News came straight from Joe, during the recent Chicago Convention: he’s going to get the second billing in Jean Claude Van Damme’s new movie due to be shot in September, in Romania (this is why he’s missing Dragon*Con, although he tried to work it out and to make it to Atlanta).
An ex-mercenary (Van Damme) known for finding missing children is hired by a mixed martial arts fighter (Joe Flanigan) whose daughter has been kidnapped.
Talking about getting ready for the movie, Joe said at the con that he was going to have to learn some martial arts moves because he wasn’t going to have Jason there to do them for him, and he couldn’t just blow them away with a gun, Indiana Jones style (fragment from Crysothemis’ excellent con report)
Van Damme’s son, Kristopher Van Varenberg will also star in Six Bullets. Both him and his full-blood sister Bianca (their mother is fitness expert/actress Gladys Portugues) will co-produce the movie. It is to be shot with the Romanian production company MediaPro Studios.
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Samson Gaul (the mercenary)
Joe Flanigan – Andrew Fayden (the martial arts fighter)
Bianca Bree - Amalia
Anna-Louise Plowman - Monica Fayden (wife of the martial arts fighter)
Kristopher Van Varenberg - Selwyn Gaul (supposedly son of the mercenary, as in real life)
Terese Cilluffo - News Anchor
Louis Dempsey - Cosmin Stelu
Charlotte Beaumont – Becky (must be the kidnapped daughter – she’s a kid)
Uriel Emil Pollack – Vlad (?)
Elena Hueanu – ?
Cezara Darie – ?
Directed by Ernie Barbarash
Written by Chad Law & Evan Law
Produced by Mark Bakunas (co-producer), Bianca Van Varenberg (co-producer), Justin Bursch (producer), Mike Callaghan (executive producer), Francisco González (executive producer), Brad Krevoy (producer), Reuben Liber (executive producer), Patrick Newall (producer), Kristopher Van Varenberg (co-producer), Roman Viaris-de-Lesegno (executive producer)
Cinematography by Phil Parmet
Film Editing by Peter Devaney Flanagan
Casting by Gillian Hawser
Art Direction by Anca Perja
Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)
Central Casting Romania – extras casting
Mediapro Studios – production services
Sony Pictures Entertainment – worldwide distributor for all media
On 5th September 2011, the main private TV station in Romania (being part of the same corporation as MediaProPictures), PRO TV announced in its main TV news show that Jean Claude Van Damme came back to Romania for ’6 Bullets’. This piece was broadcast at 19:02, meaning it was 2nd/3rd news in the highest audience news show in Romania. It was brief and understandably centered on Van Damme. It included a live transmission from the set (Buftea – where the main Romanian movie sets are located – about 10 km out of Bucharest), and the commentary contained the following information (only the relevant parts follow): “Van Damme seems to be enjoying shooting in Romania, as he is back for another movie [...] He is an ex-mercenary, specialised in children kidnappings, hired by an ex-martial art fighter to save his child. In this scene, he has just rescued his friend’s daughter, but was unable to prevent other children from being killed. [...] The movie is supposed to be released in theatres next year.” You can watch this bit on their website.
No other official resources for the movie so far.
Survived Bucharest, but I’ve changed a little
It’s reasonable to believe they’re temporary (a temporary tattoo made by a street artist holds for about two weeks, may be more in this case as better paints were probably used).
News to follow (hopefully), stay tuned.
UPDATE 7 October 2011
According to imdb, the movie swapped again to the initial title, The Butcher, immediately after the shooting wrap up, end September.
UPDATE 5 November 2011
Update 29 November 2011
According to IMDB, the release date for The Butcher in US has been set for July 2012.
Update 4 May 2012
New still photos have been added on the Six Bullet imdb page.
Update 12 May 2012
The movie has been announced to be screened on May the 17th at the movie market in Cannes (it’s not participating in the Festival, but in the Cannes movies market, which is one of the biggest and most effective markets for movies). The length has been also revealed (93 minutes), the film finally has a poster and a slightly different tag line:
When the daughter of a mixed martial artist is kidnapped, there is only one man who can help find her: an ex-mercenary rumored to have once taken six bullets to his chest.
Update 21 May
Following the Cannes Film Market screening, a short review of the movie was posted on imbd (full text below).
imdb review after screening at Cannes Film Market
Standard but Good DTV, 19 May 2012
Author: Renegay from UK
To be honest, I didn’t expect a lot when I was invited for the screening at Cannes. Another Van Damme movie shot in a East European country with the same director of Assassination Games (AG), a good and standard action movie with a cheap look and some solid but basic action.
