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Sudden Death [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) must rescue his little girl from terrorists who have interrupted the Stanley Cup ice hockey final. The bad guys threaten to blow everybody up unless they get a billion dollars from the treasury by the end of the game. McCord has his work cut out if he's going to stop the explosion and retrieve his child before that final buzzer.
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Darren McCord (Van Dammage) is a guilt-ridden firefighter whose been taken off active duty following a breakdown when he was unable to save a young girl from a house fire. Now he's divorced, his kids look upon him as a has-been loser and he's been demoted to fire marshal for the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, where the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks are about to battle it out for supremacy on game night. However, when a group of terrorists arrive to lay siege to the arena, its up to McCord to knuckle down, swallow his anxiety and save the day for not only the nation... but his kidnapped kids Emily and Tyler. The terrorists are led by ex-CIA operative Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) whose made it his mission to hold U.S. Vice President Daniel Binder (Raymond J. Barry) hostage, whilst stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and having them wired into several off shore accounts... but can McCord take on Foss and his highly trained team of assassins and mercenaries for hire? Your Van-Damme right he can!
Although nowhere near the high octane level of the Bruce Willis franchise which it so obviously adheres to, I gotta admit this is my favourite of the 'Die Hard' clones. From the self aware and smirk inducing screenplay by Gene Quintano (whose known for more comedic fare as 'Loaded Weapon 1' and the 'Police Academy' sequels) to the expert direction of Peter Hyams (encoring with JC following 'Timecop' but also having time to put in 'Running Scared', 'Capricorn One' and 'Outland') who ensures each action scene is well rendered and every gag drops with almost razor-like precision. The cast too are great with special shout outs to lead villain Powers Boothe who literally eats the scenery like a boss, attempting to out-do Hans Gruber for real in the classy yet vile terrorist stakes... and yes, Van-Dammage leads the flick with an assured hand, cementing his turn as the '90s leading action man - leaving you wanting the sequel that Universal just didn't feel we needed. Shame.
Talking of Universal, their UK Blu-Ray release is a wonderous thing to behold with a vibrant transfer bolstered by stunning audio but sadly no extra special features - which I must admit is a bit of a letdown. Thankfully, the movie is a solid action fans' dream come true with enough gun battles, hand to hand combat and a truly awesome ruck with a penguin, that to this day brings a wry smile to my face. Highly recommended fun that continues to entertain... add to basket!
What I am pleased to report is that with Sudden Death DOES have a very credible baddie in the form of Powers Boothe. Yes I know this film was made in 1995 but I had forgotten just how good it was. I had not seen it for a while but the other other night I had a JCVD double bill night with Nowhere To Run and Sudden Death. Both films are s**t hot in my book (see my other reviews). The baddie in Sudden Death is vindictive and nasty and has no issues with murdering innocent folk at the drop of hat. He has an elderly woman held at gun point and murdered and shoots her husband afterwards stating he would have been lonely without her and he will send a card. We need more baddies like this.
The fight scenes are nothing to complain about either. JCVD even users a chicken drum stick bone to stab someone to death in the neck. He scolds people with cooking fat and users kitchen untelciles as weapons. Sounds like a good cooking show to me. Mind you, anything is better than f**king food shows. I get sick and tired of the pompous toss pots and stuck up food critics that ponce about on every channel. And don't get me started on Come f**king Dine With Me. The people on that are as desperate and as shallow as the f**ks that go on every bleeding talant show we have. If I went on come dine with me I would leave stuff out for the other people to find when they snoop around. I would leave a nice big richard the third in the bog and a pair of tarmaced y-fronts on the top of the laundry basket. Have some of that you nosey b******s. What should have is a cooking show where they fight to the death with what ever they can find in the kitchen, then the winner goes off for a few Stellas and a Kebab!
Where was I? Fight scenes in Sudden Death. All great as is the action. It's not high kicking JCVD action all the time as this was one of his first stabs at a more traditional action flick without relying on martial arts alone. This film is basically a version of Die Hard which is what a lot of action films were at that time in the 90's. We had Under Seige and Passenger 57 which were both also very good. Sudden Death is about a semi retired fire fighter (JCVD) who gets hired as the fire safety officer at a ice hockey game. The stadium is then hi jacked and the vice president is held hostage until a big fat ramsom is paid. It does get very "Die Hardish" towards the end with JCVD communicating with the villan and running around the stadium disarming bombs. He even has a white t-shirt on! Sudden Death fits nicely in the 90's and it is still very enjoyable today. It's up there with Hard Target and Timecop.
Unbeknown to him, the sports arena has been taken over by terrorists, who are holding the Vice President of the United States, as well as many other high-ranking officials hostage.
Darren later becomes the only one who is aware of the situation. And, the stakes are raised when the terrorists announce that they will blow-up the building at the end of the game.
Therefore, Darren must not only subdue the terrorists, but postpone the game and send it to overtime.....
Oh yes, the film is silly, and full of gaping plot holes, but for heavens sake, it's a really fun movie with a really good performance from Van Damme (his relationship with his children is spot on), and Powers Boothe, looking like he's having the time of his life as the villain.
It's a shame though that the movie was released at the time it was. The Die Hard in a..... Sub genre had been way over done, and Van Damme was becoming less successful at the box office.
As well as being very funny in places, it's also quite sadistic in the fact that the terrorists literally don't care who they kill. Elderly women, Wives, and head cooks, no one is safe.
The films edited really well, and the action scenes look good and never get too over the top, despite the fact Van Damme has a fight with a giant penguin.
In my opinion it's his best film of the nineties and it never gets boring, thanks to Boothe and a great performance from Van Damme.
If you've never seen a Van Damme film and are not Into martial arts movies, this is for you.
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