Jean Claude VanDamme, in his directorial debut, returns to his kickboxing
roots, and stumbles badly. He mistackles this tale of epic proportions,
in which he stars as Chris Dubios, a NY ringleader of a group of child criminals,
who accidentally gets caught on a freighter out at sea. Before he knows
it, he has been sold to become a martial artist on Muay Thai Island.
He reluctantly hooks up with a British rogue (Roger Moore) and a perky
American journalist (Janet Gunn) to travel to the Lost City of Tibet and
participate in the Ghang-Gheng (a brutal secret international fighting
competition). The winner will receive a large dragon statue made of
solid gold. However, while Dubois fights for the trophy, Roger Moore has other tricks on his mind.
In his first outing, it is unclear whether VanDamme can't manage the scope
of this tale, or if he's just a bad director. In either case, the result is
a splendidly botched film. From its ridiculous screenplay (see VanDamme as a mime!)
to some overzealous camera work, to outlandish logical loopholes (where does
Roger Moore come up with a dirigible?) The Quest is very very bad. It does
have some merits, however, once the Ghang-Gheng begins. The fight scenes
are well choreographed, and it was interesting to see the easily-identifiable national fighting
styles (which were, perhaps, a bit overstated). Yet, when kicks aren't flying,
we're stuck with inane dialogue and even worse acting. Wait for the rental
on this one, when you can speed through the non-action scenes. Better yet,
rent a better film.
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