Well digging around in the $4.99 bin at my local video emporium I came across a Van Damme triple disc including three of the most ridiculous films ever scraped off the floor of a Bulgarian edit suite, wiped off with a wet rag and distributed on highly low budget DVD.
Sidenote: This is why video shops win out over the internet, you get to physically dig, delve, browse and rummage and there's nothing quite like it, you normally find something and it's normally ludicrous. In a good way. So please, support your local video seller before our high streets become one long line of mobile phone shops interspersed with fried food outlets run by hunched, greasy, denizens of the night.
I decided that we should watch this obvious 'Die Hard on a train' slice of incomprehensible Belgian drivel first.
Cheap doesn't even begin to describe it (although to our joy the producers did spring for a totally unwarranted yet hilarious 'Derailed' rap song to play over the credits) but if I attempted to describe it I may get so confused I would disappear up my own dirty tuba never to return. However, we arm chair reviewers are a hardy bunch, so here goes nothing:
The first bit is an utterly confusing mess of car chases, terrible CGI explosions and a leather jacket wearing JCVD generally being blander and more vacant than a beige coloured, doorless porta-potty. Imagine some Latvian students filming the opening of a spoof James Bond film using a camera made out of cardboard and yak's spit and you are getting close. Somewhere along the line he winds up on a spectacularly fake train trying to get a female thief and some vials of a biological weapon, not unlike small pox, to the good guys before the bad guys get her first. Then his wife and kids show up, think he's cheating, go to the dining car and then, yes, you guessed it, in swoop the bad guys.
The rest of the film is ineptly and predictably played out with all the energy and excitement of soup night at an old age pensioner's rest home and to say that, by this point, an over the hill Van Damme was going through the motions would be something of an understatement. It looks like the only motions he went through while working on the film were probably in the bowel region.
To criticise the acting, the script or the production of straight-to-DVD fare like this seems redundant as we only really watched it to have a good chuckle and hopefully see some A Grade arse kickage. Sadly it wasn't that funny and there wasn't a whole heap of respectable or well rendered fight scenes to get into, in fact the best time we had throughout the whole film was dancing along to the 'Derailed' rap as the credits rolled.
Two things though do bare mentioning.
1. Potential script writers take note - if your story is going to devolve into 'he was a one man army on a train trying to get the bio weapon off the evil sharply dressed ones' then don't overly complicate it by, firstly not explaining anything at all in the first 15 mins of the film (we don't know who JCVD is, who he is working for, why he is Belgian, where and when does this all take place, what the hell is he doing and where he bought his leather jacket!??) and the secondly filling the train full of characters with sub-plots and tangents that don't matter.
2. If you can't afford explosions, helicopters, a real train, passable CGI or sets then please don't make a film called Derailed that hinges on you being able to pull all those things off. The effects and especially the outdoor train action in this, I hasten to call it a movie are just annoyingly terrible, not even in an enjoyably shonky way, just in a 'why the hell did they bother' type deal.
Look, what was I expecting for $4.99 for 3 films?
I don't know? I personally would've been happy to watch JCVD wandering the streets of a nondescript European town asking the directions to the boulangerie and round house kicking anyone who tries to stop him. It didn't need to be a masterpiece, just something to pass the time and chuckle at and while there is much that is laughable in Derailed, the joke may end up being on you for watching it.
2 out of 10 limp and floppy baguettes
Points from The Wife - 2 out of 10.