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JCVD

Excellent meta-movie about Jean Claude Van Damme.

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Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find

  • May 14, 2009
Rating:
+4
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!
Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find

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August 06, 2010
This is with out a doubt one of the best flicks out there, because he really did a great job in this.
August 06, 2010
I know. It really surprised everyone. I wonder what he's going to follow it up with.
 
August 04, 2009
I've HEARD about this but I never ever thought such a thing would be uttered which is JCVD being a great actor in an impressive drama. Sorta like Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love.
August 04, 2009
Well it's always been said that the hardest thing to be as as actor is to be one's self, and that is what Van Damme is in JCVD, so that would qualify him as  at the very least a competent actor. It's at the very least a surpising performance for those who categorize him as being just another Stephen Seagal. I think he goes way beyond Adam Sandler here.
 
May 18, 2009
Good stuff! I will check this out at some point. But for all those who praise Claude's acting/fighting skills I also want to point out that the man can also DANCE!  :)
May 18, 2009
Oh of course he can dance. He was a dancer before he went into martial arts, that's probably why he moves so well. Of course it was ballet and not the type on that KICKBOXER clip. That was fun to watch though. Thanks. =)
 
May 15, 2009
Wonderful review, Queenie. I've never been the biggest Van Damme fan, mainly because he usually takes whatever action film that comes along regardless of the script, but I do admire his abilities as an actor, which are underrated. Now, that it seems he's moving away from the action genre, what do you think he'll do next? I'd love to see him do some serious dramatic work with some of Europe's more unconventional directors.
May 15, 2009
He probably still has a lot to prove before he works with a great director, but who knows? Polanski was a big Bruce Lee fan and he even stooped so low as do a cameo in the last RUSH HOUR film. So maybe he'll do a film with Polanski, wouldn't that be something. They both speak French.
 
May 15, 2009
phenomenal write up. your first paragraph speaks a lot for the feature. I agree, Bloodsport and Kickboxer are martial arts classics no matter what anyone says. You do know that Van Damme's first official starring role may be "No Retreat, No Surrender" , but have you heard about his VERY first infamous one?
May 15, 2009
Well I just found out recently, 2 days ago, that he was the alien (in a costume of course) of one of my favorite films of all time- which of course was Predator =)
May 15, 2009
I heard he was supposed to have been in PREDATOR but wasn't he a bit short to be playing against Arnold?
May 18, 2009
Nope it wasn't Predator. It was a softcore film...a forgotten one.
May 18, 2009
HOW softcore???
May 19, 2009
Well, from what I've read, it makes the ones we see on cinemax seem like "Guiligan's Island".
May 19, 2009
I mean to me the definition of the difference between hardcore and softcore is the presence of full frontal male.
 
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More JCVD reviews
review by . February 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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 …
review by . March 15, 2009
"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 …
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karen ()
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I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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JCVD is a French crime film directed by French-Algerian director Mabrouk El Mechri, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself, a down-and-out action star whose family and career are crumbling around him as he's caught in the middle of a post office heist in his hometown of Brussels, Belgium.
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