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You. Not. Expendable. Part 3: Jean-Claude Van Damme Revisited (BLACK EAGLE, DOUBLE TEAM, & JCVD)!!

 

What’s up, Contenders? Terry Malloy here reporting live from the Waterfront.

 

You. Not. Expendable. Will revisit some of the classic (and not so classic) films starring the various and sundry cast members of The Expendables 2 in order to open up a conversation about action cinema in general and to prepare us all for the carnage that Expendables 2 will (hopefully) reap upon us all. 

 

As we approach the August 17th theatrical release date of The Expendables 2, You. Not. Expendable will highlight different cast members, singling out a few of their feature film endeavors. The jury is still out on whether you, too, will want to revisit each of these films.

 

 

 

Jean-Claude Van Damme AKA Jean Vilain 

 

While I am trying to keep the order of these revisitings at random, I did find a bit of a themed trilogy within my Dolph, Arnold, and Van Damme entries thus far: American Action Stars From Europe Who Played Russians To Mask Their Accents! Yes, that’s right. Although the traditional action film is about as American as apple pie and Wyatt Earp, many of our all time favorite action heroes do not hail from the USA. And there is more of that to come as we revisit some of Jet Li’s film highlights, Jason Statham’s and more. Picking 3 of JCVD’s gems to highlight was no small challenge, as he was my personal action idol as a whippersnapper. (And remains pretty high up there to this day!) The 3 I chose to highlight represent a pretty huge spread, spanning from 1988 to 2008, 20 years of action filmmaking from the Muscles From Brussels! 

 

Many were saddened that Van Damme wasn’t in the first EXPENDABLES film. I was one of them! But in all honesty, the villain in THE EXPENDABLES was truly lacking. With Van Damme we have a formidable opponent for Stallone’s team to square off against, and I kind of think I’ll be rooting for Van Damme to win! With a name like Jean Vilain, he was all but born into this life of crime, wouldn’t you say? 

 

Alright, let the Kumite begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK EAGLE (1988)

 

Tag Lines

 

  • There are no enemies. There is no glory. This fight is one on one.
  • Two warriors meet… only one will survive.

 

Some of you may decry this film being included in a JCVD retrospective because BLACK EAGLE is, in fact, not really a Van Damme starring vehicle. Well, on one hand, I did want to complete my “action heroes playing Russians” trilogy. But on the other hand, my memory, and my box art, sort of deceived me. Although I knew Van Damme played the villain here, I certainly did not remember how little screen time he really had, or that this was a Sho Kosugi joint.

 

In reality, BLACK EAGLE IS a star maker for Van Damme just because of how brightly he shines in this low rent action film. No one in front of the camera, or behind, has half of the charisma or presence that Van Damme displays in his limited screen time as Andrei, the KGB heavy hitter who must go up against the dreaded secret agent Black Eagle (Sho Kosugi) in a small arms race.

 

If you are not familiar with Sho Kosugi, think of any movies made in the 1980s with the word “Ninja” in the title; Kosugi is most likely the star of that movie. REVENGE OF THE NINJA, ENTER THE NINJA, NINJA III, NINE DEATHS OF THE NINJA. Literally all of those are Kosugi vehicles. And he was most recently seen in NINJA ASSASSIN! The man was a legitimate action hero in the 1980s despite his incredibly thick Japanese accent and his unassuming looks. He would make an awesome addition to THE EXPENDABLES 3 cast, but enough about Kosugi, this is a Van Damme piece!

 

 

 JCVD does a lot with very little here. His Andrei isn’t even the “lead” villain in a sense, because he plays the muscle behind an older, higher ranked KGB beaurocrat. But it is clear that Andrei is the biggest threat to Sho Kosugi’s quest to… do something about a weapons system that crashed into the ocean aboard a fighter plane near Malta… or something. But Andrei manages to find love with a Russian hottie while tracking down our heroic Ninja, and his one big on screen battle with the Black Eagle is the highlight of the film. Hell, he even gets to win the fight! Its almost like he had a contract where he would play the bad guy, but he wouldn’t have to lose. So in the end, Van Damme meets his maker in the lamest villain death of all time (But hint: it isn’t at the hands of Sho Kosugi.)

