Jean-Claude Van Damme looks like a cross between Rob Lowe and Arnold Schwarzenegger — he’s a smooth-faced, angelic pretty-boy who kicks butt. He’s also the most physically graceful of the new action heroes: He can leap three feet in the air, kick his enemy in the head, and return to a standing position in the time it takes most people to throw a right hook. Van Damme has no discernible personality, but his gleaming-eyed boyish cool is well used in this likable (if routine) action fable about a French Foreign Legion deserter who journeys to Los Angeles and, in order to support his widowed sister-in- law, becomes a bare-knuckle street fighter. A remake of the 1975 Charles Bronson vehicle Hard Times, Lionheart is nicely shot and edited, and it comes about as close to being a real movie as you get in this genre. In the outstanding climax, Van Damme faces off against a murderous fighter who, with his ponytail and muttonchop sideburns, suggests an extremely well-coiffed baboon. B-

  • Movie
  • 105 minutes