This fight movie, despite its faults, is a considerable improvement on the cynical Kickboxer, Cyborg, etc. With Van Damme deserting from the Foreign Legion when his brother is fatally injured in an LA drug feud, the exposition suggests a revenge story, but in fact events follow an altogether livelier course: the AWOL legionnaire resolves to help his destitute sister-in-law and niece by making fast money the best way he can, as a bare-knuckle fighter. Making something of the character's immigrant status, the film-makers establish a commendably downtown perspective; the really seedy characters are the wealthy gamblers who get off on the bloody gladiatorial matches. This is a B-movie, crude in execution, with gimmicky set pieces, risibly caricatured villains, and overblown sentimentality. But Van Damme is beginning to come good on his promise; in particular, his friendship with the wonderful Harrison Page, as his hustling guide and mentor, bears the fruit of a more human action-movie, one that's almost worth getting excited about.