 

BLOODSPORT came out the very same year as BLACK EAGLE and clearly launched Van Damme into a different stratosphere of stardom than Kosugi ever realized. So all the box art and advertising for BLACK EAGLE features a prominent JCVD, sometimes even removing Kosugi entirely. “That’s why they call it BLOODSPORT, kid.”

 

THE SPLITS

 

 

Van Damme is somewhat famous for his onscreen splits. Not to mention regularly baring his ass and often showing the same punch/kick from multiple, quick cutting angles. It seems the splits gag was birthed here in BLACK EAGLE, as I recall three instances of pretty badass splits happening. One has Van Damme, erm, “spread eagle” across two barrels, throwing knives at a target! The other two are actually used in combat against Kosugi and all are pretty spectacular on screen. Nobody does the cinematic splits like our man Van Damme.

 

Netflix does not have BLACK EAGLE, but I was able to rent a VHS copy from Austin’s I Luv Video. It does appear to have a few different DVD releases which can be found on Amazon. I should also mention that a couple of AWESOME Sho Kosugi movies, including RAGE OF HONOR and PRAY FOR DEATH, are available on Netflix Streaming.

 

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE TEAM (1997)

 

Tag Lines

 

  • They Don’t Play By The Rules.
  • You’re either on their side… or in their way.
  • America’s top counter-terrorist usually works alone… this time he’s got company.

 

A talk backer recommended that this column touch on DOUBLE TEAM when we got around to a Van Damme piece, and I felt it was a good idea because I personally had never seen this film, and because I knew it came out of the period where Van Damme was partnering with major Hong Kong action directors. With DOUBLE TEAM, we have an inspired pairing between Van Damme and director Tsui Hark, as well as the least inspired pairing perhaps in cinema history, JCVD and Dennis Rodman.

 

 

Yes, DOUBLE TEAM is the buddy cop film starring Van Damme and Rodman. And the laughs just… never come. At least not when the filmmakers planned on them to. Rodman runs around making basketball references like “Whoops, air ball” after missing a crucial throw. And other comedy gold. On one hand, someone could watch DOUBLE TEAM and find just about everything that was wrong with American action movies in the 1990s. Rodman, Van Damme’s haircut, and an over reliance on computerized grandiosity.

 

But, if one were to watch this as a Tsui Hark picture, and keep in mind some of the visual flare and over-the-topness that some of his Hong Kong epics display, there may be a kind of genius to DOUBLE TEAM.

 

Regardless of which lens you watch DOUBLE TEAM through, Dennis Rodman is a travesty. A black hole of on screen talent, personality, or engagement. May that man never grace a film screen ever again. Not only that, but his casting in DOUBLE TEAM is so wink-wink that it derails the entire film for me. That is the trouble with stunt casting. It is a stunt. And this is a worse case example of that kind of decision making.

 

 

However, I would be remiss not to recount a few of the truly insane and memorable moments that make DOUBLE TEAM a WTF gold mine, and well worth watching. This next section will be pretty much entirely spoilers:

 

