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Maximum Risk

Directed by
Ringo Lam

Year: 1996

Taglines: -
The Other Side of Safety
                - The other side of safe.
                - The nearer he gets to the truth, the closer he gets to the edge

Also Known As: Bloodstone & The Exchange

MPAA Rating:
  R for strong violence, and for some sexuality and language.

Runtime: 100 min

At the beginning of the aptly named "Maximum Risk," a solid, fast-moving action-adventure, Jean-Claude Van Damme is running for his life through ancient, narrow streets in a town in the South of France only to wind up dead. How can it be? The picture has barely started and the star has been killed.
We then find none other than Van Damme peering down at his own grave. Aha! Van Damme is playing identical twins. The surviving brother is Alain Moreau, a former French soldier and a great marksman, who learns he had a brother only after the man dies virtually at his doorstep. The twins' mother, played beautifully by veteran French star Stephane Audran, confesses that as a young woman she could not support two children and had an attorney pick out which boy should be put up for adoption.

Alain's twin was adopted by a Soviet diplomat, who named him Mikhail and who took him to New York, where Alain soon learns that Mikhail became a key player in the Russian emigre underworld in Brooklyn's Little Odessa. Alain is of course instantly plunged into great danger, with lots of spectacular chases, martial arts displays and a wide variety of mayhem swiftly following.
Jean Claude van Damme does some of his best acting yet, involving us in a reflective man we'd like to have known more about but who is convincingly transformed by what he learns of the brother he never knew he had.

The plot has some agreements with Schwarzenegger's movie "Total Recall": a guy in a completely unknown land, posing as someone he is not, trying to fight bad guys and at the same time piece things together. There is lots of action, lots of suspense, and clever plot twists.