Review By Jamie M MacDonald - “Laws can be broken. Promises Can`t”
For two years Russell Hatch (Jean Claude Van Damme), an ex-Interpol agent has lived in darkness within punishing himself for what went wrong on that fateful night two years ago when an informant was killed. Hatch has been fulfilling a promise that he made that night to keep Jayden
(Emerson Min) safe to lookout for him as a father would. Jayden lives with his Grandfather Mr Kim (Ji Yong Lee) who runs a shop in Korea town. Hatch is only a phone call away and is always there if they need him. Jayden`s Uncle Dae Hyun (Peter Jae)) is involved with the gangs of Korea Town, and plays
on Jayden`s youth and him looking up to his lifestyle. Soon an on-going gang war comes to a head, now; Hatch has no choice but to call on the darkness inside. As the turf war gets out of control Hatch will go through anyone who gets in his way of protecting Jayden and his grandfather.
Writer, Producer and Director James Cullen Bressack creates a neon noir in Darkness of Man, as it weaves its dark tale, accompanied by a gruff grief stricken voiceover from Jean Claude Van Damme. All these ingredients give the film a modern noir feel that Bressack captures so well. You can see the influences of Korean cinema throughout the film. Especially in the way the photography is done, the city is as dark and moody as the characters of Korea town. Also, in the performance from Van Damme, he is burnt out and the mean moody expressions on his face tell the story itself, he is looking for salvation and this could be his way into the light. I`d say acting wise this is one of Van Damme`s best performances. With his narration, his acting, also with the look in his eyes you are
drawn into his story. Van Damme and Emerson`s Min`s Jayden are the heart of the story they are the driving force to the finale. The scenes between them are the standout moments in the film. The relationship between Van Damme`s Hatch and Ji Yong Lee`s Mr Kim is an important one as well, in his darkness Hatch has not been seeing too well as to what is going on around him blinded by the promise he made to be a father figure for Jayden.
Now, let us talk fight scenes. With so many blah films coming out recently with some terrible fight scenes, it is so reassuring to see that Van Damme at his age can still deliver a great fight scene. The action/fight scenes were choreographed by Luke LaFontaine. Though it does take a while to build up,
these very much fit the tone of the film. They are intensely brutal, but as with Korean cinema you get flashes of the violence then it cuts away after you see the damage caused by the brutality. This really does work well not just with the fights but with the gun play action as well, and is so worth the wait. I have been a massive fan of Van Damme`s since a kid and have grown up watching his films like so many other fans of my age. With Darkness of Man, I think you get more than just a fight film; it is a fusion of genres, it is a neon noir fight film thriller that has heart delivered brilliantly from Jean Claude Van Damme.
DARKNESS OF MAN is now available on digital.
Check out our Interview with Director James Cullen Bressack here
Check out our Interview with Kristanna Loken here
Darkness of Man

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