a partly self-made gutter. The synopsis could read like that of an action movie 20years old but the execution is modern and fresh, with Van Damme giving a strong performance mixed with ballsy and dramactic action scenes. I feel, long term fans and general action/drama viwers will certainly get their moneys worth in checking out this film.
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on 18 October 2008
Until Death is another solid modern era Van Damme film. There are tonnes of user comments and reviews out there on the movie itself, so I'll avoid that.

On the technical side, this is NOT a HD transfer. It appears to be an upscaled SD effort. There is no more picture information in it that the 480 NTSC transfer, let alone PAL resolution. Save your money and buy the DVD. By the numbers, it plays as a 1080p24, but the picture detail is not there. Given the source material was super 35, and the age of the film, I'm surprised it wasn't mastered in HD.
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on 27 August 2007
You thought Van Damme was done making good films long ago? You thought wrong. This is his best offering in a long time, in fact it's one of the best actioners I've seen as of late. If you're a fan of the old school Van Damme and Seagal flicks, you owe it to yourself to see this one. Van Damme gives one of his best performances, and does not come across as a tired old man like Seagal has done lately, in fact his slightly weathered appearance is perfect for the role. The film is clearly post-'24' and 'The Shield', but that isn't a bad thing. The film's plot and title tie-in bring me right back to Seagal's classic 'Hard to Kill'.

Highly recommended.
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on 10 April 2008
this film is pritty good, its not a oscor winner, but compared to most of his other films and most other film of this ilk (siegal, snipes sort of thing). i was expecting alot of gun fights, cheap cars blowing up, wooden performances and a cliche script. but no! this is the best van damme movie since Time Cop (legendary stuff) for this film features a story line, carector development and hell even acting. it even has a pritty good music score. Definately not worth the one star reviews some people give it, we reserve those for siegal movies and the likes of mortal kombat (oh and titanic... errgh)
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VINE VOICEon 30 July 2007
Basically I found the film rather slow and confusing, but Van Damme showed that he can act. He gives a superb performance as the heroin addicted cop who tries to redeem himself. This is a different type of role from the usual Van Damme genre and is well worth watching just to see how much credibility he has as an actor.
A good movie.
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on 18 July 2007
I absolutely loved this film! Not only is the action great but there is a really good story to follow as well. So many times I watch films and the action is let down by a poor script - not this time! Van-Damme manages to kick bad guys all over the shop while actually acting really well. While I admit he's no Brando, I've never seen Brando roundhouse somebody though a window!

This is must own Van Dammage!
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on 18 July 2007
The muscles from Brussles finally returns to something like his best in this latest release. It is a more mature Van Damme film where his acting performance is actually rather good!

Fans will lap up the action scenes, any Van Damme film where he carries a shotgun for half the movie is going to be good. Action fans in general should get a kick out of this as well, it is well above the usual Direct to Video fodder.


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on 11 August 2007
I have just read the quote from Mr Jason Thorne below

Quote = "This not the sort of film you would expect to see Van Damme
in it was more of a drama than action film, I was waiting for
David Jason to come on to the filming set. I was very disappointed
with this I have to say I think he should stick to what he knows
best kicking ass. Many die hard Van Damme fans will find this a
insult we want to see dumb action not a story line"= End Quote

Mr Jason Thorne is 100% correct in his quote, however
what Jason failed to understand, sorry Mr Thorne
is, time does not stand still, people get OLDER!
and trying to make him do things just might look silly.?

Yes, this is a Drama film, but does show a completely different side to Van Damme.
A great story unlike Wesley Snipes recent film, this one shows that Van Damme
can move with the times and give an out standing act
that Wesley Snipes and a few others should take note!

In my eyes pulled off well! 8/10 +
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