September 30, 1996 12:00 PM

Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge

Hard-core martial arts fans can rejoice. They’re sure to get their kicks from this latest vehicle for Van Damme, who—as agile and sturdy as a good pro running back—remains ‘ the most convincing of modern action heroes. But what makes this a superlative film of its type is an array of unexpected pleasures. One of them isn’t wit, since screenwriter Larry Ferguson isn’t strong on humor.

The film’s assets, however, do include Henstridge, the feline beauty from Species. She engagingly plays a Brooklyn club hostess who becomes involved with Van Damme, a retired soldier who moves to the U.S. from France. Henstridge not only is a first-class femme fatale, but she can act enough to generate suspense and a bit of romantic chemistry with Jean-Claude when he isn’t busy busting bad guys’ chops. (R)

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