Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lionheart Movie Review - The Beacon of Hope

Van Damme looking extra liony in
The legacy of Lionheart shall forever remain in our hearts. Lets pay tribute to this monumental achievement in cinema.

The pain felt from the loss of a brother that was burned to death in a drug-deal-gone-wrong is all too familiar to most of us. The majority of us feel powerless to express our overwhelming grief in the face of such events, which only nourishes our desire to seek those that know and understand our pain. Our species has forever, and will forever, develope relationships with others in an effort to help us work through our most difficult moments. Not content with reaching a limited amount of people in need, the team of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sheldon Lettich and S.N. Warren set out with a legitimate desire to relay our stories, and reach out to those who need their help most. The result was a therapeutic film that was simply titled Lionheart. For those who have been touched by this film, there is no satisfactory level of gratification that we could express to these three brave men. For those who have not been given visual and emotional ecstasy with this film, I am truly sorry, and hope my words will encourage you to view it.

 If you are one of those who are in the minority of never experiencing the mortal burning of a sibling, there is no need to fear. Lionheart covers many controversial topics such as race relations, homo-erotic bare knuckle fighting, and tricking people to accept money from you when they don't want to accept it. There is no doubt that there is something for everybody in this film.

From the moment that we see Leon stab his mail with a large knife in an attempt to scare the mail delivery boy, we see his unflinching devotion to his brother, as well as his effort to go AWOL from the army that he clearly does not want to be in. Who among us have not been soldiers in the French Legion that is stationed in what looks to be somewhere in Africa, only to desert once we find out that our brother has been burned alive? Clearly, we are being met on an emotional level rarely achieved in 1980's action films.

We are then transported to the world of human smuggling, with Leon assuming the role of the smuggled goods. For all of us who feel empowered by Leon's defiance of his rude smuggler, the scene plays like magic. Pure art is the only way to describe the beauty of dialog, camera work, and music that are forever embedded into our tortured hearts.

We are challenged with the question of how far would we each go to earn money to give to our sister-in-law that hates us when Leon decides to fight a bunch of people, and assume a foul-mouthed American as a manager. As we hear Joshua, brought to life by Harrison Page, yell over and over "give me the money mother-fucker" and "mother-fucker, come back...hey wait, mother-fucker", we can sense how close these lines are to the soul of the actor. Never have I been brought to tears the way that I was with each delivery by the embattered Joshua. The two men, Leon and Joshua, prove to us that race should never be a concern when people who have nothing in common develop relationships with each other. I find myself stumbling to find the words when attempting to descibe the manner in which this film captures the human spirit.

Another topic covered is the perception of men in our modern world as nothing more than fighting sex objects. Women need to understand that we are more than just bodies here for their sexual enjoyment, and come to terms with the fact that we have minds, and can contribute to society. When Cynthia's (played by Deborah Rennard) inappropriate advancements were made on Leon, his response of not banging her relentlessly was his way of saying "hey, I may be a man, but that does not give you the right to try to have sex with me without first buying me dinner." This brave act is inspiration to all of us who have had sexy older women try to hump us. Disgusting. Burn your boxers proudly.

Finally, we move on to Leon's fight with Atilla. We must all face our fears, and Atilla is the living representation of these fears. I remember the first time that I fought an opponent to the death in order to try to earn money for my sister-in-law and niece. I was scared, but I knew that their futures were limited since my brother was burned to death in a drug deal gone wrong. Sure, he may have been much bigger than I was, and he sported large porkchop sideburns, but I was able to overcome him, and make him submit instead of killing...because I'm a swell guy.

This story proudly displays the idea that any goal can be achieved, even with broken ribs, if you have heart. Even the two Legion guys that are tracking Leon so that they can capture him, and take him back to the French Legion fall victim to his heartfelt actions. They ultimately decide to place their own jobs on the line, and let him continue to live with his brother's wife and daughter. Follow your dreams, and you could be the next Leon Gaultier.

Holy geez! A Van Damme 4 pack?! That's value if I've ever seen it. It's one of the best purchases that I've ever made. And that includes my Russian mail order bride!
Van Damme Four-Feature Film Set

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