"If you are looking for a frenetic action movie full of fights, car chases and explosions then look someplace else. “Swelter” writer-director Keith Palmer is more interested in building tension and exploring the consequences of of violence. There are a few cool action sequences but they are means to an end: to tell a story about redemption and second chances.
Instead of featuring a trigger-happy hero, Bishop (Lennie James) is a sheriff that keeps the order without using a fire arm. He is an introspective and thoughtful man that tries to do the right thing and live a peaceful life, until his less honorable past comes to haunt him.
The darkness in his previous life is embodied by four dangerous criminals: Cole (Grant Bowler), Boyd (Josh Henderson), Kane (Daniele Favilli) and Stillman (Jean-Claude Van Damme). But even “the bad guys” here are complex, each of them having different codes and agendas.
Favilli leaves a particularly strong impression. His natural charisma and the unpredictability of his character create a menacing presence that reminded me of Heith Ledger’s Joker. Van Damme also shines in a more subtle and vulnerable role. He brings all of his gravitas to a character that is a flawed human, not a fighting machine."
Here's a great video of Arnold Schwarzenegger giving a tour of Venice beach and the hangouts from his bodybuilding champion days. I thought this was interesting especially since Arnold wasn't "in character":
We also have a review of Enemies Closer by Miro:
""We hunt the ranger! We kill the other guy!". This line definitely sounds like Hard Target 2, but this time the hunter is Jean-Claude Van Damme. He is playing Xander, a crazy vegan drug lord searching for his 50 pounds of heroin. This is the third time that Jean-Claude Van Damme and director Peter Hyams have worked together (after Timecop in 1994 and Sudden Death in 1995), and Hyams himself admitted in an interview that the main protagonist had to be played by JCVD. But he wanted to do something new and original with him, so that's how the persona of Xander was born. Don't get confused however, being directed by Hyams doesn't mean it's as good as Timecop and Sudden Death. Overall I will say it's pretty good for a low-budget DTV movie shot in Bulgaria.
The protagonists are Henry & Clay, played by Tom Everett Scott and Orlando Jones, who have to work together if they want to survive. And I did enjoy the characters. Another interesting character is Kayla, played by Linzey Cocker, who is the love interested of Henry. The performance by JC's son Kris is also a good one, he had his highlight in a fight scene with one of the protagonists.
There isn't a lot of shootings in the movie, but instead of that everybody has a fight scene with somebody. Definitely a hard-hitting movie, not a martial arts one, but the fight scenes are one after another. But the biggest plus of the movie is, of course, JCVD. Giving some crazy acting, he reminds me a lot of Batman's Joker and steals the show. There is even a moment when he's talking about his past, similar to the story of Joker's scars.
This movie will definitely be enjoyed by Van Damme fans and overall it's a pretty solid action movie.
My rating of the movie would be 8/10"
Lastly we have this picture from Iron Arnold/John Smith of action heroes vs superheroes: