The Quest Reviews
The Quest has a pretty basic story to it, somewhat reminiscent of my favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme film, Bloodsport. All it really needs is a director who can handle ensuring that it isn't ruined and that it receives enough appealing imagery to make it a decent visual experience. It's a good opportunity for Jean-Claude Van Damme to take the role of director, and he does a decent job. He does need to polish off a few areas such as the minor story element of Christopher Dubois' background which isn't necessary or of any real benefit, and the repetitive use of slow motion which isn't too much but isn't the strongest quality and therefore proves slightly. Also, the cinematography does feature a few too many Dutch angles at times which don't feel necessary, but overall The Quest is still good.
The cinematography is mostly effective and it shoots some beautiful locations, and the production values of the film all help to ensure that the film is convincing.
Its story is a more basic one which is simple enough to make way for good visuals, but its still compelling and has a certain sense of character development to it since it focuses on the honour that develops from a person's inner passion for the martial arts. It isn't one packed with cliches, it's a simple one which does have an understanding of what the honour in martial arts is all about. And while the script isn't perfect, it does the job.
And it has a great musical score. Although excerpts of it, as in the more optimistically spirited sounds are misplaced at times, its still a beautiful musical score which is atmospheric, mood defining and very strongly composed. And in terms of acting, The Quest is nicely surprising.
Jean-Claude Van Damme gives one of his more compelling performances in The Quest, because he displays a grip on the story which he holds as a director, and he combines that with his skills as an actor so that he really knows what to do to make Christopher Dubois a good character. He has a burning passion in his line delivery which is far from simplistic, and he does in fact make a compelling case as lead actor which many other mindless action heroes could have fumbled doing.
Roger Moore is a good presence in The Quest, because he's the actor who was charming enough to be cast as the third James Bond and play him in several successful entries into the 007 series, so to see him in a more low-profile film like The Quest is quite nostalgic. And he proves that he still has it in him by delivering a charming supporting role with a lot of confident line delivery and a general sense of wit and charm which makes him the standout actor of the film with his immense sophistication.
James Remar managed to supply a decent supporting job in The Quest as well.
Lastly, the most important element in any Jean-Claude Van Damme film is always the quality of the action, and in The Quest it is choreographed finely and sufficiently entertaining. Its convincing, and the rate of it is consistent enough once it kicks off to deliver the goods and ensure a powerful climax to the film.
So The Quest is one of Jean-Claude Van Damme's more passionate efforts, and while it does have problems, it's a significantly underrated effort which makes use of him as an actor, director and fighter.
Van Damme isn't a bad director, shame this is the only time he's done it, not a failure like Steven Seagal's only directed film On Deadly Ground.