Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sudden Death

By Alan Trehern, Certified Helicopter Pilot

Yep, it's me again, your friendly neighborhood Solar Sentinel editor bringing you the movies you should and SHOULD NOT see. For most of this month, I've been bringing you certified garbage that you as audience members should never see. As an eternal servant to the people, I've viewed these cinematic atrocities so YOU don't have to. But lo' and behold, finally there comes a movie that not only I intensely enjoyed, but one that you certainly will enjoy in any scenario as well. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...

Sudden Death (1995)
Directed by Peter Hyams
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Powers Boothe
Tagline: "Terror goes into overtime". YEEAAAHHHHH!
This movie was dank. One of the best Van Damme movies I've ever seen...and I have seen...alot of Van Damme movies. I've even been shunned for watching too many Van Damme movies. To me, that's like being too generous, or too sexy, or too bad ass. While Van Damme and I share all the aforementioned qualities, he's the only one that manages to deliver an action-packed, death-defying, adrenaline-pumping hockey-thriller like Sudden Death.

As in all Van Damme movies, our hero is personally and mentally wounded by a previous event at the start of the film. In this specific scenario, fireman Darren McCord (Van Damme) accidentally crushes a little girl when a whole building falls on top of them. He survived though, like a boss. His guilt overwhelms him, probably sacrificing his marriage, and sending him down a path of self-doubt and loneliness.
This crippled Van Damme decides to take his kids to the final game of the Stanley Cup finals (Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks), and the vice-president of the United States is in attendance. Little does anyone know, a terrorist group led by Joshua Foss (Boothe) intends to take the vice-president hostage. Their asking price? Billions of dollars from numerous banks, a feat that they've timed to last the entire length of the hockey game.

Oh, and it gets even better. To motivate the government to bend to his will, Foss has placed 10 C4 explosives at pivotal areas of the arena, which will go off at the end of the third period. Van Damme, being the fire security marshal, has to determine where each bomb is located within the arena before it explodes, while Foss keeps Van Damme's daughter hostage and his son is harassed by Foss' brutes.

This is basically Die Hard with some major twists, and since both of these movies are really enjoyable to watch, I can't knock the creators of Sudden Death for improving on a formula that already works. Everything in this film was just a total success, even as the events approached the ridiculous and unlikely (No one figured out Van Damme was the goalie? Really??). Fights with mascots, swinging from the rafters into VIP suites, fights on top of the arena... Uh, I could go on and on about this movie.
Van Damme was his usual on-screen character: perfect Van Damme. Like I said, he knows the formula that works, and he sticks with it. He's a loving and caring father that puts others' safety before his own. And for a firefighter, this guy can kick some ass. Van Damme's fight scenes were epically brutal, and there were plenty of them to satisfy the true action junkie. Despite his decision to bring little kids to a major sporting event with huge political figures attending and then LEAVING THEM ALONE, I would say that no one BUT Van Damme could have been in this movie.

Powers Boothe was really good as the villain. He reminded me of a ruthless Lex Luthor, who instead of leading you on by telling you his plans, shoots you in the face. He kills without remorse, and then he jokes about it. No one, and I mean no one, managed to stand up to him. EXCEPT VAN DAMME! BOOM!!

I've always liked Boothe, but this was one of the few films I've seen him in where he shares the lead role, and I was thoroughly impressed. Is he a better actor than Van Damme? I can't say, because Van Damme wasn't acting in this movie...he thought it was real life!

Final Thoughts
You may think my film suggestions are unfounded and a waste of time. But take it from a member of the Action Film Junkies Guild (I'm looking at you Mikey and Boze), Sudden Death is definitely worth a rent. If it was in theaters today, it would be worth the $15-20 to see in 3D. Van Damme should become a patron saint for this movie. He should be nominated in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The NHL should show this movie to new employees and players to educate them on dealing with an arena terrorism situation. It is an excellent way to spend a night by yourself, with a group of friends, or with that special someone on your first date. It's a movie for any occasion!

Stay tuned tomorrow where I review Dead Snow, the Norwegian Nazi zombie movie...


Panther Joe said...

like a boss...nice.

i've been planning on watching dead snow as well. it looks pretty awful, but it beats the education of charlie banks.

Ben Pearson said...

I remember watching this at the F-Block. (If I'm not mistaken, Joe owns it on VHS.) I had never seen it before, but I greatly enjoyed it. I remember Powers Boothe being effective and fun to watch, and the "rafters" scene was insane.

Doesn't surprise me that you dug it, Trehern, considering you have a bigger hard-on for Van Damme than anyone on Earth.