Second in Command (also known as Ultimate Menace) is a 2006 American action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by Simon Fellows.
The film was released direct-to-DVD in the United States on 02 May 2006.
Commander Sam Keenan (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a decorated US Navy SEAL, is sent to the Eastern European nation of Moldavia to become the new security attaché at the US Embassy.
When he arrives, Keenan learns that Moldavia is in the middle of a civil war. At the embassy, Keenan meets with Ambassador George Norland (Colin Stinton), who designates Keenan as his “second in command” despite the traditional diplomatic hierarchy, which is contested by others afterward. Recently, the US installed a new government in Moldavia, which is led by Moldavia’s newly elected president Yuri Amirev (Serban Celea). Amirev wants the nation to be run as a democratic republic, but under the command of Anton Tavarov (Velibor Topić), communist insurgents have caused a riot at the presidential palace, threatening the fragile stability of the country. The insurgents are loyal to Alexei Kirilov (Costel Lupea), the former brutal communist dictator of Moldavia.
When the palace guards start firing on the insurgents without Amirev’s authorisation, the insurgents storm the palace, demanding Amirev’s head. Keenan volunteers to bring Amirev to the embassy. But events reach critical mass, and the insurgents open fire. Keenan barely makes it back with Amirev, but the fight isn’t over yet. Fifty Americans are holed up in the embassy, and Tavarov and his massive army have arrived at the gates, with plans to crash the building and drag Amirev out by any means necessary. To add to Keenan’s problems, Norland is killed by a rocket that was launched by one of Tavarov’s men.
To defend the embassy, Keenan has only 15 Marines, CIA bureaucrat Frank Gaines (William Tapley), limited ammunition, and his martial arts skills to hold Tavarov’s army off until American reinforcements arrive. To make matters worse, Keenan’s girlfriend, reporter Michelle Whitman (Julie Cox), is one of the hostages. With Tavarov’s crew getting in position for attack, a power struggle takes place between Keenan and Gaines; with help hours away, it will be up to Keenan to rescue the hostages.
When the supposedly loyal General Borgov (a personal CIA “asset” claimed by Gaines) arrives, he turns out to side with the insurgents but Keenan rescues the surviving personnel with help from arriving American military reinforcements.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme as Commander Sam Keenan.
- Julie Cox as Michelle Whitman.
- Alan McKenna as Captain John Baldwin.
- William Tapley as CIA Agent Frank Gaines.
- Raz Adoti as Gunnery Sergeant Earl Darnell.
- Velibor Topić as Anton Tavarov.
- Warren Derosa as Mike Shustec.
- Ian Virgo as Corporal Will Butler.
- Raffaello Degruttola as Private First Class Zanger.
- Serban Celea as President Yuri Amirev.
- Vlad Ivanov as Regional Security Officer John Lydon.
- Emanuel Parvu as Corporal Chevantón.
- Razvan Oprea as Private First Class Devereaux.
- Mihai Bisericanu as Marshall Geller.
- Elizabeth Barondes as Jennifer Lennard.
- Colin Stinton as Ambassador George Norland.
- Dan Radulescu as Private First Class Pazzini.
- Catalin Paraschiv as Private First Class Burke.
- Eugen Cristea as General Borgov.
- Costel Lupea as President Alexei Kirilov.
It is set and was filmed in Bucharest, Romania, over 50 days on 07 June and 27 July 2005.
The film opened in the 24th place with $1.04 million in the rentals chart.
DVD was released in Region 1 in the United States on 02 May 2006. It was released in Region 2 in the United Kingdom on 15 May 2006. It was distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Scott Adkins was offered the role of Pfc. Devereaux but could not sign for it due to other commitments.
- He was replaced by Razvan Oprea.
- By an odd coincidence, the scenes in which PFCs Zanger and Pazzini plant and detonate a number of package bombs around the neighbourhood to distract the insurgents from the US Embassy was filmed on 07 July 2005, the date of the terrorist bombings in London, with the SFX explosions taking place almost to the exact hour of those in the UK.
- The largely British crew of the film learned of the attacks shortly after during their lunch break, and filming was suspended for the remainder of the day.
- To cover up Van Damme’s Belgian accent while playing as Samuel ‘Sam’ Keenan it is said that he grew up in Vietnam to French parents.
Production & Filming Details
- Simon Fellows.
- David Alvarado … associate producer.
- David Bixler … executive producer.
- Kathy Brayton … co-executive producer.
- Jonathan Debin … line producer.
- Brad Krevoy … producer.
- Alwyn Kushner … associate producer.
- Donald Kushner … producer.
- Bogdan Moncea … line producer.
- Vlad Paunescu … co-producer.
- Pierre Spengler … producer.
- Richard Turner … associate producer.
- Eugene Van Varenberg … associate producer.
- Jonathan Bowers … (screenplay).
- David L. Corley … (screenplay) (as David Corley).
- Jayson Rothwell … (screenplay).
- Jonathan Bowers … (story).
- David L. Corley … (story) (as David Corley).
- Milton Bearden … (story) (as Milt Bearden).
- Mark Sayfritz.
- Douglas Milsome.
- Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA).
- Castel Film Romania.
- Micro Fusion 2004-15 (in association with).
- Pueblo Film Group (in association with).
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2006) (USA) (DVD).
- Columbia TriStar Films de Argentina (2006) (Argentina) (all media).
- LK-TEL (2006) (Argentina) (DVD).
- LK-TEL (2006) (Argentina) (VHS).
- Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) (2006) (USA) (all media).
- DNC Entertainment (2006) (Italy) (DVD).
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2006) (Brazil) (DVD).
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2006) (Australia) (DVD).
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2006) (Netherlands) (DVD).
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2006) (Germany) (DVD).
- Mill Creek Entertainment (2012) (USA) (DVD).
- Mill Creek Entertainment (2013) (USA) (Blu-ray) (DVD).
- Release Date: 02 May 2006 (US).
- Running Time: 92 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.