  • The second act of DOUBLE TEAM sends the movie careening from standard action fare into high concept science fiction in a jolting manner indeed. Act I sets up a rivalry between Van Damme’s anti-terrorist agent character and Mickey Rourke’s villain. All seems to be going swimmingly when suddenly an injured Van Damme wakes up on a high tech island filled with supposedly dead super spies and super villains! I guess the concept here is that these people are too valuable to be killed off, so they are cut off from society, declared dead, and forced to use their skills to battle against world wide terror. Hmm. Act II becomes a sci-fi prison break story with Van Damme having to escape The Isle Of The Spies and rescue his son from Mickey Rourke’s evil clutches.
  • Then there is a fight sequence in which Van Damme fights a dude with a guitar case machine gun, then immediately fights a guy who launches his shoes at Van Damme as weapons, and proceeds to grip a blade with his toes and knife kick a lot. It is a left field fight sequence of sublime inefficiency!
  • The conclusion of DOUBLE TEAM is so remarkably high stakes, and completely unswallowable, that you have to admire the audacity of it all. Somehow, Rourke’s character manages to get Rodman and Van Damme to the ROMAN COLLISEUM. There, he has ingeniously rigged up a minefield, and then sets a tiger loose, too. Amazingly, there exists a movie where, if you pause it at just the right time, you can see JCVD, Dennis Rodman, Mickey Rourke, the Colliseum, a tiger, and a minefield, all in one screen. The whole tiger thing really comes back to bite Rourke in the ass when he has to set off the minefield in order to avoid getting mauled by the tiger. Fortunately, there is a thing called product placement, and as the ENTIRE ROMAN COLLISEUM blows up, Rodman and Van Damme hide safely behind a Coke machine. 

 

This is true. Every word of it. And the more I think about it, the more DOUBLE TEAM might be some kind of bizarre unintentional high concept action comedy masterpiece. It’s just too bad it has Dennis Rodman in it, because I can’t find a single angle about his presence to enjoy on any level.

 

You can rent a DVD of DOUBLE TEAM through Netflix, or buy it on DVD at Amazon. It does not appear that DOUBLE TEAM has been given the Blu-ray treatment just yet.

 

 

 

 

 

JCVD (2008)

 

Tag Line: The biggest fight of his life.

 

JCVD is a miracle of a film. There was never any chance that I would not include it in this Van Damme piece because any chance I get to discuss this film or get exposure for it is a chance I will take. It is a film so unique and brilliant that nothing will really ever compare to it. It is a singular vision. 

 

Van Damme stars as a hyper-realized version of himself. Down on his luck, facing a custody battle over his daughter, and losing acting gigs to a Steven Seagal who has promised to cut off his pony tail! 

 

Neither an outright comedy, drama, action film, or biopic; it includes elements of all of these styles to absolutely knock this movie out of the stratosphere. JCVD opens with a brilliant long take that would be at home in any recent Van Damme film. Our hero explodes onto the screen, weaving his way through an urban battlefield. He punches, he kicks, he throws grenades, he rescues a hostage. The camera floats and follows all of this without cutting. It is a virtuoso action sequence. After probably 4-5 uncut minutes of action, a prop wall falls down and the set is revealed. Van Damme runs over to his disaffected director and shouts at him about how long takes like this are hard for him at 47 years old! The non-English speaking director says some unkind things and his interpreter tries to keep the peace. This perfectly sets the tone for JCVD. One one level, it is a well-crafted, well-written film which announces something totally different. And on another level it peels back a layer of veneer and tells us that this will be a raw and realistic look at what it is like to be a 50 year old Van Damme. 

 

Practically announcing its high concept, art-house cred after that scene, we get chapter cards too! JCVD is told slightly out of sequence which adds to the mystery and comedy of the proceedings. Basically, the film tells the tale of a down on his luck Van Damme resorting to desperate measures and getting mixed up in a bank robbery in downtown Brussels. Before it all comes to a close, there will be a chanting, teeming crowd rooting for their hero, Van Damme’s parents will get involved, and police SWAT teams will be called in to manage the hostage situation. 

 

How would you feel if you were stuck in the middle of a bank robbery and Jean Claude Van Damme was there with you? JCVD explores all of the angles of that scenario and you are guaranteed to laugh and may even be oddly moved.

 

Jean-Claude tears up the screen here, in what is unquestionably his greatest achievement as an actor. There are moments of incredibly vulnerability, as well as classic moments of action and comedy. Van Damme at one point delivers a monologue for the ages, looking straight into the camera and bringing a level of performance that we have never seen from him before or since. It is as though Van Damme literally went for broke and left everything he had on the screen for his fans to see.

