2 1/2 StarsJCVD is back in action, this time playing a military attache assigned to a US embassy under siege from a local fanatical militia. Second in Command is a small scale action vehicle for the aging star, but it delivers the goods without too much over-blown editing and violence. Jean Claude Van Damme is former Navy SEAL, Sam Keenan, who arrives at his latest post in a turbulent Eastern European nation, on the day of a coup.
Director Simon Fellows is the man calling the shots on this one and he does a good job moving the film along at a crisp pace and for not feeding into the rapid cutting foley most in the genre adhere to. Van Damme again plays a military man, for what seems like the dozenth time in his career, and frankly the man seems as tired of it as we are seeing him in these roles. Not to say that JCVD is bad, just uninterested. Perhaps that could be attributed to the lackadaisical attitudes of the characters hiding out in the besieged compound. This displays the central problem with Second In Command there is no sense of dread or mounting tension, even as the heavily armed militia are threatening the walls of the embassy.
Lets be honest, Van Damme has done much worse in the Direct-to-DVD market, (see Derailed), and much better (see Wake of Death). This is a slightly above average action thriller that comes in and gets the job done, with nods to the Westerns and Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. Making Second in Command something like a modern day military themed Alamo retelling. One of the characters in the movies remarks on this similarity, to which Jean-Claude replies, “Well, we got Texas,” yea and we got this, not sure which is worse.
Director: Simon Fellows
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Julie Cox, Razaaq Adoti