When I decided to watch Enemies Closer I knew it was going to be bad. But to what level that wasn't clear to me. With very dependable director Peter Hyams involved it couldn't be that bad could it?
Wrong. It is easily one of the worst for both Hyams and Van Damme. I know that Van Damme doesn't play the villain that often so that might intrigue some people. But there is a good reason why he has not played that too many times. Because he is awful at it. He was adequate in the first No Retreat No Surrender. And he was in top form as Edward Garotte in Replicant if only the film itself was good. His role in The Expendables 2 was very forgettable since I can hardly remember him in that one. So how about his Xander. Well, Xander has a bad hairstylist but I guess out of fear nobody bothered to tell him that. Xander is also plagued with a heavy French accent. I mean come on. He already had a pretty thick French accent so there is no need to emphasize that even more. On top of it they add a running joke and make this guy who has no problems killing people a fanatic environmentalist. I guess that could be funny if you play it right. I almost was buying it until I noticed that Van Damme wasn't doing any of his own fighting. Not even the punching. The one reason why most fans tune in to these crappy movies. Seriously that is all kinds of wrong. Did he need that much effort to put on his acting that he could not do his own fighting anymore? Van Damme was hamming it up big time. And only the best of actors can get away with that. Van Damme is not one of them. His Xander was awful. Which brings me to the other important characters played by Tom Everett Scott and Orlanda Jones. Both of them incredibly miscast do try their best to make everything believable. Too bad though that all their efforts were in vain since Van Damme singlehandedly destroyed any chance of anyone taking this crap seriously.
I am a fan of the old school Van Damme. The guy who knew and provided what the fans wanted. I don't like Van Damme's ambitions improving his acting ability. In order to improve you have to have one in the first place. Just stop it already and do what you do best. And leave the acting to real actors. You focus on the martial arts and being charming. It worked for you in the best movies you ever made. And it will work for you again.
So no ladies and gentlemen. Avoid this like the plague. Don't get tricked like I was how he was phenomenal as the villain. He is not.