 

I don’t know exactly how this film came to be, but I really want to. My DVD doesn’t have a director’s commentary or anything like that. But writer/director Mabrouk El Mechri deserves an enormous amount of credit for this project as well. Did he write this with Jean-Claude’s collaboration? Or was it a blind sell that Van Damme agreed to? How did El Mechri gain so much of Van Damme’s trust that he was able to create such a vulnerable and fascinating picture here?

 

 

My great hope since seeing JCVD has been to see Jean-Claude Van Damme get rewarded for the bravery he displayed in the film. It is clear that, with the right script and the right director, Van Damme can be an A-list performer, even in his 50s. I’d have loved to see some dramatic roles for him after JCVD, or at least a script and a budget offered to him that would get him back up on the big screen. Alas, while his latest Universal Soldier: Regeneration was easily better than the first, it hasn’t gotten much love. And FULL LOVE (now re-titled SOLDIERS), which he wrote and directed himself, and reportedly used his post-JCVD clout to get off the ground; hasn’t yet been released in the US. So it looks like EXPENDABLES 2 may be Jean-Claude’s last time on the big screen here in US markets for the time being. I, for one, believe that JCVD is so off-the-charts bold, and so successful in what it was trying to accomplish, that our man Jean-Claude should be considered in an entirely different light than he really is today. Here’s to hoping.

 

JCVD can be rented on Netflix as a DVD, and it looks like there are a couple of different Blu-ray editions of the film, which you can buy on its own, or bundled with other Van Damme films on Amazon

 

 

 

And I’m Out.

 

Terry Malloy AKA Ed Travis

 

Follow Me On Twitter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREVIOUSLY

 

 

You. Not. Expendable. Part 1: Dolph Lundgren Revisited (RED SCORPION, THE PUNISHER, & I COME IN PEACE)

 

 

You. Not. Expendable. Part 2: Arnold Schwarzenegger Revisited!! RAW DEAL, RED HEAT, and COMMANDO!!

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8 a.m. CST

    FIRST! SAW JCVD IN THEATRES!

    by JMG84

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST

    JCVD left me cold.

    by DerLanghaarige

    I guess I wasn't fan enough for a movie, that is mostly an apology to his fans, for making so many crappy movies and doing some big missteps in real life. But yes, he gave a great performance and I would totally cast him in a dramatic role after watching this. And bonus points for not turning this into an episode of EXTRAS, ENTOURAGE or all those other sitcoms, where celebrities play "outrageous" asshole caricatures of themself.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    DOUBLE TEAM is just nuts! I'll be seeing KNOCK OFF soon.

    by Spandau Belly

    This Tsui Hark guy must've been playing some sort of prank on Hollywood and it's hilarious.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:28 a.m. CST

    His riveting monologue made me want him to do some drama.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    DOUBLE TEAM is fun, but...

    by bluelou_boyle

    Some of the action scenes are ruined because you can see it's not VD doing the fighting. Even for moves he can easily do. Very poor.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:34 a.m. CST

    i guess after reading this

    by mick vance

    we can all go home... well i'm not going home. i'm going to get on my boat , and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go home... and who wants to go with me?

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Been watching "Van Damme Behind Closed Doors"

    by seasider

    on Showtime. I'd recommend it to any Van Damme fan.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Van Damme is just cool

    by Bop N Rumble

    The guy can do no wrong in my eyes. I hope he steals the show in Expendables 2.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Van Damme should do a buddy cop movie

    by Bop N Rumble

    I think he could do that really well.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    No Retreat No Surrender??

    by MRJONZ72

    When talking JCVD playing Russian villains. I would think you would go with NRNS first. I just thought that villain and probably the movie itself are more memorable than Black Eagle, well at least Sho Kusugi gets a shoutout on AICN

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Surely this is his best performance yet...

    by Lord Albion

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjg24p_van-damme-coors-light-commercial-hd-2011-action-star-needs-the-best-beer_people

