B-Movies of our Youth: Lionheart (1991) Review

December 5, 2018

Movie Name: Lionheart aka Wrong Bet, A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave, Leon and Full Contact

Producer: Eric Karson and Ash R. Shah

Director: Sheldon Lettich

Release Date: January 11th, 1991

Budget: $6,000,000

Box Office: $24,078,196

 

Introduction

 

When I was a kid I was a big fan of JCVD. He was one of the martial artists that I would love seeing in film. This included, Steven Seagal, Check Norris and Don "The Dragon" Wilson, just to name a few. 

 

With the years, I find that the movies that I used to love just do not have the same lustre as they must have. Here is one of those movies. Today, I am reviewing Lionheart starring the great Jean Claude Van Damme. 

 

Story

 

At its core the story is very simple. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays the role of Lyon Gaultier. He is in the army and leaves the foreign legion to be with his ailing brother.

 

When he gets to the USA he finds that his brother is hanging on for dear life after being burned. He dies shortly thereafter. 

 

After this he strolls into what seems to be an underground street fight. This is where he meets, Joshua Eldridge played by Harrison Page. 

 

They eventually partner with each other as Joshua sees potential in making money with Lyon. However what Lyon wants is to get to the masterminds that lead to his brother's death. The rest of the movie is just getting back revenge on the criminals that killed Lyon's brother. 

 

Lionheart Trailer

 

Bottomline

 

Having watched this movie again, I find that it has not aged well. The dialogue as expected is very cliche and written in a lazy fashion. This is fine as it fits in the 80's style of martial arts movies where the story takes a back burner to the fight scenes. 

 

As for the fight scenes, in retrospect I find them slow. May be being used to the likes of Jet Li, Donnie Yen or Jackie Chan, has spoiled us, but the fights seem in slow motion. They also feel highly choreographed. Some of the punches in slow motion look like they miss the actor completely. 

 

There are times in the final fight scene, that you could swear you saw the same thing in Bloodsport. Slow motion movements with JCVD's face screaming as if someone just shot his foot. 

 

I also have to admit, that I know that JCVD was never a great actor, but in some of these movies and especially this one, he has the acting chops of a paper bag. 

 

Having said that, I believe is a typical JCVD movie from the late 80's and early 90's. It follows the same premise. He comes home and needs to avenge someone's death. This movie was a box office success. I think these movies were great at the time and are products of their own time. It is a guilty pleasure but you can save yourself some time and just look up Lionheart fight scenes on YouTube and you get 15 minutes of the best parts of the movie. 

 

Rating: 7 Lionhearts out of 10

 

What do you think? Does this movie hold up?

 

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