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We Die Young (film)

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We die young
Directed byLior Geller
Produced byMoshe Diamant
Written byLior Geller
CinematographyIvan Vatsov
Release date
  • March 1, 2019 (2019-03-01)
Running time
92 minuets
CountryUnited States

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We Die Young is a 2019 crime drama film written and directed by Lior Geller. It tells the story of Lucas (Elijah Rodriguez), a 14-year-old boy inducted into the gang life in Washington, D.C. under the leadership of kingpin Rincon (David Castaneda), but is determined that his 10-year-old brother (Nicholas Sean Johnny) won't follow the same path. When an Afghanistan war veteran (Jean-Claude Van Damme) comes into the neighborhood, an opportunity arises that changes all their lives forever.

We Die Young premiered at the 2019 Mammoth Film Festival on February 7, 2019 in Mammoth Lakes, CA as the festival’s opening night gala film.[1] Prior to the screening, the film was preemptively purchased by Lionsgate Films for distribution in the United States.[2] Lionsgate released the film in the US on March 1, 2019 to critical acclaim with particular praise for Geller’s direction and Van Damme’s performance.[3][4] John Delia of Aced Magazine gave the film 4 out of 5 stars calling the film. “Shocking, violent and emotional…” stating of director Lior Geller’s work, “Geller… sets up the audience for a front row seat on a Godfather resembling movie.” [5]


Lucas (Elijah Rodriguez) works for MS-13, which is one of the biggest gangs in Washington, D.C. When ruthless drug lord Rincon (David Castañeda) recruits Lucas' 10-year-old brother Miguel (Nicholas Sean Johnny) to work as a runner, Lucas is desperate to keep Miguel safe. With the help of an aged war veteran (Jean-Claude Van Damme) Lucas must try to keep his brother safe from the vicious drug lord.


  • Jean-Claude Van Damme as Daniel
  • Elijah Rodriguez as Lucas
  • Joana Metrass as Anna
  • David Castañeda as Rincon
  • Nicholas Sean Johnny as Miguel
  • Charlie MacGechan as Jester
  • Dean John Wilson as Mousey
  • Jim Caeser as Felix
  • Kerry Bennet as Brenda
  • Uriel Emil as Spider
  • Pablo Scola as Padre Orelio
  • Robyn Cara as Gabriela
  • Jacob Scipio as Tomas
  • Joseph Long as Luis
  • Tony Wredden as Carlo


After Lior Geller’s graduate student film “Roads”, made at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University, set a Guinness World Record as the most awarded student film of all time, Geller was offered to adapt the short into an American feature film set in South Central Los Angeles and centering on African-American gangs. However Geller felt that this would result in a conventional crime film, saying "I had no interest in doing that as I felt it had been done so many times before. I had nothing to say about that world. It wasn’t until a chance ride-along with Alfonso Matos, a DC gang expert, through the neighborhoods outside Capitol Hill that my eyes were opened to a world I’ve rarely seen portrayed in American cinema."[6] Of the adaption from his graduate film, Geller has said, ”I even hesitate to call We Die Young an adaptation of the short film as to me it perhaps shares the same DNA as ”Roads”, but it’s definitely its own film.”[7]


  1. "Jean-Claude Van Damme's 'We Die Young' to Open Mammoth Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  2. "We Die Young | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate) | cityonfire.com". Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  3. "REVIEW: JCVD'S WE DIE YOUNG Delivers a Powerful if Downbeat Message of Life's Harsh Realities". action-flix.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  4. RedCarpetCrash (2019-03-02). "Movie Review: 'We Die Young'". RedCarpetCrash.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  5. ""We Die Young" Gang Related". ACED Magazine. 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  6. "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Lior Geller Talks WE DIE YOUNG with Jean-Claude Van Damme!". action-flix.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  7. "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Lior Geller Talks WE DIE YOUNG with Jean-Claude Van Damme!". action-flix.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.

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