Van Damme Does the Bodyguard
Can you imagine if Jean-Claude Van Damme had starred in "The Bodyguard" instead of Kevin Costner, it wouldn't have worked yet here in "The Hard Corps" we have a semi-similar storyline going on. Here we see Van Damme starring as an army vet. hired to head up protection for a former boxer who has a gangsta rapper wanting him dead and of course the boxer has a sister and well you know what that means. In nobody's book is "The Hard Corps" a good movie but when it comes to Jean-Claude Van Damme movies it does what it intends and that is to be simple action based entertainment.
When gangsta rapper Terrell Singletery (Viv Leacock) is given early parole Tamara Barclay (Vivica A. Fox - Kill Bill: Vol. 2) is worried about her brother former boxer turned entrepreneur Wayne (Razaaq Adoti) as it was he who gave evidence to put Terrell behind bars. Fearing that Terrell will put a hit on him Tamara hires Philippe Sauvage (Jean-Claude Van Damme - Second in Command) to put together a team of other army veterans to beef up security but is unaware that Philippe is emotionally scarred from what he saw and did in Iraq.
So I've already mentioned "The Bodyguard" and "The Hard Corps" whilst not a remake takes several ideas from the Costner movie and creates a new storyline from them. As such we have some familiar items such as Wayne not taking kindly to Philippe's total, uptight security which gets in the way of the way he likes to live. We also get some humour as Philippe sticks out like a sore thumb in Wayne's world and we get a scene where he takes the mick out of rap music being noise and words you can't understand. But to be honest whilst the storyline has various elements from the romantic subplot between Philippe and Tamara as well as Philippe being psychologically scarred from battle it isn't great, just enough as the vehicle for sporadic action.
As for the action well as has been the growing case in Van Damme movies the action consists of a lot more gun action than hand to hand combat. As such we get a lot of typical action scenes, a standard slow motion scene of Van Damme with machine gun in hand and when we see him kicking butt it is closely edited so it looks right but it lacks the flow of Van Damme's early movies. Don't get me wrong as it is still entertaining stuff, nicely put together so that the storyline is a good vehicle for the action with the action never over whelming it, but it doesn't leave you as impressed as those early Van Damme movies.
As for the acting, well "The Hard Corps" plays to Van Damme's strengths which is to act stiff and emotionally damaged so whilst the action isn't that impressive Van Damme's performance doesn't feel out of place. In fact all the performances are at the right sort of level with a humorous tone to them, be it Vivica A. Fox sexing it up as Tamara or Razaaq Adoti as her brother Wayne with his cocky attitude.
What this all boils down to is that "The Hard Corps" is little more than a reworking of other movies about bodyguards. But whilst it is nothing new it is a solidly entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.