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Monday, 6 November 2017

Retro Review: Nowhere To Run (1993)

Nowhere To Run
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rosanna Arquette, Kieran Culkin, Ted Levine, Joss Ackland
Genre: Action
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $52 million

Plot: Escaped convict Sam Gillen single handedly takes on ruthless developers determined to evict Clydie - a widow with two young children. Nobody knows who Sam is

'This Overly Melodramatic Action Flick Has Nowhere To Hide'

I was actually looking forward to rewatching Nowhere To Run to see how it still fares today.... that was until I stumbled the upon the writing credits and I saw that none other Joe Eszterhaz had partially penned this film alongside two other writers. After that, my level of enthusiasm for Nowhere To Run had dropped considerably. 

Nowhere to Run stars Jean-Claude Van Damme who is Sam, a convicted felon who flee from a scene and escape from a bus. He ends up in a small town where he meets a woman, a widower and her children who are being aggressively bullied by an evil land developer and Sam helps them out.

There are some cringe-worthy scenes: one of them is at the breakfast table and the girl, Bree mentions 'he's got a big penis'. As if that kind of talk is permissible when eating at the table. Bree's brother is stupidly named Mookie, which is laughable. There is also a gratuitous nudity scene where a naked Van Damme is bathing in the river & the two kids catch him in on the act.

I can't help but think how Van Damme was terribly miscast in the main role - this film just doesn't scream 'van damme' as a film and I just couldn't picture him playing that character. Yes, he attempts to stretch himself as an actor, and yet the barren and tepid script did him no favours. The screenplay reeks of laziness on Eszterhaz's part, which is not a big deal to me as I am not an admirer of the scripts he churns out. Despite the box office financial successes of Basic Instinct, Flashdance, he is still by all means for me, a terrible writer, where character development is moot. And though Nowhere To Run tries to mould JCVD into a star where like Arnold Schwarzenegger he has the ability to allow his acting to accompany the story, the same just couldn't be said for Van Damme. 

As for the action, it's run-of-the-mill and at times boring and there is nothing we haven't seen before. Yet the fact of the matter is Van Damme is in a role of which he is particularly unsuited for. The other performances are as stilted and one-note. 

Final Verdict:

Lacking the grit and over-the-top action, the warning signs were there from the beginning, just by seeing Joel Esterhaz's name flashing in blinking lights, & an action film which has the feel and hallmarks of a B-movie, straight to DVD - and with that, Nowhere to Run didn't stand a chance.

Along with Streetfighter and several notable direct-to-DVD bombs, Nowhere To Run are two of Jean-Claude Van Damme's weakest movie offerings. The melodrama is overworked and overdone, quantity and quality-wise, the action is below par, & yet Van Damme should count his lucky stars that the success of Hard Target compensated for this low-par offering. 

Largely forgettable and dull & less fun than it comes across, this is beyond a bore. 


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