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Until Death (Sous-titres français)

Jean-Claude Van Damme , Stephen Rea    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Robert Badgley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Until Death(released Jan/07) takes JCVD back to the Crescent City as a backdrop;his other being Hard Target in /93.Until Death has alot of good moments and it allows us to see an actor who has matured and improved his acting skills considerably over the years.
The story revolves around a police detective named Anthony Stowe.As the film opens he is heading up a major take down of a local gangster by the name of Callahan.Stowe has dogged Callahan for years and in fact has done some shady things in trying to get him but has failed.The sting almost goes off until the end when Callahan asks the female undercover cop to undress.Both her and her male cohort are killed and Callahan once more slips through Stowe's fingers.
Stowe seems to be on everyone's dislike list and when a fellow officer(Walter Curry-played by Trevor Cooper) asks Stowe to help out his nephew up on pot charges because he kept Stowe's name off the blotter awhile back,Stowe strangely tells the police chief about it and the officer is fired;losing his valuable pension.As I said Stowe is not popular.In fact Stowe is so messed up he has been addicted to heroin for years and is a walking,talking human mess;physically and psychologically.
One night Stowe goes to a restaurant for a quiet drink with a female local.She excuses herself to go to the powder room but leaves the building completely.Enter Callahan's thugs loaded for bear.A close fire fight ensues and just as Stowe leaves out the back door he is caught in a head lock by another of Callahan's thugs and confronted by Callahan himself.While in the headlock Stowe is shot up through the chin with the bullet lodging just behind his skull.One thinks he is dead but he miraculously survives the ordeal and has to undergo months of therapy to come back to near normal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty Van Damme good movie Aug. 8 2007
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I haven't seen all that many Van Damme movies, but the ones I have seen have all been pretty good (I'm one of the few people that actually liked Second in Command). I had my doubts early on this time around, though, as Van Damme looked like death warmed over, and his character was pretty hard to sympathize with, even for an anti-hero. But you know what? Van Damme himself may be showing some age now, but he is far from washed up. I see Until Death as a transition film of sorts for him; he shows that he can still be a tough guy without relying on elaborate martial arts displays and, more importantly, that he has developed into a decent actor. Anthony Stowe isn't your stereotypical, one-dimensional cop; there's a lot going on with this guy, and Van Damme does a really nice job of revealing both the bad and the good in the character.

Stowe is a NARC on the New Orleans police force, and he's carrying two huge monkeys on his back: a seemingly personal mission to bring down the city's most notorious gangster and a secret addiction to heroin. Obviously, he does not fit the description of a good cop. Watching fellow cops die as a result of his continually futile efforts to catch Callahan (Stephen Rea) doesn't do much for his already abrasive attitude, he has no qualms about roughing up potential criminals, innocents, or fellow cops, he doesn't work well (if at all) with a partner, and the heroin isn't helping his job performance. His personal life is in even more of a shambles, as he has just learned that the wife he has been neglecting is pregnant -- with someone else's child. Yep, you'd think life couldn't get much worse than it already is for old Anthony -- until the guy he's hunting finds him and leaves him lying in an alley with a bullet in his skull.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Badgley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Until Death(released Jan/07) takes JCVD back to the Crescent City as a backdrop;his other being Hard Target in /93.Until Death has alot of good moments and it allows us to see an actor who has matured and improved his acting skills considerably over the years.
The story revolves around a police detective named Anthony Stowe.As the film opens he is heading up a major take down of a local gangster by the name of Callahan.Stowe has dogged Callahan for years and in fact has done some shady things in trying to get him but has failed.The sting almost goes off until the end when Callahan asks the female undercover cop to undress.Both her and her male cohort are killed and Callahan once more slips through Stowe's fingers.
Stowe seems to be on everyone's dislike list and when a fellow officer(Walter Curry-played by Trevor Cooper) asks Stowe to help out his nephew up on pot charges because he kept Stowe's name off the blotter awhile back,Stowe strangely tells the police chief about it and the officer is fired;losing his valuable pension.As I said Stowe is not popular.In fact Stowe is so messed up he has been addicted to heroin for years and is a walking,talking human mess;physically and psychologically.
One night Stowe goes to a restaurant for a quiet drink with a female local.She excuses herself to go to the powder room but leaves the building completely.Enter Callahan's thugs loaded for bear.A close fire fight ensues and just as Stowe leaves out the back door he is caught in a head lock by another of Callahan's thugs and confronted by Callahan himself.While in the headlock Stowe is shot up through the chin with the bullet lodging just behind his skull.One thinks he is dead but he miraculously survives the ordeal and has to undergo months of therapy to come back to near normal.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Until Death A Step Up From The Direct To DVD Grave For Van Damme April 30 2007
By J. Urban - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I am one of Van Damme's biggest fans and always have been. I am a martial artist and his films have always interested me, but I never pretended they were actually great movies from any other standpoint than they featured great fight scenes. I don't think I have rated any of his recent films above a 3 and frankly, with some, that has been generous. Until Death gets a 4 from me. It is a rather gritty movie, like many of his recent ones (i.e. Wake of Death), but has elements and scenes that raise it above subpar and any of the recent Seagal straight-to-dvd garbage.

