Jean-Claude Van Damme
Vivica A. Fox
Maybe because my expectations for current Van Damme movies are virtually nil, but I was a tad bit surprised at how seriously THE HARD CORPS tried. Yeah it’s got a terrible script and some god-awful acting, but it’s not Grade-D laughably bad like a lot of the VD’s other movies. It’s just not really good. Writer/director Lettich does pull a smart move though. He portrays the main character as a soldier burnt out by war, a stiff and emotionless shell of a man. It makes Van Damme’s typically wooden performance look like real acting. It’s really quite a genius strategy.
Ultimately though, two major problems keep THE HARD CORPS from direct to video success. The first is the lack of action. I’m glad they want to focus on the “story,” but there’s only one reason we watch Van Damme movies—to see the man kill nameless henchmen and do the splits on two chairs. (I think the Muscles from Brussels kicks three guys in the entire flick.) Maybe next time, spend less money on getting a “name” like Vivica A. Fox for the pointless romantic interest and opt for a few more explosions instead. The other noticeable fault is that way too much time is spent setting up the story. By the time Van Damme has assembled his team so the real action can start, there’s less than a half an hour left in the movie.
Here’s how I’d remake THE HARD CORPS. Keep five minutes of exposition and then introduce the team—Van Dammage, Dolph Lundgren, Jeff Fahey and Michale Dudikoff—and pit them against Steven Segal. That’s an automatic five stars from this reviewer.
Actually it might be worth a rental just to hear the “Hard Corps” theme song—the best (worst) film-related rap since LL Cool J’s Deepest Bluest (My Hat Is Like A Shark’s Fin).