Bullet Points: Wake of Death
Wake of Death is one of the JCVD movies I missed out on during its initial release and when I say I missed out on it, I’m not exaggerating.
- The Premise: Van Damme plays Ben Archer, he’s the muscle for some connected guys, but he’s ready to leave it all behind and devote his life to his family. Archer has a wife Cynthia, who is a social worker for the INS, and a young son Nicholas. But Ben’s plans for a quiet retirement are quickly derailed when Cynthia brings home a young Chinese refugee named Kim. What Cynthia doesn’t know is her father is a violent gangster from China named Sun Quan.
- Background: Sun Quan is established as a very bad man in the opening minutes of the film after he and his wife make love for what would end up being the last time. During “pillow talk” his wife tells him she’s leaving him and taking their daughter Kim with her. Sun is not down with this plan in anyway, so he kills his wife.
- Motive for Revenge: Quan sends some of his boys to look for his daughter after an on the take INS stooge named Hoggins (nice name) tips Quan off about Cynthia trying to adopt Kim. Quan’s men track Cynthia down to her parents Chinese restaurant, where she is visiting with Kim and Nicholas. Quan’s men come in and things don’t end well for Cynthia or her parents… the two kids do manage to escape. So now Ben Archer has possibly the most classic reason for revenge, a murdered wife! Plus he has kids to protect… you back a man like Ben Archer in a corner like that and you are asking for trouble!
- The Action: There is something for every action fan in Wake of Death. Some fist fights, some shoot outs, a motorcycle chase, a car chase and a few well placed explosions! Plus Van Damme goes to this whore house and interrupts a gangster and some hooker playing some kinky bondage game and that scene ends when Van Damme shoots the guy in the head… Paul Kersey would be proud!
I definitely regret not checking out Wake of Death sooner. A really well put together movie, a great performance by Van Damme and a quality story. If you missed out on this one like I did, right that wrong as soon as you can.
Now, how about a few more bonus Bullet Points before I go?
- Van Damme’s Ass: While this movie is definitely a more modern JCVD film, Van Damme pulls an old trick out of his bag as his bare ass makes an appearance. At this point his ass should have its own IMDB page. It has definitely appeared in more movies than some of the action “stars” we have covered on the site.
- The Right Tool For The Job: If you are obsessed with torture scenes like my colleague Chad Cruise, you’ll want to note that a power drill can be an effective interrogation tool.
- In Media Res: Just last week I wrote about one of my modern day action movie pet peeves and while Wake of Death does use the In Media Res technique, it is a JCVD movie so it gets a pass from me.