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Legionnaire [Import]

Jean-Claude Van Damme , Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje , Peter MacDonald    Unrated   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Legionnaire [Import] + Lionheart (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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Product Description

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Exiled to a video-only release when its distributor balked after the flop of Jean-Claude Van Damme's previous film Knock Off, this lavish adventure deserved a chance at theatrical success. Action icon Van Damme recasts himself as a tragic romantic hero in this entertaining old-fashioned adventure with a modern sensibility. "The Muscles from Brussels" is no Brando, but he acquits himself nicely as a cocky boxer who double-crosses a Marseilles mobster and joins the French Foreign Legion when his half-baked plan backfires with tragic consequences. Surrounded by a better than usual cast (including Steven Berkoff as a Teutonic drill sergeant, Jim Carter as the ruthless ganglord, and Nicholas Farrell as a gentleman soldier with a taste for gambling and a dark past), Van Damme's dour performance sometimes gets lost in the colorful characters around him. But that's okay--there's adventure enough to go around and he's willing to share it. The Marseilles scenes evoke a quaint movie past with their smoky bars and shadowy streets, but the film is reborn as an ambitious, stoic platoon drama in the sands of French Morocco. Legionnaire alludes to classic films from Beau Geste to Casablanca to Lawrence of Arabia, but ultimately marches its own macho course, reveling in testosterone-driven heroics and bonding-under-fire while acknowledging the irony of its colonial mission ("We're the intruders," realizes one soldier). It's a calculated risk for Van Damme (who also cowrote and coproduced), but if Legionnaire never quite grasps the epic scope it's reaching for, it remains one of his best films, a handsome, exciting, and surprisingly grim desert adventure. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "Beau Geste" for the Modern Era Dec 29 2003
Format:DVD
I grew up watching "Beau Geste" (which is a film which deserves to be on DVD)and all other films about the French Foreign Legion fall or rise to that film's greatness. That being so, "Legionnaire" stands as a solid drama of the men who join the legion to forget their past lives and to rebuild new ones--if they survive. The film is well-crafted and the wide-screen format is perfect in bringing the viewer the feel of the desert--its vastness, its heat, and its beauty. The film's action scenes are sensational and the final battles are both memorable and brutal. Jean-Claude Van Damme proves he is more than just a good body or fighting machine--he does some fine acting in this film. One wishes that it could be seen on the large screen--it deserves it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Adventure Aug. 16 2002
By DH
Format:DVD
Van Damme has a few movies under his belt, but they are a mixed bunch, that's for sure. Legionnaire, however, is one of Van Damme's better movies. Van Damme plays a Frenchman who joins the Foreign Legion after a tangled love affair goes wrong. We get some action before Van Damme joins the Legion, by way of boxing matches and then we are provided with some quality military action set in the desert. I must confess to enjoying this movie. Van Damme didn't overact and he actually suited the role. His supporting cast also did a nice job. The locations were quite inspiring. The script was very cliche in parts, but was acceptable. The highlight for me was the ambush and climatic battle scene in the latter stages of the movie. They were very well done. Overall, a well done action movie set around an uncommon theme and location. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this movie is far UNDERrated Feb. 21 2001
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I'd never even heard of "Legionaire" until a skit on "Saturday Night Live" (where Kris Kattan portrayed VanDamme) made fun of the fact that nobody saw this movie. I of course thought that this movie must be godawful, so I rented it just to be entertained by its horribleness. But I was amazed at what a great movie this was! It was kind of cheesy in places (like those stupid flashbacks that are supposed to be heartwarming and touching but are really just annoying) but the action sequences are really good. I'm surprised that a decent movie like this goes straight to video while other movies which are far more lame and stupid make it to the big screen. If you rent it you won't be disappointed, especially if you have low expectations to begin with
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robbed of Theater Play! June 5 2002
By Timotee
Format:DVD