Movie Description:

A Vic Mackey styled narcotics cop, Anthony Stowe (Van Damme), is basically a cop who doesn't care anymore as he has had his feel of seeing corruption around him and its influence on him (he is not necessarily a stereotypical good cop himself). Not only is he failing at his job, but also failing at his marriage (you will not like Van Damme for the first 30-45 min.). After a failed drug sting that was supposed to nab his former corrupt partner--Callahan--Stowe falls deeper into drugs and alcohol. Due to his drug abuse, he isn't on his toes and gets ambushed and put into a coma. After awaking from his coma, he is a changed man who realizes he has a lot of wrongs to right. He goes about doing this and in the midst gets dragged back into the conflict with his former partner in an ultimate showdown.

Plot - C

If you watch and think, "Been there, seen that," you are probably right. Pretty much any gritty cop movie or television show has had a plot similar to the plot in this movie. There is no originality and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The movie sticks to the grittiness of a cop movie/television show and never lets up. There is a lot of graphic violence (i.e. hands being blown off, people being shot graphically in the head), so it is not for the squeamish. The overall riding theme of redemption kicks in after Stowe (Van Damme) wakes up from his coma. The ending can be seen way before it happens and there are no surprises. Again, this does not imply it is a bad plot, just one that has been used many times before (i.e. Training Day).

Character Development/Acting - C/C

As with most Van Damme movies, there isn't much character development or acting. What is surprising with this movie is that Van Damme actually overshadows his fellow actors (which is usually the reverse) by doing a really good job at presenting a flawed, but overall good person. I'm used to seeing Van Damme in hero type roles instead of an anti-hero role. This departure really makes it hard for the viewer to pull for Van Damme, but shows that Van Damme is fully capable of playing a troubled soul. He is most effective in his acting after his character comes out of the coma. As for supporting actors/characters, none are very memorable except for Stephen Rea who plays Stowe's former partner, now turned crooked cop and the movie's main bad guy--Callahan. The criticism of the actors and development of their characters--particularly the lesser cops in the movie--is well justified. They really are not good and add very little to the movie.

Music/Sound - B/C

There was a recurring piece of music that I found memorable, though for the most part it was typical of this type of movie. The sound for the gun fights was very clear and effective. Nothing really stands out though.

Cinematography/Visual Effects - B/B

The movie featured some interesting set pieces (supposedly the movie is set in New Orleans, but I doubt it was actually filmed there) and has some memorable scenes, filmed very tightly and realistically. The diner shootout and the final warehouse shootout were filmed very well and were not too choppy or incoherent like is sometimes common in these films. There isn't much hand-to-hand fighting and no martial arts for the diehard Van Damme fans (there is one kick--if you blink you'll miss it). All the action revolves around gun fights. There were a few film tricks which the director used to emphasize Van Damme's inner turmoil and to tell certain parts of the story. They were interesting and added some uniqueness. The gun shots to body parts were very realistic as I mentioned above. The special/visual effects are very realistic. The film is shot mainly in daytime settings so it is very clear, except for a few nighttime scenes, which are still well lit and filmed. The movie has the look of a much more expensive movie.

DVD/DVD Features - B/F

As with most direct-to-dvd movies nowadays, the DVD picture and sound quality are very good, but there are virtually no bonus features. The only bonus (special) feature is a previews section of other direct-to-dvd movies (interestingly enough, no trailer for Until Death--but there are trailers for Van Damme's Second in Command and The Hard Corps, both of which did not have their own trailers on their discs either).

