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Darkness Of Man

By Bobby LePire | June 13, 2024

Darkness Of Man is based on a story by director James Cullen Bressack and star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Those two also produced the action thriller. Bressack wrote the script with Alethea Hnatko-Cho. With such a personal hand in the project, are JCVD and Bressack able to deliver a fun finished product, or was critical distance needed?

The first 7 minutes, give or take, contain flashbacks, a montage (sort of), and a voice-over that converge in a haze of confusion. Once things settle down, the plot reveals itself as follows: Russell Hatch (JCVD) was a cop who retired before bringing down the head of the Korean mob. Now, he bides his time helping out a convenience store owner and watching over Jayden (Emerson Min) due to a promise he made to the child’s mother before she died.

Unfortunately, Jayden finds himself in a spot of trouble as the Korean mob is recruiting him. This situation forces Russell and his significant other, Claire (Kristanna Loken), to begin investigating who is behind all this and what the endgame is. They’re led to members of the Russian mafia, including Lazar (Andrey Ivchenko) and Alexei (Zack Ward), leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Can Russell save Jayden, or is he already too far gone to help?

“…led to members of the Russian mafia…leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.”

Darkness Of Man is an edgy thriller that explores heavy topics. Heck, the tagline even promises as much, “Laws can be broken. Promises can’t.” Russell will do whatever it takes to save Jayden, even if it costs him his life or, worse, his soul. The lead constantly agonizes over the darkness that exists within everyone, hence the title. Happily, the story uses this as more than set dressing. Without spoiling things, there is a heavy emphasis on the toll all this violence takes and whether it is necessary.

Van Damme is outstanding here. He makes the wariness of the character real while still proving his action chops haven’t waned in the years since he first graced the silver screen. Loken gets a very dramatic romantic role and is great. Min is just likable enough so audiences understand Russell’s devotion. But he is also reckless, which is necessary for the role. Ji Yong Lee is the owner of the convenience store, Mr. Kim. He comes across as sweet and engaging. Ward’s role is brief, but he’s menacing.

But Darkness Of Man is an action flick and, therefore, lives or dies by its action. Mostly, the combat is shootouts and gunplay. The geography always makes sense, and the editing makes it all exciting. The fisticuffs that do take place are brutal and gratifying. It should also be noted that the squibs and blood effects are top-notch.

Darkness Of Man may start off confusing, but once it settles down, the thrills come fast and furious. JCVD is as reliable as ever, and his action cred is perfectly intact. The supporting cast, especially Loken, is also terrific. The action is intense, while the story goes deeper than expected. While flawed, this is a fun time, especially for fans of Jean-Claude Van Damme or James Cullen Bressack.

Darkness Of Man (2024)

Directed and Written: James Cullen Bressack

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kristanna Loken, Zack Ward, Andrey Ivchenko, Emerson Min, Ji Yong Lee, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Darkness Of Man Image

"…a fun time, especially for fans of Jean-Claude Van Damme..."

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  1. Eric Davidson says:

    Bad boring movie , no one likes it

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