Friday, May 8, 2015
Premiere! Pound of Flesh
Then I spotted Van Damme's buddy Kamel, the majong parlor operator from Double Impact among many other VD films. Introduced myself to Peter Malota, a high kicking actor and stuntman who you'd know as the guard with spurs on his boots in Double Impact as well as popping up as The Spaniard in The Quest. Born in Albania, Malota has lived in Detroit for the last 20 years and was great to talk to. I didn't spend much time looking at the red carpet but noticed Terminator 3's Kristanna Loken at one point and then the man himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme, showed up with daughter Bianca. Van Damme was looking great, slim and built in a tight white top and trademark, trademark initialed ball cap. This is the 3rd time I've seen him in person and the 2nd time it's been a complete mob. After the taping of Jay Leno's Tonight Show, people rushed Van Damme's car and wouldn't back off so they sped away. It was more of the same here with security constantly yelling for people to step back. I was in the theater hallway when this happened and the man walked right by me in a huff. The next time I saw him, you could tell he was a little flustered from all the attention. The man has some really rude and pushy fans as a friend got shoved out of the way at one point. Inside the theater I spoke to Todd Senofonte, Van Damme's longtime stunt double who also worked on PoF as he mentioned it being a tough shoot. Former wife Darcy LaPier was there as well, not sure if their son Nicolas was in attendance or not.
Kirk Shaw and Barbarash introduced the film, talking about spending a couple of years securing the script and Van Damme, the difficulties of making modest budget action films and thanking everyone in attendance along with paying tribute to co-star and martial artist Darren Shahlavi who recently passed. Chinese producer Henry Luk expressed his satisfaction with the film and project and is looking forward to making more movies soon. In a funny moment Van Damme yelled "volume, please!" as the microphones weren't working which was followed by "focus!" shouted out by none other than Charlie Sheen! The night was running late of course and we all settled in to watch Pound of Flesh, the tale of JCVD's Deacon, a kidnap and rescue specialist who gets taken by some organ harvesters in Manila. Waking up without a kidney, Deacon and his peaceful brother George (John Ralston) set out to get it back as the vital bodypart was supposed to go George's daughter. Working with Kung (Aki Aleong), an old crime buddy, they crack open the lucrative business of casing targets using hospital information, drugging them and removing their organs. The movie did a nice job of mixing the drama with the action as Deacon is a self described bastard while George is the good guy. Once upon a time, this could have been another film where Van Damme played twins.