The story is as follows: In China to donate his kidney to his dying niece, Deacon (VAN DAMME), an former black-ops agent, awakes the day before the operation to find he is the latest victim of organ theft.
Stitched up and pissed-off, Deacon descends from his opulent hotel in search of his stolen kidney and carves a blood-soaked path through the darkest corners of the city – brothels, fight clubs, back-alley black markets, and elite billionaire estates.
The clock is ticking for his niece and with each step he loses blood; Deacon with the help of his former underworld connections and his civilian brother will journey through society’s seedy underbelly, proving to anyone who crosses their path, nothing means more to a man than his flesh and blood.
The story is quite bonkers but in a thoroughly good way and is exactly the type of movie we want to see JCVD do.
We’ve had several unofficial trailers and an official trailer (below) which have painted a picture of what we can expect from the film.
The stand out scene is JCVD doing the splits while punching villain Boris (Mike Leeder) in the face as he attempts to drive away. This is the type of innovative action I love to see; you know the film won’t have cities exploding or CG galore so they will create more intimate fights which is always far more engaging.
The most important aspect of this film is that its Jean-Claude Van Damme back in a leading role; recently he’s had supporting roles in Welcome to the Jungle and Swelter which didn’t really involve him kicking ass but in Pound of Flesh it’s about the man himself. At 54 he is still able to move like the best of them and is showing no signs of slowing down; the action in this looks brutal and intense with JCVD looking at his best in years.
Pound of Flesh is also tinged with sadness as it was one of Darren Shahlavi’s final roles; despite playing villains in multiple movies Darren was a gent in real life and was always a pleasure to talk to.
He looks like he’s going to be on fine form in this as the villainous Goran; one of the men responsible for stealing JCVD’s kidney.
The rest of the supporting cast is also impressive to genre fans; we’ve got Aki Aleong playing Kung but you’ll also remember him from another JCVD film, The Quest. He’s more of a character actor rather than an all-out action star but he’s always great to watch on screen.
As mentioned above Mike Leeder plays one of the bad guys and is on the receiving end of Van Damme’s wrath; I remember when Mike used to write for the magazine Impact which I would buy regularly when I lived in the UK. He has a great knowledge of the genre and his work in front of and behind the camera has been first rate. He’s also working with Mark Dacascos on Ultimate Justice which he co-wrote with Marco Theiss, so that’s another movie to keep an eye out for.
The movie is directed by Ernie Barbarash who has worked with Van Damme previously on the underrated 6 Bullets and Assassination Games. He knows how to get the most out of his star and how to create fluid action scenes.
The fight coordinator is John Salvitti who has worked on several Donnie Yen films, including Flashpoint, Special ID and Iceman. What does this mean? It means we’re in for some kick ass fight scenes and from the recent trailers it looks like Pound of Flesh is going to deliver!
JCVD’s fighting style will be a little different this time around incorporating more of an MMA/jiu-jitsu style courtesy of Salvitti’s time working on Hong Kong action movies.
It’s been filmed on location in Guangzhou, China which is something refreshingly different from the usual Eastern European locations that many indie movies have been filming in over the past few years. I’m a big fan of movies shot in places other than North America as it always gives the films a distinctive look.
The film gets released in North America on 20 May 2015 so if you’re a fan of Van Dammage then mark Pound of Flesh on the calendar and support one of the all-time great action stars doing what he does best!
I’ll leave you with this 10 minute behind the scenes look at the film which features interviews with JCVD and the late great Darren Shahlavi.