May 5, 1996 -- "The Quest" is the latest grunt and kick effort from Jean-Claude Van Damme to hit the local movie screens.
As humorist Dave Barry once said, martial artists are men who, with years and years of training, using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies ever seen.
Yet, I and many other moviegoers have a weakness for these kinds of film. Hollywood keeps making these kinds of movies and we keep going to see them. Why? I guess because we keep hoping we'll see one of those rare superior films such as "The Crow." A good martial arts movie can be spectacular.
"The Quest," unfortunately is mediocre, even by martial arts standards. By any other standard it rates a D.
The acting is minimal. The plot is ludicrous. It has holes that the Queen Mary could float through. Character development? Forget it.
The plot, by the way is similar to the old Bruce Lee film "Enter the Dragon." The front end of the film is basically a setup for a big martial arts tournament. The setup, however, takes too long.
The fight scenes, however, are well-staged, and what else do you go to see one of these kinds of films? Surely not for the dialogue, which consists mainly of "YAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" or "UMPH!"
Credit for the fight scenes, as well as blame for the rest of the film, goes to Van Damme who directed the film as well as starring in it.
Credit for the fight scenes should also go to stunt coordinator Mark Stefanich, who has also been Van Damme's stunt double on seven previous films.
The martial arts tournament features a number of different contestants with different fighting styles which are interesting to watch, including a Sumo wrestler. The bad guy is a Mongolian named Khan (I'm not making this up) played by Abdel Qissi.
Qissi looks extremely menacing in this film.
Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.