The Quest

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Chris embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery that spans the globe. Kidnapped and enslaved by gun smugglers, sold by pirates and thrust into the murky underworld of gambling and kickboxing, Chris' journey takes him to forbidding Muay Thai Island where deadly martial arts are taught.


There’s a natural progression for many actors who, having spent a few years in front of the camera, feel a deep and probably loin-based stirring to brandish a megaphone themselves.

But of all the luminaries to grace the silver screen in recent times, the directorial debut of one Jean-Claude Van Damme is not perhaps the most eagerly awaited. And it's little surprise that the bulging Belgian famed for an odd accent, kicking people in the head and playing characters with funny names, has fashioned a globe-trotting odyssey in which he speaks with an odd accent, kicks people in the head and calls himself Christopher Dubois.

The intention is to throw back to the adventure yarns of yore, and in as much as it's set in the 20s, and contains pirates, elephant treks and fabled lost cities, it's a reasonable effort. But once the long, panoramic preamble of the journey to the Ghan-gheng (a secret martial arts World Cup, basically) is dispensed with, The Quest turns out to be just another fighting flick with some fancy window-dressing. While Van Damme is not Hollywood's greatest thespian, it is Moore as an ex-Navy-Admiral-turned-buccaneer who is responsible for more than a few sniggers, if only for being so hammy.

The Ghan-gheng itself is shot with some style (the influence of Hard Target director John Woo very evident) but despite the efforts to represent the combatants of each country with contrasting techniques, you can only watch so many fights before they begin to merge into one.

With the script seemingly a collection of the cheesiest lines from previous Van Damme movies, and a story pitched between Mortal Kombat and Streetfighter, this is often unintentionally amusing, and entertains for all the wrong reasons.