And that is exactly what you get with Six Bullets but even more. This movie starts of interesting with a big actionscene with JCVD on a motorcycle..and the movie is filled with good directed fights. Joe Flanigan, who is basically the next big name in this movie, is great as Van Damme’s co-star. The only thing that is annoying that the rest of the cast is filled with unknowns and Van Damme “talented” son Kristopher Varenberg. He plays, how surprising, the son of JCVD in the movie. Also some of the locations in the movie were recycled from AG. The openingsscene is shot at the same manor from AG ( the one were Scott Adkins kept his wife) It all feels very save (not mindblowing, but very watchable) and it is great to Van Damme doing some action again. Ernie Barbarash is developing as a solid director and seems to get the some good movies out off Van Damme, who seems to step of his basic moves and shows some new stuff. This movie was shot prior to The Expendables 2 and it shows. Van Damme seems to be very motivated. Not like he was in AG. Although his character has a dark secret and is kinda depressed.
Six Bullets is a fun movie. Overall people didn’t like it that much. Lots of complaints about the cheapfactor in this one and comparing it to Van Damme’s Cannes classic “JCVD”. But Six Bullets is nothing like this movie… It is your standard but good DTV… Nothing more nothing less. 6/10
Update 25 May
Our twitter friend @Seixolady found a new reference to the Cannes screening (thx for sharing), and we also found a string of tweets from people from the business who attended the screening or saw previews of the movie.
<”h4″ class="collapseomatic " id="”2ndreview”" tabindex="0" title="”JCVD’s">”JCVD’s”h4″>
Ross Boyask 17 May 6:59PM Just saw 6 Bullets, best Van Damme film in 10 years!!!
Johannes Roberts 17 May 7:12PM better than jcvd?
25 May 2012
Van Damme’s slow but sure career revival sees him appear in the Expendables sequel this summer, but also taking Six Bullets at Cannes…
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s recently-completed Taken’esque thriller The Butcher (now being called Six Bullets) has been making its official market debut at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. It is directed by Assassination Games helmer Ernie Barbarash. Van Damme plays a former special forces operative turned hero for hire who specialises in cases involving abducted children. His latest assignment sees him hired by an MMA champion played by Stargate Atlantis’ Joe Flanigan whose daughter has been kidnapped.
Jean-Claude’s eldest son Kristopher Van Varenberg and daughter Bianca Van Varenberg also appear in the movie. Impact’s Far Eastern Editor Mike Leeder saw a rough cut of the film a few months ago and gave it the thumbs up, while cult UK director Ross Boyask (10 Dead Men, Warrioress) saw the film at Cannes and tweeted “Best Van Damme film in 10 years!”
The film is scheduled for release this summer.
Movie soundtrack has been done by Neal Acree, and here’s some funny trivia shared on a Van Damme forum (scroll down through the post):
FUNNY TRIVIA: Neal Acree worked on some of the music for the Stargate TV shows while Joe Flanigan was the star of the Stargate: Atlantis TV show – a spinoff from SG-1. I wonder if Neal sneaked in some musical references to Stargate for Joe’s scenes? I guess not, but it would be funny if he did.
Listen to some of his work here: http://www.nealacree.com/audio.htm Some of his stuff is very good.
Neal Acree’s interview with Gateworld.net here. It appears Neal worked with Joel Goldsmith since season 2 (he mentions The Shrine, Lost Tribe, First Contact), and he shares some interesting insights in this interview:
Another favorite was in Season Four of Atlantis, in “Quarantine,” when Sheppard has to climb to the top of the tower. That was a fun scene. That big shot of the camera panning around the top of the tower. That was a good opportunity to bring in a variation of the Atlantis theme.
Picture of Rick Chaddock (Joel’s music editor), the late Joel Goldsmith and Neal with the Atlantis Stargate (source: gateworld.net)
During the FedCon XXI which took place at the same time with the screening of Six Bullets at Cannes, Joe shared more about the movie and his character:
I’ve only seen part of the movie. Looks much better than I thought it would! I’m a terrible sales person… always super honest about things. (…) And I think it’s actually okay. I think it’s pretty good.
I play a good bad guy, you know? Does that make sense? I’m mean. They had me tattooed. Tattoo everywhere. [...] My daughter gets kidnapped and Jean-Claude Van Damme and I team up… and literally I kill half the country of Moldova. No problem.
