ByJames McDonald, writer at
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

A man’s heroic attempt to help a woman in distress ends up with him waking up the next day without a kidney and plotting his revenge.

In “Pound of Flesh,” Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Deacon, an ex-military specialist who is on his way to the Philippines to see his brother George (John Ralston). Apparently, George’s young daughter Isabella (Adele Baughan), has a rare genetic disease that attacks the kidney and Deacon is the only viable match in their family so he agrees to meet them whereby he will donate one of his kidneys to Isabella. He arrives the day before the operation and that night, he meets the beautiful but mysterious Ana (Charlotte Peters) and after spending the night together, he wakes up the next morning in his bath tub and realizes that one of his kidneys has been stolen.

Through a series of flashbacks, he vaguely remembers being drugged and a surgeon operating on him throughout the night and with his niece in dire need of his kidney, he teams up with George and an old friend, Kung (Aki Aleong), and with the help of some allies, they are able to track down the bad guys where the finale culminates in an explosive showdown. Overall, Van Damme’s movies have good production quality but here, sadly, the look of the movie is well below expectations and at times, the movie suffers as a result but many of the action scenes more than make up for a lot of the film’s shortcomings.

The one thing I’ve noticed about Van Damme movies lately, is that they are not as focused on the action, violence and fighting that they once used to be. Instead, Mr. Van Damme proves that he is that rare breed of muscular action hero that can not only fight but can perform as well. He more than proved his acting abilities with his amazing turn in the 2008 film simply titled “JCVD” and personally, out of the three “Expendables” movies to date, his bad guy role in Part 2 was by far the very best out of the three. He has always been an exceptional martial artist but with a missing kidney in this film’s story, naturally, his fighting abilities are severely impaired.

“Pound of Flesh” is not your typical Van Damme movie, it actually sets out to try and tell a somewhat interesting story and while it succeeds at times, there are moments when it falls flat on its face, much like the lifeless corpses littered throughout the movie. I recommend “Pound of Flesh” simply for the fact that Mr. Van Damme actually gives a worthwhile performance but if you’re looking for the Van Damme of old, I’d highly recommend watching some of his earlier movies instead.

In theaters and on iTunes May 15th

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