This immortal piece of cinema pits the genius Jean-Claude Van Damme to join the French legion. After establishing himself as "A Genius", Van Damme impersonates a French legion officer and he becomes the lone survivor after a merciless battle. I can see he was trying to be Rambo, but he fell a little short. Rambo is pretty much an icon in American history, you can't touch that. This movie should have played in the theaters instead of going straight-to-tape. Tragedy! A good effort though Van Damme.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robbed of Theater Play! June 5 2002
By Timotee
Format:DVD
This immortal piece of cinema pits the genius Jean-Claude Van Damme to join the French legion. After establishing himself as "A Genius", Van Damme impersonates a French legion officer and he becomes the lone survivor after a merciless battle. I can see he was trying to be Rambo, but he fell a little short. Rambo is pretty much an icon in American history, you can't touch that. This movie should have played in the theaters instead of going straight-to-tape. Tragedy! A good effort though Van Damme.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good,but its not like his other movies Dec 14 2003
By Chase
Format:DVD
I went the store and i saw this movie on the counter and they had Van Damnes pic on it so i got it,i watched it,I wasnt pleased,i mean the movie was excellent,but where in the hell is Van Damnes high flying kicks,I am like a huge fan of Van Damne.This is like the only movie i didnt see him do his fancy kicks.This movie is worth watching,but if u wanna see his kicks dont get this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Jean-Claude goes epic/historical Feb. 15 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I heard the reason why this one didn't get a theater releases was because Van-Damme's previous ;"Knock-Off" was a dud. "Legionnaire" is definitely one of his best. The movie has a great story that is very beautifully shot, with action sequences that are reminiscent of "Glory" and "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" The supporting cast also lends great acting and overall this movie must not be overlooked. This aint your usual "kick-butt" Van-Damme film , but very much better. Give this film a chance and you'll see why it deserves a theatre first audience. Also the DVD is well done with animated menus and tons of historical footage and documentaties about the Foriegn Legion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A moving and touching film, with plenty of action Feb. 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Van Damme scores big in this movie. Finally he has picked a movie with a decent supporting cast and a good story. Unlike previous films, Van Damme's kickboxing and martial arts skills are blended nicely with real life situations and drama. This movie deserved a theatrical release, the action is tasteful and the movie has a quick but meaningful pace. Some of the characters have some tired dialogue about being presecuted, but that aside the actors fit their roles. Overall the movie ranks among one of Van Dammes better emotional roles. Lionheart has the same tug on the heart strings, as well as the Legionaire angle.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Plays very good received in well packaging
Published 25 days ago by gigi195211
3.0 out of 5 stars Pas mal...
Une histoire intéressante, malgré plusieurs longueurs. La fiche indiquait bien "Dubbed: French, Spanish", mais le DVD n'est qu'en anglais, sans sous-titres,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by P. Loranger
1.0 out of 5 stars wrong disc from manufacturer
The 1 star rating is not for the movie, its for a manufacturing mix up. Let me start by saying I like this movie. It's a more mature work for Van Damme and well done. Read more
Published on April 9 2008 by Michael
3.0 out of 5 stars better than i expected or hoped(2.7/5)
for a Van Damme movie,this isn't half bad.there's some pretty good
action sequences,and the dramatic scenes aren't too shabby either. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2007 by falcon
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Van Damme Movie
Jean-Claude Van Damme needs to stay direct-to-tape after this slow, drawn out movie. He joins the French legion after he doesn't take a fall for a couple of gangsters. Read more
Published on May 23 2002 by jason
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst movies in the history of filmmaking
It is hard to describe why legionaire is as horrible as it is. A frightfully awesome mix of unrealistic fight scenes, tragically overdramatic acting, and a plot that is just... Read more
Published on May 31 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Legion Etrangere
Great movie - a historically correct depiction of the Legion of the '20s, and Van Damme plays a character who embodies the classic heroic traits of courage, honor and... Read more
Published on June 29 2000 by E. H. Ellis
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