The Curator of Schlock #273 by Jeff Shuster
Wake of Death
Death, death, and more death.
I’m not going to abbreviate his name. I know that seems to be the thing to abbreviate Jean-Claude Van Damme to J.C.V.D. or JCVD, but I refuse to do it. Jean-Claude Van Damme is human being, not an abbreviation. Is this jealousy, jealousy over the fact that you do not have as awesome a name as Jean-Claude Van Damme so you have to abbreviate it? Show some respect!
Tonight’s nonsense is 2004’s Wake of Death from director Philippe Martinez. Okay. It’s not that bad. If you like tales of violence and revenge, you’ll feel right at home. Jean-Claude Van Damme seemingly plays a bouncer named Ben Archer who is done working for the mob, making me think he did more for the mob than beating up unruly guests at fancy night clubs. Oh, and Ben Archer is from Marseille. That’s a town in France. This explains why Ben Archer has a French accent. He’s married to an American social worker named Cynthia (Lisa King). Together, they have a son named Nicholas (Pierre Marais).
INS intercepts a boat of Chinese migrants. Among them is a young Chinese girl named Kim (Valerie Tian) whose father murdered her mother and is also the head of the Triads. His name is Sun Quan (Simon Yam). Cynthia, the social worker, convinces Mac Hoggins (Danny Keoh), a high-ranking INS agent, to let her take Kim home with her. Archer gives Kim the chocolate mousse he was eating. It looks really good, but he had his mouth all over the spoon. That’s really gross. Get me a fresh spoon if you’re going to share your chocolate mousse with me.
What else happens in this motion picture? Oh, yeah. Sun Quan slits Cynthia’s throat in a Chinese restaurant. His gang also shoots the owner, his wife, the cook, and the wait staff because…why not. It turns out Agent Hoggins, the INS agent, is crooked and helps Sun Quan sneak drugs over to the United States. Hoggins told him Cynthia was housing his daughter so he killed her. Archer shows up at the restaurant, shoots a bunch of gangsters, sees his dead wife, cradles her dead body in his arms, and weeps and weeps and weeps. I bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater during this scene.
Naturally, it’s time for sweet revenge. Turns out Cynthia’s Uncle Max is a French mobster so Archer reaches out for his help. There’s a scene where Max and his goons have Hoggins tied up and proceed to drill him for information by using an actual drill. Even when they get the information they need, they keep drilling and drilling and drilling. Is this a Saw movie? This is not family friendly entertainment. Just shoot the guy when you’re done with him. Don’t go crazy with a drill.
We’ve got some car chases. A gas tanker explodes. There’s a shootout at the docks. The bad guy threatens the good guy’s son. Killing, killing, and more killing. Van Damme ends up on top.
And I’m at my word count.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
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