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The Curator of Schlock #38 by Jeffrey Shuster

The Order (or, Charlton Heston Gracefully Exits his Career)

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 Guess what? It’s Van Damme month here at The Museum of Schlock. The scuttlebutt around the Internet is that Jean-Claude Van Damme’s career took a nosedive after the poor performance of Street Fighter at the box office back in 1994. Eventually, it was determined by the powers that be that Van Damme was no longer a box office draw. They ceased releasing his movies theatrically, but that didn’t stop him from making movies for the home video market. Yes, today I’ll be reviewing a made-for-video Van Damme movie called The Order that was written by Van Damme himself. My life is hell.

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The Order starts out during the middle ages when crusading knights were trying to seize the city of Jerusalem. There was much killing and maiming going on. A Flemish knight named Charles Le Vaillant (Jean Claude Van Damme) observes the slaughter and determines that killing in the name of God is wrong. He decides to create a new religious order called The Order, which combines the tenants of faith of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Wow! Why didn’t anybody think of this before? Just make one big religion so people won’t fight with each other anymore! There’s something about Le Vaillant writing down some final prophecy that will shed light on something, but this bit of parchment gets lost when more crusading knights show up. Apparently, crusading knights don’t take too kindly to heretics and they cut Le Vaillant down to size. This scene was narrated by Charlton Heston who speaks to the audience like we’re a bunch of four year-olds. Okay. We’re off to a bad start, but things can improve, right?

Fast forward about thousand years and we’re introduced to Rudy Cafmeyer (Jean Claude Van Damme) who is a master thief and international man of mystery. Rudy manages to steal a Fabergé egg from the Russian mafia, but it ends up getting crushed when his buyer decides to steal it from him instead of paying for it. Whatever. Fabergé eggs were made to be broken. Am I right?

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Anyway, it’s later revealed that Rudy’s dad is a prominent archaeologist who’s discovered a treasure map to the lost treasure of King Solomon. Rudy travels to Jerusalem where he encounters Professor Walt Finley (Charlton Heston). Finley gives him the key to a safety deposit box, there’s a car chase, Finley gets shot in the heart by some bad guys, and there’s no more Charlton Heston for the rest of the movie. What a gyp!

There’s an evil Israeli Police Chief played by Ben Cross who wants to work with evil members of The Order to blow up The Dome of the Rock during Ramadan so The Order can start World War III. There’s a good Israeli police officer played by Sofia Milos who buys Van Damme some fresh hummus. Okay. I’m tired of writing this review. There is a kickboxing scene where Van Damme is disguised as a Hasidic Jew.

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You don’t see that everyday.

Ten Things I Learned from The Order 

  1. Sometimes a sect is really just a cult.
  2. Van Damme’s accent is outrageous and awesome at the same time.
  3. It’s not a proper Van Damme movie until his shirt is ripped off.
  4. Van Damme should start writing Dan Brown style mysteries. He’s got the writing chops.
  5. Ben Cross should really be playing leading men and not villains.
  6. The sound of Van Damme eating hummus will haunt you in your sleep.
  7. Apparently, you can give a star like Charlton Heston top billing when he’s only on screen for five minutes.
  8. King Solomon’s treasure wasn’t as magnificent as I thought it would be.
  9. People should really stop stealing Fabergé eggs. They just end getting broken and then no one can enjoy them.
  10. Made for video Van Damme movies are one of real tragedies of our modern era.

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.

 

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