review for The Hard Corps on AllMovie

The Hard Corps (2006)
by Jeremy Wheeler review

Poor Jean Claude Van Damme... One could excuse his unfortunate appearance in Hard Corps as just an inevitable foray into the world of urban action, although even that rationale doesn't really justify this joyless retread. Face it, Steven Seagal went the same urban way with not one, but two flicks (namely, Exit Wounds and Half Past Dead), thus giving weight to the theory that maybe all washed up action stars have to eventually go that route late in their career. But Jean Claude is a different animal than his Sicilian cohort. Van Damme was always best in doses of flashy action and ridiculous dialogue that his foreign tongue could never wrap around too well. Maybe it was his old collaborations with Hong Kong heavyweight filmmakers that spoiled audiences, for up to this point they've been treated to only one feeble Euro action flick from the Muscles From Brussels each year since then. So maybe this urban kick might make for a welcome change for the actor, even if the final product of this outing is nothing to be proud of. For one, the fights in the film are slim to none. A few sequences of bare-fisted grit are on display, but it's mainly saved for Van Damme's younger team of bodyguards and the other male lead, Raz Adoti. Infuriatingly, Jean Claude is paired up with a mammoth of an actor in Mark Griffin - who himself looks like a beefed up clone of the Belgian star - though nearly nothing is done with their pairing; put these two guys together in the jungle fighting ninjas and the world would be a better place. As it is, Van Damme has just racked in another junky DVD title that garnered him little more than a kiss from co-star Vivica A. Fox, who apparently is in just as bad dire straits in her career to appear here.