If you’re a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, chances are you’ve heard of the completed, but unreleased The Eagle Path (aka Full Love or Soldiers). The action drama is Van Damme’s first directorial effort since 1996’s The Quest. The project was shot on a budget of about $5 million (much of it, financed by Van Damme himself) on location in Thailand and eventually screened out of competition at the Cannes in 2010.
Audiences at the Cannes screening offered a mixed reaction (watch Van Damme’s intro). There were even some critics who compared the film’s more ‘out there’ sequences to 2001: A Space Odyssey or Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. Fans had to wonder: had Van Damme gone arthouse?
Van Damme was reportedly unhappy with his final cut. Rumors suggested he wouldn’t release the movie in the West, even on DVD, until he was able to do another edit.
But then, in mid-2011, the The Eagle Path suddenly appeared on Amazon.com’s UK website with a Blu-ray and DVD pre-order date set for June 20, 2011 by Revolver Entertainment. I pre-ordered the film myself (received this confirmation), only to receive a notification that the Blu-ray/DVD was getting pushed back to August. Then again to October 3, 2011. Finally, on October 4, 2011, I receive this in my in-box. It’s at this point that I never hear from Amazon.com again.
A year later, Impact reports that producer Moshe Diamont (Universal Soldier: Regeneration) has come onboard to help initiate reshoot for The Eagle Path. The reshoots were done to help clarify the story and beef up the action sequences, which were inspired by Garath Evans’ The Raid.
Around this time, Van Damme took to Facebook to assure fans of the status of the film: “The Eagle Path took longer than what I have expected but that is because I did some recent re-shooting with more ACTION scenes! The movie is going to be re-titled to SOLDIERS. Thank you for your patience… soon, wait for its huge première!”
2 years later on June 20, 2014, the film, now back to its original title, Full Love (see photo), premieres at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). Strangely enough, no reviews have surfaced regarding the film’s screening at the SIFF.
In 2015, “official” release dates started to show up on Imdb.com. “January 8, 2016” was the first date listed. It was later changed to “January 16, 2016” on both Imdb.com and Wikipedia. Just recently, the latter now has the release date with a “TBA” (to be announced) next to it. Given Wikipedia’s “written collaboratively by the people who use it” set up, the individual updating it is either someone (producer, production or distribution company) officially connected to the film or simply a “Van Damme Fan” who wants to make sure the info is accurate.
Whatever the case, “TBA” is most accurate word describing its release date. Amidst all of this confusion, loyal Van Damme fans are losing patience. A forum member who calls himself ‘lpstkd’ (via Vandammefan.net) had this to say: “Sorry to say, but at this point, Van Damme should give The Eagle Path Blu-ray to someone, and that someone [should] leak it on the internet. Enough is enough.”
Still, we should remain optimistic for an official release date. The big questions is: Will it be worth the wait? More importantly, do most JCVD fans even care at this point?
Updates: According to Van Damme himself (via FB), there’s a chance we may see Full Love soon. In fact, here’s the newly released Trailer: