JCVD is just what all the other reviews claim, it's a tour de force for Jean-Claude Van Damme The Actor. If you're renting this expecting anything at all in the way of action then you are going to be extremely disappointed because apart from the opening scene which turns out to be a scene from a movie he is supposedly filming, there is a total of two kicks, an elbow, and maybe a punch. I think that perhaps as Van Damme nears 50 he's realized that his career as an action star is living on borrowed time and that this film might serve as his calling card to the world of serious film-makers, at least in Europe. And it definitely does that in a most impressive fashion. With the making of this film the Muscles from Brussels proves himself to be undoubtedly the most talented thespian of all kwailo martial artists, and probably most Asian martial artists as well. Here he presents himself as amiable though world weary, down trodden, and scrambling to hold together the last vestiges of his fading career, and he does so very convincingly. It's been said that the most difficult thing for an actor to play is himself. If that's the case then Van Damme deserves an Oscar.
The film's plot concerns itself with Van Damme who has just returned to his native Belgium after a series of disasters in his life including but not limited to; a divorce from his latest wife which results in a nasty custody battle over his daughter who is embarrassed to be related to him and wants nothing to do with him, an agent who avoids him like the plague, mounting legal fees and tax problems which resulted in his credit cards being cancelled, and worst of all losing parts to the corpulent Steven Seagal. But things are about to get much worse. In an attempt to get some money to pay a cab driver JCVD walks into a post office/bank and becomes involved in a robbery. The robbers decide to take advantage of his presence (since the police immediately assume that Van Damme has snapped and is committing the robbery himself) and they use him to talk with the police negotiator on the telephone. And the entire nation goes wild, or at least the locals go wild, and a large cheering crowd quickly gathers. If you want to know more you'll have to see it yourself.
It's wonderful to see Van Damme back in "action" even though it's relative inaction. I can still remember the excitement of seeing him as the villainous Russian in NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER and being totally blown away by his physical abilities--here was a guy with real talent and martial expertise. In fact BLOODSPORT and KICK BOXER are still two of my favorite old school kung fu films no matter what anyone may say about them--and, no, it isn't just because he drops his pants and we get a nice view of his impressive rump. That doesn't hurt though. Not a bit. And with TIME COP, a great little time travel flick, it seemed as if he was going to branch out into other genre films and be a real movie star. Too bad that he fell victim to the usual Hollywood demons. I never would have expected the surprising acting chops we see in this flick however. Good to have you back on top, Jean-Claude!
*** out of **** Don't you love it when a crummy actor is given one moment of true glory? That moment of glory, for actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, is the film "JCVD". Throughout his career, Van Damme has starred in various generic action films; all of which have been forgettable and ultimately convoluted. It's almost kind of strange how this film doesn't mimic or mock the quality of his other films. No, this film is better than that. It features Van Damme playing a semi-fictitious … more
"Central to Unit 27. Jean-Claude Van Damme's robbing a post office. I need back-up." Short Attention Span Summary (SASS): 1. Jean- Claude Van Damme's getting no respect 2. It's so bad that even Steven Seagal steals a movie role from him 3. "The Muscles" returns to Brussels where at least everyone knows his name 4. His cash-strapped position leads him to the post office 5. People go postal … more