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  • Theatrical trailer
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Sudden Death

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 106 mins . MA15+ . PAL


I vaguely recall seeing the trailer for this when it was on in the cinema and thinking "Hmm, another improbable JCVD (that's Jean-Claude Van Damme for the uninitiated :) action flick" and dismissing it out of hand. So when I sat down to watch the DVD I was expecting to see yet another film where we get to see Jean-Claude showing off his martial skills. Instead I got a reasonably thought out script and some good acting, especially on the part of Powers Boothe, that can't help but make you think of Die Hard.

JCVD portrays a fireman, distraught and psychologically unfit for work after failing to save a young girl's life in a house fire. To celebrate his son's birthday he has obtained tickets for both his son and daughter to the championship ice hockey final for the Stanley Cup, a game that will be attended by the Vice President of the United Sates. The game also marks the first time JC has gone back to work since the incident two years ago, and he is attending the game as a fire inspector.

Powers Boothe and cronies arrive on the scene and take the VP and his guests hostage, demanding $1.7 billion by the end of the game. If at least one third of the money is not transferred to his specified account by the end of each quarter, some of the hostages would be executed. If the total amount had not been transferred by game's end, he would destroy the stadium with remote charges located throughout.

Needless to say, JC's daughter walks in on a bad guy doing bad things, get's herself added to the hostage count and it's up to JC to save her - and along with her, the day.


Sudden Death is another high quality Columbia-Tristar transfer - these guys could definitely teach some of the US mobs a thing or two about how DVDs are done.

Black levels were really black, and colours were nice and vibrant alongside with no noticeable problems. The only comment I really have to make is that some of the shots in the VP's viewing box seemed a little dark, however, I believe this may simply be the way the scene was lit during filming.


Now I enjoy action films and loud booms as much as the next guy with a subwoofer, but really, is there any need to have an LFE occur whenever someone gets hit? My sub was going crazy throughout the film, and I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous the fight scenes seemed because of this. I wonder if the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers considered using a subwoofer for their slapstick work?

Other than that, the sound in the film was perfect, with great use of the surrounds for all of the in-stadium shots. Really helped generate a feel of being there, and the excitement of the crowd comes through clearly.


Not much here, theatrical trailer, usual bios and filomgraphies for the principals, and production notes for the film. At least the production notes did have some interesting comments on the difficulties they ran into making the film - like the NHL going on strike just before they were due to start filming.


All in all, this was quite an enjoyable film, with a few parallels to Die Hard (wrong man, wrong place, wrong time.) It's not what I'd consider to be a standard JCVD film - his fighting is fairly restrained, with very little in the way of his usual martial arts fest, and a decent story to go with the action. It's a pity about the use of the sub though.

If you liked Die Hard you'll probably enjoy Sudden Death.

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