Aug 232018

Black Water is hardly terrible and as direct-to-video movies go starring aging action stars, is perfectly serviceable but with a bland script and the fact the two stars aren’t on screen together until towards the end and even then, only for about 15-20 minutes.



Black Water

Genre(s): Action, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 104 min. – $21.99 | August 21, 2018

Date Published: 08/23/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Pasha Patriki
Writer(s): Richard Switzer and Tyler W. Konney and Chad Law (story), Chad Law (screenplay)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Aaron O’Connell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jasmine Waltz, Courtney B. Turk
Features: None
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.5/5

Of the aging 80s/90s action stars, aside from Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren at least still look like they’re trying and the filmmakers they work with do a good enough job disguising their stunt doubles; can’t say the same of counterpart Steven Seagal who sadly gave up many years ago.

Black Water marks the fifth time Van Damme and Lundgren starred together, the last being The Expendables 2 back in 2012. Was this worth the wait to see these “titans” together again? Not quite. Unfortunately, despite Lundgren prominently featured on the front cover, and billed second to JCVD, appears in the movie for only 25-30 minutes, the majority of which during the third act.

The plot follows deep cover operative Wheeler (JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME) who, while trying to root out a mole within the government, is framed and subsequently taken in by the CIA and locked away in a cell on a submarine, set sail on the open sea as to avoid any legal issues. While aboard, he encounters another prisoner in the cell next door named Marco (DOLPH LUNDGREN), who clues Wheeler in on what’s happening.

Wheeler is later taken to the interrogation room with the lead investigating agent, Ferris (PATRICK KILPATRICK), wanting to know the location of a USB stick containing encrypted files of the names and locations of undercover agents… so basically the NOC list from the first Mission: Impossible film that came out 20+ years ago. Also on board is Wheeler’s former mentor Rhodes (AL SAPIENZA) who quickly reveals himself to be the villain and soon enough Wheeler goes on the run with the aide rookie agent Cassie Taylor (JASMINE WALTZ).

Black Water actually wasn’t terrible, however for some reason I did have some expectations it’d be better if only for the two stars. Unfortunately, other than early on in the film and only joins the fight alongside Van Damme about 25-minutes before the film’s end, otherwise Dolph Lundgren is absent, despite being billed second. When he is there, the film does gain a bit of momentum but still stifled by a mundane dialogue and by-the-numbers plot.

As for the performances, nobody stood out either way. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren at least looked like they were trying and/or had some decent stunt doubles, which is more than I can say for Steven Seagal who has not aged well and gotten lazy in the past several years with some terrible direct-to-video films, mostly filmed in Romania. The supporting cast were okay, I suppose. Jasmine Waltz was serviceable in the “partner” role and Al Sapienza was more or less a stock villain with a singular motivation (money).

The film was helmed by Pasha Patriki making his directorial debut after a career working as a cinematographer from a script by Chad Law (and story from Richard Switzer, Tyler W. Konney and Law), and on the script, it’s pretty basic.

Entertaining at times, Black Water is a rather bland movie with a selling point of having Jean-Claude Damme co-starring with Dolph Lundgren but sadly doesn’t live up to it with the pair only appearing together for only 20-minutes, if that. As such, if you’re looking for a safe way to waste two hours, it’s perfectly fine as a rental, but not much more than that.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.


VIDEO – 3.75/5

Lionsgate releases Black Water presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture looks decent enough, detail is sharp and while colors are rather muted given 90% takes place inside a submarine, but daylight scenes are fairly bright and colors do appear well balanced. On the downside there is some noticeable banding, particularly during the underwater shots.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is more on the basic side, providing crisp and clear dialogue levels mainly from the center channel while the rear tracks are mostly reserved for some low level ambient noises and the general submarine sounds. Nothing all that impressive but functional.


OVERALL – 2.75/5

Overall, Black Water is hardly terrible and as direct-to-video movies go starring aging action stars, is perfectly serviceable but with a bland script and the fact the two stars aren’t on screen together until towards the end and even then, only for about 15-20 minutes. The Blu-ray release has good video and okay audio transfers but sadly no bonus material.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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