Bullet Points: 6 Bullets
Like many action movie fans, all it took was one viewing of Bloodsport when it was released on home video for me to become a Jean-Claude Van Damme fan.
From the late 80’s to the early 90’s my entertainment world was dominated by Van Damme movies and professional wrestling. My walls were covered in JCVD movie posters, it was not unheard for me to be at the theater the day a JCVD movie opened. But that all changed after Maximum Risk.
Suddenly JCVD movies didn’t have the same appeal. Looking at his filmography there are over a dozen JCVD movies from 1996 on that I have never even seen. The me in 1988 could not fathom the concept.
When I saw that 6 Bullets was available on Netflix I decided to spend some time with my old friend Jean-Claude and I was not disappointed.
- Jean-Claude Van Taken: In 6 Bullets, Van Damme plays Samson Gaul, a former mercenary that now specializes in finding people. The movie kicks off with Van Damme in disguise infiltrating a house where European perverts can spend some time with underage boys and girls. Gaul manages to rescue the boy he was hired to find, racking up an impressive body count and blowing up several cars in the process, unfortunately while he saved the boy, two young girls were collateral damage in his rescue operation. The two girls haunt Gaul and he retires from the mercenary game and returns to the family business… a butcher shop.
- The Role He Was Born To Play: Playing the role of Samson’s son Selwyn, is JCVD’s actual son, Kristopher Van Varenberg. Van Varenberg seemed more comfortable in this role than he did in Assassination Games, although I did think his work in Enemies Closer was solid too. JCVD’s daughter, Bianca, also has a role in the movie.
- Welcome to Moldova: The movie takes place in Eastern Europe’s Moldova. Moldava is located between Romania and Ukraine and is one of the few European countries who have not checked out BulletProofAction.com yet. And according to my research it is also known for its wines. And based on the movie it is also a big market for mixed martial arts. In the film, fighter Andrew Fayden (played by Joe Flanigan) is being wooed by a promoter in Moldova to come out of retirement for a fight. Andrew brings his wife Monica (Anna-Louise Plowman) and daughter Becky (Charlotte Beaumont) along for the ride. Who wouldn’t want an all expense paid trip to Moldova?
- And Now A Look at Traffick: When teenage Becky forgets one of the cardinal rules of childhood “Don’t Talk To Strangers” she finds herself a victim of Moldova’s human trafficking business. Andrew and Monica’s world is turned upside down! They work with Inspector Kvitko of the Moldova police and even go on TV and offer a reward for any information that will lead to the return of their daughter. Unfortunately for the Faydens the conventional methods do not pan out.
- 1-800-BUTCHER: The Faydens get a tip from a young man who works at the US Embassy in Moldova, Selwyn Gaul. He tells them to go see his father at the butcher shop and seek his help in getting their daughter back. When the Faydens arrive, Samson Gaul is half in the bag. Samson turns down the Fayden’s money, turns down Monica’s heartfelt plea, telling them he doesn’t do that kind of work anymore and tells them to let the cops handle it.
- Desperate Men Do Desperate Things: Not satisfied with the police progress and with Gaul refusing to help, Andrew Fayden decides to take matters into his own hands and hits the streets to see if he can find out anything about his daughter’s whereabouts. When some of the patrons of a gentlemen’s club make some off color remarks about Fayden’s daughter a brawl erupts, but with the odds against him even an MMA fighter can get the crap kicked out of him. Fortunately for Fayden a mysterious masked man comes to his rescue… no it is not Batman, it was Samson Gaul!
- Mistaken Identity: Hearing about what happened, Inspector Kvitko calls the Fayden into his office to give them an update on the search for their daughter and also give them a warning about the private consultation they were seeking with Samson Gaul. Kvitko spills the beans about the two dead girls from Gaul’s last rescue mission and reminds them Gaul is not a detective, he is a mercenary. Just a side note concerning Inspector Kvitko… When I saw a still frame shot of Steve Nicolson (who plays Kvitko) and Jean-Claude Van Damme on Roku’s Netflix app I thought it was none other than Max Casella of Doogie Howser fame.
