You gotta at least appreciate that Jean-Claude Van Damme and director Ringo Lam are making it easy for the critics. I mean, it's not hard to come up with a comment like "This flick deposited me In Hell for 95 interminable minutes." -or- "Yes, this would absolutely be considered a wonderful movie to watch...In Hell!"Of course none of this would be necessary if the movie were even half-decent.
Clearly that's not the case.
To the 3.8 of you out there who thought that Van Damme's Death Warrant needed some sort of follow-up, here comes In Hell, a wholly pointless and action-free action flick that is known in other nations as The Savage. Clearly illustrating how former football great Lawrence Taylor, formerly enjoyable director Ringo Lam and a goofball CGI moth are not exactly forward steps in one's career, Van Damme shows up here in full-on Richard Kimble mode. Yeah, In Hell / The Savage is nothing more than a decade-late retread combo of The Fugitive and literally any prison flick ever made.
Basically, JC ends up in a Russian prison after killing his wife's murderer. This plot thread fills the first 8 minutes of the film, and you better enjoy it, because it's the only one you're getting. If I went on to explain that this is a Russian prison that pits its prisoners against one another in mortal death combat, would that surprise you in any way? But don't assume such a designation implies a lot of action. The fisticuffs are few and far between, and they're presented in irritatingly unimaginative fashion.
Aside from those people who are directly related to Mr. Van Damme, I cannot imagine who the intended audience would be for a movie like this. There's not nearly enough action to appease those who just enjoy watching any old b-movie butt-kicker, leaving one with the impression that Van Damme is actually shooting for...high drama! As if this is his version of The Shawshank Redemption! That's of course too hilarious to even contemplate, but with so much time between visits from the punch-monkeys...what else is one to think about?
Anyway, Van Damme spends a lot of time sobbing in isolation, his only friend a cute little moth who reminds our marble-mouthed maroon of his newly-dead wife. Popping in way more often than he ought to is Lawrence Taylor, a former NFL linebacker who is clearly getting his "movie career" off on the wrong foot by voluntarily opting to share exchanges of dialogue with a wholly inarticulate has-been C-level action star from Brussels.Look, as long as movies are not required to play theatrically before hitting the DVD shelves, we'll have plenty of new Van Damme and Seagal movies to make fun of. That doesn't mean you have to rent them.