UPDATE: This news originally appeared on 10.26 at Production Weekly, which is usually almost as reliable as Variety or THR for announcements, and then swiftly spread around movie websites.  But over at the Van Damme Fan Forums (and yes, such a thing exists), the film’s director is denying the participation of Mr. Snipes.  I know that people involved in productions tend to deny anything that has yet to be officially signed, but I have to assume he means it.  He does say that they’re "in negotiations with a few very well-known African-American stars" and we should be hearing announcements next week, but don’t count on the former Simon Phoenix being among them.  Isaiah Washington and Michael Jai White probably still have potential, though.

Let’s be honest – outside of the Blade movies, Wesley Snipes has essentially been making direct-to-video movies for a long time (and Trinity nearly qualified).  The only reason audiences paid to see generic action garbage like Drop Zone and Passenger 57 in theaters is because people did that sort of thing in the pre-DVD/plasma screen 1990s.  But with his past few non-Daywalker projects, Snipes has quietly crept onto the back rack to join the once-theatrical ranks of Dolph Lundgren, Steven Seagal, and his latest co-star, Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Yes, the promising actor from New Jack City and Jungle Fever will now follow in the illustrious footsteps of Dennis Rodman, Lawrence ‘LT’ Taylor and Rob Schneider, combining his athletic prowess with the Muscles from Brussels in an ego-slapper called The Hard Corps, which unfortunately is not based on a Valiant comic.  The flick features Van Damme as “battle-hardened combat veteran Patrick Sauvage”, who goes from fighting in Middle East to freelancing as a bodyguard for a famous champion boxer (Snipes?).  Sauvage’s client finds himself on the Glock side of an ornery rap music overlord and his posse, so Van Damme rounds up some fellow ex-military guys to assist his protection, thereby giving credence to the title and possibly creating work for Michael Biehn and Gary Daniels.

The movie, which you’ll be able to find in the same cineplexes that played The Marksman and Wake of Death, is written and directed by Van Damme regular Sheldon Lettich, who first brought him to the Kumite in Bloodsport and pretty much kept him at a similar strata from Lionheart through The Order.

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