Minimal payoff
Maximum risk, glimmer man disappointing fare

By JEFF CRAIG

Jean-Claude Van Damme should have gone into drug rehab before deciding that Maximum Risk was a good idea, rather than after finishing shooting it.

And the visibly aging Steven Seagal should have hit the fat farm before pretending he was the Glimmer Man.

The declining kings of action flicks are the two premier entries in home video releases this week, with largely disappointing fare.

Maximum Risk had a minimal payoff at the box office, and was critically slammed for, among other things, reducing a promising role for Alberta-born Natasha Henstridge to one of a cardboard-cutout girlfriend.

Van Damme likes to say he's "the Fred Astaire of karate," but few turned out to see him dance his way through a silly plot of himself playing his murdered twin brother going after a serial killer who turns out to be not one person, but the Russian mafia and corrupt FBI agents.

The film's for hardcore fans of highly violent action that takes the place of plot or characters. It's like a Nintendo game.

Ditto for Seagal's Glimmer Man, which is the tough guy's attempt to break free from strict action flicks by playing a ... wait for it ... Buddhist detective.

He teams up with Keenen Ivory Wayans and goes after a serial killer who turns out to be not one person, but the Russian mafia and corrupt FBI agents.

Oh, no, that was Maximum Risk. Glimmer Man is just about a serial killer.

Not that it really matters.

Seagal did well with Under Siege and Van Damme scored with Sudden Death, but both stars are beginning to suffer from the limits of the genre. It's worn out, and needs originality to rise above the ordinary - which is exactly why Speed was such a huge crossover hit with moviegoers.

And why James Cameron - who's in Mexico right now wrapping his gargantuan Titanic epic - had grosses of more than $350 million with True Lies, which was about as character driven as an action flick can get.

And it's why Sylvester Stallone is getting box-office grosses of about $350 with every outing he makes.

If you're after a new release this weekend that the kids will like, try Space Jam. Although it combines the troubling trend of putting sports stars (Michael Jordan) in with Roger Rabbit-styled animated effects, it's a charming little movie.

For more serious movie fans, the best thing to hit the shelves in ages is the video release of Jude, which made it into stores last week.

March 14, 1997

Sourced from jam.canoe.ca


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