  • For me, it just may be the greatest cameo ever.. I didnt see Blind Fury until maybe 6 or 7 years after it came out. So it had been a long time since I seen Sho in anything. I just remember seeing Sho walk accross the screen with sword and apple in hand pumped my fist in the air and was YESSSSS!. Yeah I was mad hyped lol.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    TimeCop TimeCop TimeCop

    by even9

    cool film of it's type anytime

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Malloy you hipster

    by Moon_Knight

    I love it how the reviewer picks two of JCVD least known and crappy movies AND the one he got good reviews for....Because it cooler to do that right? If you reviewed "Bloodsport" his flick everyone loves, or "Timecop" legit hit in the theater then would that be selling out of something? Hey, if you really wanna be a pretentious cyber dork then you should have reviewed "No retreat, No surrender" and "Breakin"!!

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Double Team...

    by Kelly Grimes

    You forgot the part where he suffocates a guy with a plastic bag.... Underwater Unbelievable movie. It's not hard to believe that it's a mish mash of about 4 different action/sci fi scripts.

  • It was an awesome series and ANY Van Damme or Action Movie fan must watch it. As for his movies, he's certainly been in some major duds............but he's also been in movies that are off the fucking chain awesome. Bloodsport - My Generations Enter The Dragon Incredible Soundtrack Kickboxer - A Masterpiece Incredible Soundtrack Again. Universal Soldier - Fucking Awesome with added Awesome Dolph! Hard Target - Fucking Awesome, before John Woo lost his balls, with added Awesome Vosloo and Awesome Henrickson! TimeCop - Very Enjoyable Cyborg - A classic early VD movie Double Impact - 2 Van Dammes for the price of 1 plus a fantastic Bolo Yeung! A.W.O.L - Fucking shit kicking at it's best, great end fight. JCVD – Wow. Van Damme Behind Closed Doors TV reality Series – Fucking Superb. Van Damme comes across as a man that has lived it up for 30 years and made a ton of mistakes. Drink, drugs, women….he’s done the lot. Bad career decisions…….he openly admits everything and the price he’s paid. He comes across as a little crazy, very excentric but also a funny guy whose very endearing. His wife Gladys is an absolute SAINT to put up with him and what he’s done and without her he simply admits he couldn’t go on. As a series it really was a movie star showing everything from the ups and the downs and it’s gripping stuff. Just watching him lose it when his friend of 30 years plus tells him Hollywood doesn’t want him in the proposed BloodSport Sequel/Remake was heartbreaking. They didn’t even want him for a fucking Cameo! In 5 minutes he goes from total shock and bewilderment to funny to despair and then anger. Say what you want about JCVD, put a camera in front of him and he’s GOLD.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:55 a.m. CST

    I Like Your Style...

    by SonOfChiba

    Boy, you’re a brave cat, Malloy, going with arguably 2 of Van Damme’s least liked flicks there! BLACK EAGLE makes a terrible hash of everything, and DOUBLE TEAM could’ve been truly good – instead of “so bad, it’s good” – if they’d not tried to make 3 films in one. And not cast Dennis Rodman, too. JCVD I liked, but maybe it was overhyped and by the time I saw it, whilst I really dug VAN DAMME’s performance the film as a whole was a bit flat. If only I’d not read so many reviews before seeing it. For me, Van Damme’s heyday produced some genuinely great action flicks – BLOODSPORT, DOUBLE IMPACT, TIMECOP, DEATH WARRANT - and what may be his masterpiece, HARD TARGET. His later stuff goes up and down in quality alarmingly, I think, but he became a very good actor. In fact, I’d say he’s far better than his contempories. I really hope we get to see more of him on the big screen in the wake of EXP2. And the chap who mentioned his documentary series, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is right – it’s a fascinating, genuinely illuminating watch.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 10:22 a.m. CST

    lord_albion...THAT WAS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!

    by art123guy

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    By the way, Van Damme better destroy Stallone in their on-screen battle.

    by The Krypton Kid

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Missed all three of these. Some on purpose.

    by adeceasedfan

    Bloodsport is my favorite. I also liked Nowhere to Run as a kid.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Double Team and Knock Off are both

    by mr.underwater

    Fucking Brilliant. Hark gets the last laugh.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 11:18 a.m. CST

    What up? No TimeCop Love?

    by Darth_Kaos

    First JCVD movie I ever went to the theater to see, and thought it was his best movie overall. Haven't seen JCVD yet, but I plan to watch it. I watch his series on Showtime Extreme, which is pretty good. E2 should bring him back, I hope.