Update 31 May
A second review has been posted on the film’s page on imdb, with some of its most notable comments going along these lines:
Surprisingly, you get the feeling that Van Damme is not the lead in this film and from the off set it’s apparent that Joe Flanigan is the main attraction here. [...] In fact, I would have expected more from Joe Flanigan’s character (in terms of fight scenes) given his supposed background as an MMA fighter. Joe doesn’t participate in too many action scenes and it’s transparent he doesn’t have any interest in becoming an action star. He should have been a more lovable rogue than an MMA fighter.
On the other hand, we confess having a hard time imagining this scene…
Fans of Jean Claude will be pleased with what he has to offer and looks in tremendous shape when he is boxing a hanging piece of meat a la Rocky style with Joe Flanigan (There are a few references to Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude saves the best for last which I won’t spoil).
The full text of the second imdb review
Not bad for a direct to video film, not great either – Minor spoilers, 30 May 2012
Author: KingOfThrones from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Six Bullets is directed by Ernie Barbarash. Who recently directed Assassination Games also starring Jean Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins. Six Bullets was recently screened at Cannes 2012 and here is my Review (contains spoilers):
Van Damme plays a depressed, ex military (or something along those lines. It’s never really discussed) by the name of Samson Gaul who is hired to rescue the daughter of an MMA fighter, Andrew, played by Joe Flannigan. Joe portrays the equivalent of Floyd Mayweather in the MMA world.
Surprisingly, you get the feeling that Van Damme is not the lead in this film and from the off set it’s apparent that Joe Flannigan is the main attraction here. Joe is an ‘MMA fighter’ whose daughter has been kidnapped due to his spiraling debts, you later learn that Joe is due to throw a fight and bets against himself for a large sum which he owes to “Vlad”. Things don’t exactly go accordingly and Vlad deploys a number of his team to kidnap Joe’s daughter, Monica. Andrew then realizes that he is in over his head and calls on an old ally who is renowned for his recover of small children. Fans of Jean Claude will be pleased with what he has to offer and looks in tremendous shape when he is boxing a hanging piece of meat a la Rocky style with Joe Flannigan (There are a few references to Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude saves the best for last which I won’t spoil). Samson and his son set out to rescue Monica and reunite her with her father.
Kristopher Van Varenberg is surprisingly entertaining in his role as Samson’s son and his shoot-out albeit with the rather unimaginative villains is similar to the Van Damme movies we all grew fond of as a teenager and he certainly has the ability and is worthy enough of carrying the Van Damme name if he so chooses. The main shoot out takes place outside an old mansion and the slow motion ‘shoot and kill’ moment is very similar to that of the slow motion capture used in his father’s earlier films such as the Hard Target. Kris also adds an element of comedy the way he dismembers one of the henchman in the knife scene that takes part in mansion’s kitchen. Van Damme’s daughter, Bianca Bree/Van Varenberg/Van Damme, I am not sure what she names herself, makes a brief appearance although it really feels like she happened to be on set and they threw a small cameo at her to keep her father happy.
Overall, there are a few action scenes that we have become accustomed with in a Van Damme film – He certainly displays better punching prowess compared his more recent DTV efforts, he takes out three guys Transporter style in the end mansion finale in a small hallway. Although there is more gun action than fight scenes, there isn’t really a need for Van Damme to demonstrate his kicking ability as there isn’t the opportunity to do so. In fact, I would have expected more from Joe Flannigan’s character given his supposed background as an MMA fighter. Joe doesn’t participate in too many action scenes and it’s transparent he doesn’t have any interest in becoming an action star. He should have been a more lovable rogue than an MMA fighter
You kind of hope that Van Damme has more dialogue in the movie. Throughout the film, you feel slightly frustrated that he is not presented with more dialogue and most of his lines are no more than one or two in length.
For those that have seen Assassination Games will instantly feel the Barbarash vibe to this movie, the tone, well used locations and pace of the movie more than give this away.
The story is all too familiar in the direct to video market and isn’t going to win any awards and fans of low budget, action, direct to video movies will enjoy this – I give this 6/10.
Update 7 June 2012
Update 12 June 2012
Okay, now that the DVD and BR are available for order (to be delivered in August), imdb has finally updated the movie page with the official poster, likely to be the DVD jacket as well.
Update 28 August 2012
Apparently the movie is available in US on googleplay, according to Susan Shambaugh’s tweet (thank you for the info). Sadly, we can’t confirm, as we are not based in US, but we trust (and envy) Susan
Update 6 Sep 2012
Two clips from the movie have been released by flix66.com, see here.