Year: 1989
Director: Albert Pyun
Cast: Jean Claude Van Damme
Van Damme's original and still the best. Not for his (non) acting, but for pure directorial mettle. With a gloriously B grade premise and straight-to-video budget, director Pyun manages stuff with his camera that's still the staple of video games, music videos and directors from John Woo to Michael Bay. Woo in particular loved the device of showing a punch or impact three or more times from different angles in quick succession.

Also something akin to the constrast between moods John Milius nailed in Conan the Barbarian and Beat Takeshi makes a career out of; languid slowness (as when the hero and heroine are in bed and the camera slowly pans to the villains leaning in the window), then an explosion of violence.

Van Damme is a cybernetic man travelling a post apocalyptic wasteland looking for trouble to get in and then out of when he comes across a cute family that are being terrorised by a band of cruel mercenaries.

Cue inevitable love blossoming, being discovered, horrible fate and rampage of revenge - except it's all done with more flair and style than the genre, actors or script deserved, making it more than the sum of it's parts and very enjoyable as a result.

If schlocky 1980s straight to video action movies ever enjoy the same sort of resurgence exploitation horror is at the time of writing this review thanks to the likes of Tarantino and Eli Roth, guys like Pyun will be the new kings of Hollywood.

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