Second in Command

Second in Command

DVD cover
Directed by Simon Fellows
Produced by Brad Krevoy
Donald Kushner
Pierre Spengler
Written by Jonathan Bowers
David Corley
Jayson Rothwell
Story by Milt Bearden
Jonathan Bowers
David Corley
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Julie Cox
William Tapley
Alan McKenna
Music by Mark Sayfritz
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
Castel Film Romania
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 2, 2006 (2006-05-02)
Running time
92 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million

Second in Command is a 2006 American action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by Simon Fellows. The film was released on direct-to-DVD in the United States on May 2, 2006.


Navy Seal Commander Samuel "Sam" Keenan (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL, sent to the Eastern European nation of Moldavia to become the new security attaché at the U.S. 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 makes Keenan the deputy ambassador. Recently, the U.S. installed a new government in Moldavia, and it is a government led by Moldavia's newly elected president Yuri Amirev (Serban Celea). However, Amirev wants the nation to be run as a democracy, but under the command of Anton Tavarov (Velibor Topic), Communist insurgents have caused a riot at the presidential palace, threatening the fragile democracy. The insurgents are loyal to dictative former president Alexei Kirilov (Costel Lupea), who is a communist who abused Moldavia's people.

When the palace guards start firing on the insurgents without Amirev's go ahead, 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.


The plot point from which the film takes its title relates to Keenan's appointment as second in command (Deputy Chief of Mission) at the embassy and whether he properly replaced a military officer (Captain Harris) in that post. In fact only foreign service officials are legally eligible for that appointment. Attaches by nature are outside the chain of command.

Keenan is told that reinforcements are six hours east of him (which would imply the Black Sea) but the military are then deployed from the Adriatic and Croatia (well west of Moldavia).



The film opened in the 24th place with $1.04 million in the rentals chart.[1] The film currently holds average rating 5/10 stars on Internet Movie Database.[2] Forty percent of Rotten Tomatoes users liked the movie.[3]


It is set and filmed in Bucharest, Romania in 50 days on June 7 and July 27, 2005.

Home media

DVD was released in Region 1 in the United States on May 2, 2006, and also Region 2 in the United Kingdom on 15 May 2006, it was distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


  1. Strowbridge, C.S. (2006-05-13). "Home Market Numbers Bounce Back". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  2. "Second in Command (Video 2006)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  3. "Second in Command". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
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