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Wake of Death

4.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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(Dec 28, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Action superstar, Jean-Claude Van Damme, is back and at his hard-hitting best as Ben Archer, an ex-mob enforcer seeking revenge against a ruthless Chinese kingpin responsible for his wife's brutal murder. When Archer joins forces with his old underworld friends, an all-out war is waged against the Chinese Triad in this pulse-pounding action thriller.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Valerie Tian, Tony Schiena, Simon Yam
  • Directors: Philippe Martinez
  • Producers: Philippe Martinez, Alan Latham
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00069L0Y0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,101 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wake of Death" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I like this new mature Van Damme. First IN HELL and now WAKE OF DEATH they're the best films of his career and he's actually starting to show some genuine acting talent. I hope this trend continues.

Wife/family murdered and son kidnapped Van Damme (or V.D. as I like to call him) is out for revenge. He shoots up a bunch of stuff, runs a drill through a guy's kneecaps, wrecks some cars, cries a few times, drives a motorcycle through a mall, hugs some people, electrocutes a cop and shoots a triad who's tied up point blank in the face with a shotgun.

Honestly I liked this movie quite a bit, the ending was a little anti-climatic, but the cinematography was cool. I'd watch it again which is more than I could say for DOUBLE TEAM.
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Format: DVD
After nearly 7 years of straight to DVD Releases Van Damme finally makes a film thats up there with his old ones. Much like Desert Heat which ressurected his film making he makes another good one.

This movie is about a little girl who witnesses her father kill her mother. She is poorly cared for as are others in her countries when a woman takes her in as her own (Jean Claudes wife) for fear that she may be murdered herself. But when her father realizes what happens he takes action.

He has Jean Claude Van Dammes wife killed and is about to have his son killed when he escapes. When Van Damme gets back he finds his wife dead and he has his brother go searching for the kiler. Van Damme goes on a killing spree killing anyone who was in connection to his wifes death. And finally gets to the big man himself, the one who has his wife killed. In the end he kills him and gets wounded himself.

The main thing that sticks out in this film is Van Dammes acting, not his fighting. It seems like a blah blah story but if you would see his acting its magnificant. He really looks sad when he finds his wife dead, when he kills the people who killed his wife he has tears in his eyes why hes doing it. Like in one scene he beats a man over and over with a pistol and starts to cry why he does it, like getting all the anger out.

This has to be his best acting peroformance of his career. And anyone, and i mean anyone who likes action films needs to see this. Also this movie isnt directed by Jean Claude and it gets with the program for modern movies (it feels like it could of went to theaters) this movie gets a 10/10
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Format: DVD
The Jean Claude Van Damme Review Matrix (JCVD-RM)

1. Who is he? Ben Archer, a worn down bouncer with weatherbeaten features who's ready to quit his rugged life at high-profile clubs (think Swayze from Road House, but with an accent)
2. Which family member/friend must be avenged? His wife Cynthia (Lisa King) gets her throat slit (gruesome close-up afterwards), his father-in-law gets blasted, and his mother-in-law gets an explosive head-shot from close range (like popping a water balloon with a pin).
3. Does he take his shirt off? Because it's such an essential plot device, there is an early shower scene, a sex scene, and a bath scene in which JCVD is shirtless.
4. Does he have sex with a C-List actress? He gets to "say goodbye" to Cynthia very early in Cinemax-quality bawdy tryst.
5. Is there a tournament? This is a grisly, evil, realistic battle to the death. It's JCVD at his skull-crushing darkest. There is no time for a stupid tournament with rules.
6. Is training needed for this tournament? Didn't you hear me!? JCVD has people to maim, kill, and torture!
7. Does he do the splits in training or in the tournament? This is serious! Borderline psychotic executioners do not do the splits.
8. Does he punch someone in the balls? No, but his brother punches someone in the balls, and performs a free castration later.
9. Does he do a series of flying or 360 kicks? He's fighting the Chinese Triad. What do you think?
10. Is his enemy unbeatable? No. In fact, JCVD kills about 50 guys who previously thought they were unbeatable.
11. Does he overcome an injury or other hindrance? No hindrance, this is all about the revenge killing.
12. Does he win? JCVD does everything but cure cancer in this one.
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Format: DVD
WAKE OF DEATH starts somewhat confusingly in the middle of a car chase as Van Damme and another car bash into eachother. We don't quite know what is going on or why at this short point in time. We DO know that the film cuts from one shot to the next VERY quickly which makes seeing and comprehending what's going on even more difficult. This pre-title sequence ends with Van Damme walking up to two corpses in a what looks like a morgue and then...the title song and credits roll.

This fast-cut confusion made me very worried that I was in for a disaster of a straight to DVD movie. Fortunately, I was wrong. Everything climbed uphill from there and eventually even that opening was brought back full circle, into context, and the entire film managed to make sense. There are flaws to be sure, most notably that the villain Simon Yam (a great Hong Kong action star) has a terrible English speaking voice, too high-pitched and thickly accented to be commanding (though he is commanding when silent). Other flaws include lack of character development (why is the villain so cold and why is Van Damme in the business he's in?) and minor quibbles like Van Damme's wife, an INS official, questioning a Chinese refugee in english when she herself speaks Chinese. There's also some dark lighting and quick editing that make it hard to see every detail of the action scenes, but...

These flaws, however, are outshone by a gritty performance by Van Damme (a better actor than anyone gives him credit for), some truly exciting stunt sequences (there's a great motorcycle jump in a mall), and suspenseful direction that will make you sweat (drills, guns, and a switchblade, oh my!), and some that will make you jump (Van Damme and a window is all I will say).
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