Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Cleaning Up the Town

Dragon Eyes on IMDb

Plot Overview

briefcaseAfter seeing action in Vietnam, Tiano (Jean-Claude Van Damme) went into private security in civilian life doing armed trans­port of dirty money. He established him­self in the family-friendly town of St. Jude where he stood up to gang violence, but they got to his son any­way and Tiano ended up in prison.

There he took to mentoring his Oriental cell mate Mr. Hong (Cung Le) who'd been busted doing a good Samaritan bit and didn't know the ropes. Hong is a natural at martial arts and practices rigorously. When he's released he goes to St. Jude at Tiano's behest to restore it to a peaceful place to raise a family.

boy diving off boardHong makes waves with the three gangs operating there­abouts: the (Anglo) Devil Dogs, the (Hispanic) 6th Street Kings, and the (Nigra) East­siders. The corrupt (Guinea) police chief (“There's only one game here, my game”) Mr. V (Peter Weller) puts Hong in charge of the St. Jude gang­bangers where­upon he instigates the “new way.” There are three rules: no harming civilians, only sell to adults, and no guns. He also jacks up the price of their product. The townsfolk like it 'cause now they feel safe. The rival gangs in the adjacent towns don't move in on their unarmed competition, because the users now come to them for their cheaper product. Unfortunately, this is not the best business model, which means it can't last.


money bagsAn enigmatic Ninja has taken to waylaying the money couriers. As if that isn't bad enough, one day some­one hits the stashes of all the gang leaders, although, to be sure, their security was lax: strong boxes/safes in the wall or floor with four-digit pins. One genius reversed the factory setting 1–2–3–4 to get 4–3–2–1; another took the neighbor­hood patrol car number 0063 and changed one digit in it to get 8–0–6–3. Some Ninja was able to crack them all in a single day. This has really got their goat à la (Prov. 30:33) “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.”

car rentalThe meaning of that proverb has to do with the continual agitation of milk converting it from a liquid to solid & the vulnerability of the nose on the whole face: comparing those to a continual agitation of some sort—here the robbery of monies in trans­port—or a single blow to a vulnerable spot—here the main stash(es)—fundamentally transforming peaceful ambiance to a state of war. The movie's opening scene of a fight in the prison yard shows both inmates bloodied on the face, and Mr. V's Russian roulette inter­ro­gation technique of click … click … click … will eventually result in a bang. For that matter the chop shop's meticulous working in metal resulted in Tiano's smooth ride.

Production Values

” (2012) was directed by John Hyams. It was written by Tim Tori using Dashiell Hammett's novel, Red Harvest as the template. It stars Cung Le, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Peter Weller. A lot of martial arts talent was on display here. We meet a superb villain in Peter Weller.

MPAA rated it R for brutal violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use. It's an intense story in a plain wrapper. Except for a show­cased fancy car, all the scenery was drab and the clothing lack­luster. The dialog was gang-lingo with one crazy gang member—Beech—to spice things up. It has mucho drama with conflicts being decided by fists, feet and bullets. Flash­backs were over-utilized. It was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. It's 1½ hours long.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is not cinema at its finest, but it's a good vehicle for a fight story. If that's your thing, have at it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, Print.