Jean-Claude Van Damme has never really taken part in timeless masterpieces. While the action star is always ranked alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) and Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), the Belgian’s filmography is ultimately the weakest. But of course that doesn’t change the fact that Van Damme is an absolute icon of action films and has produced really iconic genre hits with “Bloodsport”, “Universal Soldier” and “Harte Ziel”.
“Cultivated Charge – Double Impact”, which will be broadcast in full on Tele 5 today, August 18th at 10 p.m., may not have become a classic, but it is still a lot of fun, which is mainly due to the main actor Jean-Claude Van Damme . Here he plays the double role of the twin brothers Chad and Alex and is extremely playful. Then it only bothers you to a limited extent that “Ballasted Charge” has little to offer in terms of creativity.
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Businessman Paul Wagner (Andy Armstrong) gets into financial difficulties and has to get help from crime boss Nigel Griffith (Alan Scarfe) to build a tunnel between China and Hong Kong. However, he mercilessly stabs Paul in the back and kills his entire family – with the exception of two twin babies, who are separated.
25 years later, Paul’s former confidante, Frank Avery (Geoffrey Lewis), tries to reunite the two separated sons. He travels to Hong Kong with one of the twins, Chad (Jean-Claude Van Damme), to track down missing brother Alex (also Jean-Claude Van Damme) and take up the fight against Griffith’s brutal syndicate…
+++ Opinion +++
It’s quite fun to see Jean-Claude Van Damme fulfill his dual role in The Load. While Chad is a grinning sunny boy from Los Angeles who runs his own karate studio and enjoys the good life, Alex is a stray bad boy who consistently lets himself be drifted through the streets of Hong Kong with a cigar in the corner of his mouth. For me, the juxtaposition of the two characters is associated with some thoroughly amusing gags – especially when JCVD in spandex pants simply insists on pressing his tight ass into the camera.
The self-mockery that appears again and again in these scenes is one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s great strengths – in addition to his absolutely legendary balancing act, which of course can also be used again in “Ballasted Charge” when it comes to the cunning tirades – Rabble goes for the collar. In terms of action, however, the film has to rank behind “Sudden Death”, “Leon” or “Ohne Ausweg” for me, because the director (Sheldon Lettich) doesn’t do enough with the actually strong Hong Kong setting.
As a result, the action is just solid most of the time, but not impressive or even particularly kinetic. In “Ballasted Cargo” it even lasts until the grand finale, when Sheldon Lettich flexes his theatrical muscles a little: at Hong Kong’s container port, Van Damme can prove himself at dizzying heights when he is on the move on one of the largest shipyard cranes in the world. A strong conclusion, whose energetic power I would have wished for much earlier. Then “Ballasted Charge” could have become a real genre highlight.
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