February 01, 1993 12:00 PM

Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rosanna Arquette, Kieran Culkin, Joss Ackland

The title of this grotesquely violent action film, which unreels with the pace of coagulating blood, could well he Somewhere to Punch. Kick. Shoot or Swat with Various Objects: The Crotch.

Van Damme plays a hank robber who escapes from a California prison. He hooks up with Arquette, a widow trying to protect her home from Ackland, a voracious land developer who wants to build a golf course in the area.

Ackland’s predictable strong-arm tactics provoke Van Damme’s predictable gallantry (and predictable peeking at Arquette without her shirt on). Director Robert Harmon tosses out one implausible scuffle after another. The bad guys think it’s a killer move to spray Van Damme with cold water. He in turn jumps out of his well-covered hiding place so that, while diving, he can fire his handgun at a shotgun-wielding villain.

Most of the time, the phlegmatic Van Damme and the unidimensional Arquette seem to be having an impassivity contest; he’s leading when time runs out. Arquette has two children, played by Tiffany Taubman and Culkin, who is not nearly as self-consciously cute as his brother Macaulay but is a much better actor. Writers Joe Eszterhas, Leslie Bohem and Randy Feldman are consistently uninventive and gratuitously obscene. Even when they try to give Van Damme an “hasta la vista, baby” tagline, it comes out “”au revoir,——er.” (R)

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