Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Body of Evidence (1993)
MGM Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

You know what? Jeanne Claude Van Damme is the victim of a cruel double standard. Whenever he releases a film, critics -- myself included -- trip over themselves to mock the beefy star's frequent butchering of the English language. Heck, I remember back to Johnny's first American talkie, the simply incredible NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER. The touching tale of the love between a father and his son, JCVD portrays "generically named Russkie thug." In the final showdown with the scrawny punk that he could break in two -- except for the fact that the kid has been trained in the art of kickboxing by Bruce Lee's ghost (could I really make this shit up?) -- a ponytailed Van Damme sneers, "It is you, the son? No?" It was a moment, to say the least. Yet critics still harp on his accent, like it's going to magically go away. However, have you ever heard anyone dis Jurgen Prochnow's impenetrable excuse for English????

And let's not stop at the accent. Try, just try to come up with a witty tag line for an action movie starring Jurgen Prochnow. How about..."This time, he's judge, Jurgen, and executioner"? Or..."Now's the time for Prochnow"? See, it can't be done. Yet this guy gets handed meaty roles like Madonna's accomplice in the murder of the rich guy in BODY OF EVIDENCE!!!

Oh, did I just ruin it for you? Actually, you'll thank me if you ever begin to sit through this dreck during the MADONNA MOVIE-THON on TNT 15 years from now. If you've already seen BOE, you'll wish you'd read this before you saw the movie, that way you wouldn't have wasted your cold, hard cash. Me, I was one of the lucky ones -- we scammed in.

Like 1992's BASIC INSTINCT, this is another instance of "How Much Pre-Release Publicity Can We Create for a Shitty Movie." But while BASIC had an occasional spark, BODY OF EVIDENCE is so devoid of life, so achingly bad in its first hour, by the time the (supposedly) super-charged courtroom scenes/sex scenes arrived, the audience we saw it with was laughing out loud. Even when Madonna takes the stand in her own defense and the film becomes WHO'S THAT GIRL ON TRIAL? we were too far gone to notice or care.

The cast, which might be a winner on paper, has all the chemistry of 'Pink Lady and Jeff' or 'Mr. T and Tina.' Willem Defoe is a really UGLY MAN and I don't want to see him have sex with anyone, no matter how kinky! Madonna couldn't act up, and hey babe, we've seen the breasts before! Poor Anne Archer has become interchangeable with Bonnie Bedelia, both of whom are destined to play the loyal wife/wronged wife role till their breasts sag further, their cheeks need a lift, and they end up battling it out for the roles Sally Kirkland is too strained to play. Joe Mantegna -- what can I say but, Joe, Joe, Joe. And Jurgen Prochnow -- Das Actör -- might as well have a big sign over his head that says, "Hey...I was in on it!!"

Fortunately for all involved this dog disappeared before too many people had a chance to chalk it up as the front runner for Worst Film of 93.

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