Assassination Games (2011)
Assassination Games pairs veteran action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme with rising action star Scott Adkins in a tale of two skilled hitmen on the hunt for the same target. Vincent Brazil (Van Damme) and Roland Flint (Adkins) are both offered a contract on a criminal called Polo Yakur (Ivan Kaye), who was just released from prison. Flint has been living quietly in a remote part of the world with his bedridden wife. She was beaten, raped and put into a coma by Polo and his men, and she hasn’t recovered from it. Flint refuses the contract at first but ultimately has a change of heart. After finding out that another assassin has taken on the mission, he decides to go after Polo for revenge, regardless of the payment.
It comes to light that Flint has millions of dollars that belonged to corrupt Interpol agents, and they want it back. They arranged to have Polo released from jail in the hope of luring Flint out of hiding so they can capture him and retrieve their money. Brazil and Flint get in each other’s way when they both try to take out Polo so they fail to kill him. After a fight, they decide to work together on the contract as they have a common goal. However, because the mission is personal for Flint, it becomes very dangerous for both of them.
Van Damme’s Brazil is a professional contract killer. Cool, calm and calculated, he is a loner who trusts no one and doesn’t like anyone getting close to him. All he has is a cute pet turtle that retreats into its shell every time he tries to stroke it. Assassination Games is a real family affair for Van Damme as his daughter and one of his sons appear in the film. Kristopher Van Varenberg (Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Van Varenberg) plays an Interpol agent and Bianca Van Varenberg plays Flint’s wife Anna. They have both had roles in a number of Vam Damme’s other movies as well. Also, he was filming Assassination Games during his TV documentary series Jean-Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors, which gave viewers a glimpse into his personal life.
Scott Adkins is solid as the assassin with a personal vendetta but he isn’t given enough fights to show off his skills and the film doesn’t capitalize on the potential of his team-up with the action legend. Adkins faced off against Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum and played a Russian inmate and fighter in the Undisputed series of films. He is due to star with Van Damme again in Universal Soldier: A New Dimension and The Expendables 2.
Assassination Games is mostly set and filmed in Romania. The action sequences are well edited but scarce and there is a lack of man-to-man fight scenes. This is one that will probably satisfy those who like Van Damme’s extensive back catalogue of action films but it doesn’t really offer anything original or special to attract new audiences. It’s an enjoyable yet unspectacular action film that offers decent performances from its two leading men.
Assassination Games is out on DVD now.
Director: Ernie Barbarash
Writer: Aaron Rahsaan Thomas
Stars:Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins and Kevin Chapman
Runtime: 101 min