  • Time is of the essence with this column so I can't spend a lot of it tracking things down if they aren't easily rentable here in Austin. Would've loved to revisit that title, though. It has been probably 20 years since I last saw it.

  • c'mon, Basketball parachute? I liked the original premise better in which JCVD goes it alone i believe the proposed title of the film was called The Colony. But this was a shitfested feature to the extent that it's 11% on RT and not to mention that Rodman won the Razzies as worst new star and worst supporting actor. FU Hollywood! Give me Hard Target or Timecop (Van Damme's best films) over this mess anyday!

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST

    LMMFAO@JCVD's role as Guile.

    by Stalkeye

    "Charlie, hang on I'm comin for you"!! Worst film of 1994 to the extent of my friends choking me from both sides of the isle seats, because I suggested we see this fine "masterpiece" in the theraters. THAT'S how bad Street fighter was. A sad legacy for the departed Raul Julia.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Kickboxer should be somewhere on that list.

    by Christian Sylvain

    The only thing more awesome than Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking ass is Jean-Claude Van Damme break dancing. Nak Su Kao!!!

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST

    DOUBLE TEAM IS A PIECE OF SHIT FILM!!!

    by Jared Parker

    i hated it so much

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Maximum Risk

    by Baron Von Hugenpannts

    Have not seen it in a while, but always thought Maximum Risk was a slightly underrated JCVD flick. Directed by Ringo Lam, it actually was somewhat successful at being a little more serious-minded JCVD movie which actually tried to have something resembling a plot. He battles Russian mobsters in this one. Sudden Death aka Die Hard at a Hockey Game was also a fun movie. I agree with a couple others that Hard Target is his best.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    The Quest

    by Baron Von Hugenpannts

    Was anyone else disappointed when this came out? JCVD was the director, so he had a lot of control of the project. The Quest was essentially a remake of Bloodsport, except with much higher budget and production values. Yet it doesn't have the charm and fun of Bloodsport, and most importantly, the fight scenes are nowhere as good or exciting.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Would love No Retreat No Surrender on DVD

    by seasider

    at least for Region 1. It's one of those "movies that are so bad they're good" from the 80's. Van Damme is hardly in the film but when his appearance at the end is hilarious.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Sudden Death, Universal Soldier, Hard Target = winning

    by Mark Jones

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    "Maximum Risk" is great

    by pomofo

    He also did 2 other good movies with Ringo Lam, "Replicant" and "In Hell".

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 3:33 p.m. CST

    where's TIMECOP, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, or even DOUBLE IMPACT?

    by Jared Parker

    those were actually good

  • ...but then there's Cyborg. Then there's Double Team. Then there's just about everything else he touched. Count me excited for Expendables 2 (love that he is a villain), and very excited for JCVD, that sounds pretty amazing.

  • ...Ronny Cox as shady contractor, Michael Ironside, Michael Biehn, Jesse Ventura and Kurtwood Smith as his personal assassins, the "four horseman." Terry Crews has conflicted emotions, entertaining the idea of leaving the expendables for the rival team, led by his mentor and hero, Carl Weathers. Michael Biehn joins the Expendables after he is the only "horseman" to survive their last assignment together: kill the Expendables. Ronny Cox gets an evil monologue. Arnold and Carl Weathers have an existing history inside the logic of the film. So do Carl Weathers and Stallone. Box. Office. Gold. ...or at least, I'll be there opening night!

