So, I’m not the biggest Jean Claude Van Damme fan in the world. Sure, Bloodsport was awesome, and as much flak as I get for it, I actually liked the Street Fighter movie (c’mon, Raul Julia was in it! Gomez Adams!) . But after the horribleness that was Double Team, I gave up on him. Rampant reports of cocaine use only added fuel to the fire. He’s recently been showing up again, off the coke and in some decent movies such as In Hell so, being as I hadn’t completely written him off, I decided to give JCVD a chance. Man, was I surprised. Not only can he act, but he can act very well, and does a great job in this role. In the film, Van Damme plays a fictional-ish version of himself, a washed up actor who is losing his roles to Steven Seagal and just recently lost his kid to his ex-wife. Things aren’t looking up for him when he returns to Belgium and, going to the bank, stumbles upon a bank heist. Through some confusion, the police believe him to be mastermind behind the bank robbery and it goes from there. Sounds pretty basic, but the plot is really a vehicle for Van Damme to vette a bit on his life, foibles and all. In one very Charlie Chaplin-Great-Dictator-esque scene, he even goes so far as to address his drug problems and the pitfalls of international superstardom. All of it feels very real and gritty, and I can applaud Jean Claude for having the balls to do a role like this.
The film is backed by great production value. Sound and music is all top notch with a very mo-town/funky score. Occasionally the film is a bit too needlessly indie for my taste, but it can be overlooked because of the great content. It’s certainly worth the price of admission and worth looking into.
” Now who wants to go home? AND WHO WANTS TO GO WITH ME?!?”
PS: This is funny: