The Quest (1996) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, James Remar, Janet Gunn, Jack McGee, Aki Aleong, Abdel Qissi, Louis Mandylor directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme - movie review on The Movie Scene

The Quest (1996)   2/52/52/52/52/5


Jean-Claude Van Damme as Christopher Dubois in The Quest (1996)

The Quest is Still On

Some semi interesting facts about "The Quest"; it was Jean-Claude Van Damme's directional debut, he also wrote the story with Frank Dux and is supposedly based on Dux's own experiences. The most interesting fact about "The Quest", well for what is a bad movie, and it was deemed a box office failure, it literally flies by and before you know it you are at the end. That really doesn't say much for "The Quest" but then "The Quest" is really quite bad, an hour of back story for about 30 mintes of action and a story which feels like a reworking of "Bloodsport". In fact it feels almost like two movies with the last 30 minutes feeling like a live action version of a fighting computer game.

Christopher Dubois (Jean-Claude Van Damme - Kickboxer) is forced to flee America when he is wanted not only by some criminals but also by the police. Stowing away aboard a ship starts an adventure which seems him meeting pirates, learning to fight in the Mutai style and then managing to sneak himself into a top secret fighting competition in the legendary "Lost City" where the best of the best are invited to compete.

Jack McGee as Roger Moore in The Quest (1996)

I have to admit that for about 10 minutes "The Quest" impressed as we got the build up, the various invites to a secret fighting competition being sent out to the best fighters from around the globe. There are some good sets, none more so that the small New York set where we first meet Christopher Dubois, although seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme with his face painted like a clown is corny. But then after what is supposed to be a comical fight between Dubois and the police things go down hill quickly, well what do you expect when you have Roger Moore cast as Lord Edgar Dobbs a pirate who mimics James Bond.

Anyway get beyond the terrible Moore doing Bond the pirate what we get is a lot of drawn out story as Dubois ends up being tricked, trained in the art of Mutai and then reuniting with Dobbs with a plan to get to this secret fighting competion. It is quite literally an hour of pretty meaningless back story with what is meant to be some humorous moments which fails to deliver the things we all want to see and that is Dubois training in the art of Mutai.

That means at the end we get about 30 minutes of action at the secret fighting competition where the best from each country slug it out on a knock out competition. This is where "The Quest" becomes like a live action version of a computer game and not in a good way as we have stereotypes from each country, a Spanishman who fights in a bullfighter style pose and of course a Scotsman in a kilt. The worst of which is the fighter from Brazil who has a Capoeira style of fighting and looks a lot like "Eddy Gordo" from the "Tekken" computer games.

But coming across like a computer game isn't so much an issue if it wasn't for the fact the actual fights are quite disappointing. Short with very little style it all seems very mundane and that is made worse by the fact that Khan who is meant to be are bad guy fighter who Dubois has to defeat isn't really that bad or at least not frightening enough. It makes the final battle which is typically between Dubois and Khan very weak and ordinary.

As for the acting well less said the better because whilst Jean-Claude Van Damme seems a little toned down, probably as he had half of his mind on directing, the rest of the performances are over the top. In fact in some cases over the top is being a little generous because at times it occassionaly becomes almost pantomime like.

What this all boils down to is that "The Quest" is not a good movie even by Jean-Claude Van Damme's standards. It end up very ordinary with too much build up and not enough action which makes it quite ironic when it literally flies by and before you know it "The Quest" is over.


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