- Unmitigated Gaul: Samson Gaul uses a more direct method then the police. Instead of pussyfooting around, Gaul disguises himself as a deliveryman and goes to the home of Moldova’s top crime boss, Bogdanov. He takes out the guard at the gate, then rigs a pickup truck up to act as a diversion for the other guards outside, then he does a trick with some grenades and a rope that has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Finally he gets to Bogdanov. Ties him up to a a bed and carves “Becky” into his abdomen, totally ruining his future plans for a Thug Life tattoo in the same spot. Gaul gives Bogdanov an ultimatum to return Becky to her parents. After Gaul cuts him loose, Bogdanov calls another pillar of society, Vlad, and tells Vlad to shut down the plan his cousin had for the American girl. What Bogdanov didn’t realize is Gaul was listening.
- What Does One Bring When Shutting Down A Cousin’s Plan To Sell A Young American Virgin?: The answer is gasoline and a chainsaw. Vlad shows up at his cousin Luca’s place to carry out Bogdanov’s wishes. While Luca is ready to comply, his girlfriend Amalia (Bianca Van Varenberg) is not ready to give up so easily when there is money to be made. Vlad shoots both Amalia and Luca and he then gets his first look at Becky who was handcuffed in the bathroom.
- Somebody Call Maury: Samson sent the number he got off the phone tap to his son Selwyn to trace the location of the call… when Samson arrives the police are already there. In the bathroom where Becky was held prisoner are the burnt remains of a blonde girl in the bathtub. Gaul immediately questions if it is Becky, Kvitko tells him a DNA test will be done. The Gauls and Kvitko are at the hospital anxiously awaiting the results of the DNA test. Dr. Sui shows up and gives the Faydens the bad news. Monica Fayden slaps Samson in the face as Andrew gives him the death glare.
- It’s Not Your Fault: Selwyn tries to comfort his dad, but Samson wants to hear none of it. He is once again blaming himself for the death of an innocent girl. He kicks Selwyn out of the butcher shop blaming him for getting him into this situation to begin with. After screaming at Selwyn to leave, Samson goes to the back of the butcher shop to get drunk. Selwyn sneaks back in moments later and takes one of his father’s guns as if he had a premonition of things to come.
- Rude Awakening: As Samson wakes up from his drunken stooper in the back of the butcher shop, Bogdanov and some thugs show up for some retribution. Hating life already, Samson tells Bogdanov to go ahead and kill him… but Bogdanov wants to watch Samson suffer and suffer he does as the thugs whip him with both whips and chains. But the pain brings on a moment of clarity for Samson Gaul, he flashes back to the corpse in the bathtub. The bracelet, Becky’s bracelet, was on the wrong arm. Now with a reason to live, Samson fights back, taking out Bogdanov’s men, and before Bogdanov can shoot Samson, Selwyn shows up gun blazing and takes out the crime boss and saving his dad in the process.
- Everything Is For Sale In Moldova: The Gauls hop on a motorcycle and race to the airport hoping to catch the Faydens before they return to the USA. As luck would have it, they get to the airport just as the Faydens pull up. Samson shares his theory with the Faydens, they question it at first but then it all makes sense. What better way to have the police stop looking for a girl then to make it appear she is dead!? But what about the DNA test?
I’ll let you experience the rest of the film for yourselves and trust me when I say you’ll be hooked at this point.
To me the weakest part of the film was Joe Flannigan’s character, Andrew Fayden. I never bought him as an MMA fighter. His wife actually seemed tougher than him at various points during the film.
The best part of the film was without question JCVD! I really like that JCVD has reinvented himself, but with that said 6 Bullets had some of that old JCVD magic. You watch the movie and you really want him to overcome his demons and help the Faydens. And while he will probably not win an Academy Award, one of JCVD’s biggest strengths is being able to connect with his audience and 6 Bullets is a great example of that and gets my recommendation.