Jean-Claude Van Damme reunites with ASSASSINATION GAMES director Ernie Barbarash with this action thriller that definitely proves to be a plus when it comes to a comeback quest for the Muscles from Brussels.
Ex-mercenary Samson Gaul (Van Damme), now living in Moldova, has been hired by the police to rescue kidnapped children. When his last mission results in the accidental death of two young girls, Samson decides to retire and follow in his father’s footsteps and becomes a butcher.
Six months pass by and Samson is living life as a butcher. However, he is still haunted by the deaths of the two young girls. He goes as far as seeing their ghosts when he is asked by his son Selwyn (Kristopher Van Varenberg) to take on a new mission. He is asked to rescue the fourteen-year daughter of a visiting mixed martial arts champion (Joe Flanagan). At first reluctant, Samson ultimately decides to take the mission because he feels it will give him a sense of personal redemption after the failure of his last mission.
Originally titled THE BUTCHER, which makes more sense rather than the re-titled 6 BULLETS, this is definitely a pretty good Van Damme vehicle. The sands of time have definitely reached Van Damme and the former 80’s action star has delved into projects where he can stretch both his acting and action skills. This film is definitely one of those projects, where he plays an ex-mercenary finding personal redemption in his first mission in six months.
While Van Damme does his best to play the ex-mercenary, the supporting cast offer more clichéd performances. For instance, Joe Flanagan plays a mixed martial arts fighter whose daughter is the catalyst for Van Damme’s quest. While Flanagan plays a MMA fighter, he is only given one fight scene and spends the rest of the film as a worried father who relies on Samson to help. The villains are beyond clichéd, making this perhaps mostly viewed as a standard B-movie film, but with Van Damme’s character driven, it helps a little bit. The one who helps Samson with his issues is his government agent son, played by his real son Kristopher Van Varenberg. Meanwhile, daughter Bianca Bree has a small role as a woman working for the villains. In all of his latest films, Van Damme has both of his kids in supporting roles.
As mentioned, Van Damme has withstood the sands of time. Thankfully, he is able to use a different style of unarmed combat that matches well with his age. While Van Damme still throws some trademark roundhouse kicks, he resorts to using a more close-quarter style combat when it comes to his action scenes. In his opening fight scene, Van Damme uses a distinct knife-fighting style and in another fight scene, he uses a stick to take out a band of nightclub thugs.
While many feel Jean-Claude Van Damme has truly went past his glory days, 6 BULLETS prove that the “Muscles from Brussels” can adapt with age and thanks to an actually decent acting performance and use of close-quarters combat, this is actually a pretty good vehicle for him.