Jean-Claude Van Damme and Marija Karan in Assassination Games (2011)

Too Washed Out

Flint (Scott Adkins) was a top assassin until he was left helpless, unable to prevent his wife from being attacked by a violent drug dealer who left her in a coma and him choosing to spend his days caring for her. Meanwhile his rival Brazil (Jean-Claude Van Damme) continues in the killing game, willing to take any contract for the right money as he feels nothing for anyone. When a contract is put on the drug dealers head Flint & Brazil end up joining forces one for the money, the other for the revenge. But their job is not an easy one as they find themselves not only having to deal with the criminal underworld coming after them but also crooked Interpol agents.

Watching "Assassination Games" made me think of Stallone and the "Rocky" movies, not because they are similar but because when Stallone tried to break the "Rocky" formula it didn't work because it wasn't what audiences wanted. This is the trouble with "Assassination Games" as it is in its own right a very good movie, stylish and with an okay storyline except it isn't what a big chunk of the Van Damme fans wanted, they wanted typical Van Damme cheesy action not sepia style and down played humour. You have to feel for Van Damme because he can't really win.

Scott Adkins in Assassination Games (2011)

So ignore the sepia drenched styling of "Assassination Games" which I will say now was not my thing and what we have is a simple enough storyline; two assassins working together for different reasons; a violent drug dealer as well as corrupt officials. On one hand you have Brazil who behind a run down flat has a luxury pad where he is a bit OCD about things and then you have Flint and his huge home where his wife lays in a coma. Along the way these two work together, don't trust each other, get in each others ways and plenty more whilst their acquaintances come under attack from officials. But all of this is played in such a down beat way that the humour which is there is sucked out of the movie.

It is not just the humour which is sucked out as the action is also capped and whilst there are some graphic scenes of violence the actual fight scenes are few and far between and whilst admittedly Van Damme is getting on it is what you want more than him hiding behind a weapon all the time. It is the same with Scott Adkins as whilst he gets to show off his moves more than Van Damme you still want more.

What this all boils down to is that "Assassination Games" is a well made movie and could have been great. The trouble is that it is a Van Damme movie and for those who have grown up on Van Damme action movies is not what you expect making it one of those movies which for Van Damme fans will take more than one watch to appreciate.