Overall - B

Most people will enjoy the movie, sans any martial arts, which may turn off diehard Van Damme fans. People looking for a great movie will be sorely disappointed. People looking for a slightly above average action movie will be pleased. It is far superior than the direct-to-dvd stuff Seagal is putting out. Interesting to note: I went to Best Buy and Circuit City and neither store was carrying this movie. They said it was an online store only title. IF YOU LIKE VAN DAMME MOVIES, PLEASE SUPPORT HIM BY BUYING THE MOVIES IN THE STORES. First he disappeared from theaters and now from store shelves. Not a good sign. Anyways, this movie is worth a rental (mainstream audience) or purchase (for Van Damme fans).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Action Flick! May 4 2007
By Elf #2788 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I gave this movie 5 stars because it is very watchable and will not disappoint Van Damme fans. There are several flaws to this movie though (Van Damme seems to be able to walk around and drive pretty well considering that he hasn't used his legs in 7 months), but overall there's great action scenes, good looking girls, a decent plotline, and some surprisingly good acting. It is not the greatest action movie of all time but it does the trick if you're in the mood for an action movie and it will definatly not dissapoint Van Damme fans.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The new Van Damme Dec 19 2007
By dominion_ruler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
What makes this film comes down to one thing - Jean Claude Van Damme, both the actor, and the character he plays. Gone are the days of Van Damme old school kick butt action. The aging actor has substitued martial arts for improved acting. In Until Death, thats exactly what you get - very little action, limited to a couple of shootouts in exchange for a guy who can now finally act quite well and create a sturdy character.

Van Damme doesn't play your everyday good guy cop. He is messed up pretty much from the start. A drug heist goes bad in the beginning of the movie, and everyone wants to blame him for the mess. With consistent anger and depression, alcohol, drugs, and a wife pregnant by someone else, you have to wonder where this is all gonna turn around - if it even does. It finally does, on the deathbed. He gets a second chance, and begins to turn things back around. Though I will admit, I thought the first half of this movie was more interesting when his charcater was going downhill.

This is basically a thriller with some small character twists throughout the story, but nothing more. The bad guy in the film did not impress me at all, and as mentioned earlier, forget any hopes of fights - just guns in this film. Most of the characters can act well, but no one surprised me with more than required. Again, its all Van Damme who steals the show.

If you are a fan of the old school Van Damme, you may just hate this. If you want to see how much this guy has changed, this is worth checking out. Van Damme looks to be in a transitional period here, and if he continues to perform as well as he has here, he may still have plenty of years ahead of him in the industry.

Acting - 4
Action - 2
Characters - 3.5
Story - 4
Overall - 4
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty Van Damme good movie Aug. 8 2007
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I haven't seen all that many Van Damme movies, but the ones I have seen have all been pretty good (I'm one of the few people that actually liked Second in Command). I had my doubts early on this time around, though, as Van Damme looked like death warmed over, and his character was pretty hard to sympathize with, even for an anti-hero. But you know what? Van Damme himself may be showing some age now, but he is far from washed up. I see Until Death as a transition film of sorts for him; he shows that he can still be a tough guy without relying on elaborate martial arts displays and, more importantly, that he has developed into a decent actor. Anthony Stowe isn't your stereotypical, one-dimensional cop; there's a lot going on with this guy, and Van Damme does a really nice job of revealing both the bad and the good in the character.

Stowe is a NARC on the New Orleans police force, and he's carrying two huge monkeys on his back: a seemingly personal mission to bring down the city's most notorious gangster and a secret addiction to heroin. Obviously, he does not fit the description of a good cop. Watching fellow cops die as a result of his continually futile efforts to catch Callahan (Stephen Rea) doesn't do much for his already abrasive attitude, he has no qualms about roughing up potential criminals, innocents, or fellow cops, he doesn't work well (if at all) with a partner, and the heroin isn't helping his job performance. His personal life is in even more of a shambles, as he has just learned that the wife he has been neglecting is pregnant - with someone else's child. Yep, you'd think life couldn't get much worse than it already is for old Anthony - until the guy he's hunting finds him and leaves him lying in an alley with a bullet in his skull.

Miraculously, Stowe survives the shooting, but it is several months before he emerges from a coma. As his physical rehabilitation progresses, he starts taking steps to rehabilitate his life as well, apologizing and making amends to those he has hurt along the way. Unfortunately, though, the people he cares about the most remain in harm's way as long as Callahan is still out there - and he's really out there, having wiped out any and all criminal competitors and solidified his position as king of the criminal dung heap during Stowe's absence. You know an ultimate showdown between Stowe and Callahan is coming, and the movie does not disappoint, serving up an exciting, action-packed ending.

Van Damme isn't going to win any best actor awards, but he actually does quite a commendable job bringing out the nuances of his character, as Stowe tries to put his life back together again following his grievous injury. Until Death isn't focused entirely on action and more action; there's a really human element here that I wasn't expecting to find. If this film is any indication, Van Damme isn't going to disappear from the cinematic radar any time soon.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Damme is back May 4 2007
By Michael D. Blatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
OK not much martial arts in this but a good movie for all action fans whteher they are Van damme fans or not.

Good work!
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