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST

    No Monaco Forever love?

    by The Shropshire Slasher

    Good.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5OgQ1svrc4 Granted its not Blu Ray lol but its pretty damn good quality. JCVD jumpin off dudes leg/kick at the 5 min mark while still very cool is not as bad ass as I remembered

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 5:48 p.m. CST

    @mrjonz72

    by The Shropshire Slasher

    Try as I may, won't happen!

  • But all the ones you guys have been mentioning are bringing back memories of movies that I had forgotten existed. I hope you all did enjoy them as I did and your not just spouting some random IMDB list. He was a huge star in his heyday. I really would like to see him make a comeback. Too bad there wasn't any Russians to be cast in Django Unchained.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 9:32 p.m. CST

    It help that I saw both Double Team and Knock Off in the theater

    by mr.underwater

    And for both, my friend and I were basically the only two non-Chinese members of the audience (who I guess were there more for Hark, than JCVD). I would imagine American audiences would just sit there, still, quiet, and somewhat perplexed. Whereas, Chinese audiences were laughing and cheering throughout both.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Articles like this make me miss VERN

    by YackBacker

    Anyone else remember his dry wit and poignant writing? Yeah, that's no longer here.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    I will be busy streaming, "Hard Target," shortly...

    by ThulsaBoom

    ...remember liking it, but don't remember much.

  • Aug. 2, 2012, 11:26 p.m. CST

    @5secondfuse-Great post! Those are my Van DAMN favorites...

    by kenchun24

    ...also I think Tarantino (love him or hate him) should do an homage to the 80's action films and use Van Damme as the lead? After JCVD I'm surprised Hollywood hasn't put him in more stuff,be they action or thriller etc... Gotta add No Retreat No Surrender as a Van Damme fave.One of the best "so bad it's good" movies out there,but I still love it because of JCVD.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:04 a.m. CST

    JCVD punched a snake unconscious...

    by Itchypanda

    and John Woo left it in the movie. Awesome.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 7:32 a.m. CST

    You should've had DOUBLE IMPACT!!!

    by Wcwlkr

    Van Damme playing two versions of himself I freaking LOVED that movie! I also remember Death Warrant as one of my earliest Van Damme films another one I loved. Really looking forward to The Expendables 2

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 7:54 a.m. CST

    itchypanda

    by Flibbertygibbet

    Thank God I'm not the only one who remembers THAT particlular moment of celluloid gold. JCVD punching a snake. In the face. Before pulling out the rattle with his teeth. And I STILL love that film. Henriksen and Vosloo were superb together.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    @flibbertygibbet - Hard Target is a Fucking GREAT Movie

    by 5secondfuse

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:59 a.m. CST

    @flibbertygibbet

    by 5secondfuse

    Hit the enter button too quickly! The sheer lunacy of punching out a rattlesnake is what makes it such an awesome action picture. JC is in his prime in this and he pulls off two of his greatest ever kicks in this. The 1st is an off the chain awesome spinning hook kick when he puts that guy through the window of the cafe and the second is probably my favourite ever VD 360. When he kicks the dude wearing the jazzy shirt smoking the cigar in the warehouse battle near the end. It looks amazing. Hard Target was Woo's 1st American Movie and he went to town with shit kicking action scenes. Then he made the masterfull FaceOff. Then he lost everything that made him great. Hard Target also kicks ass because of the always superb Henriksen as a cracking main villain and also Vosloo, who is fantastic in this.

  • Even thought I have liked a lot of his films besides Hard Target I thought that Sudden Death, JVCD Time Cop, Maximum Risk and Universal Soldier (esp the end fight) are some of his better movies. Granted a couple of those I haven't seen in a while. I probably should put Blood Sport in that group as well. I've only seen a couple of his movies that went DTV in the US, I remember Replicant being an ok movie. Anyway As far as the bottom of the barrel, number one for me is Cybog. Now I only seen Knock Off once (in the theater) and thought it sucked..but a lot of folks said I need to give it another shot, which I will sometime because it is Ringo Lam lol.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Time Cop was great but...

    by pumaman

    To REALLY see Van Damme just fucking SHINE , its Bloodsport that makes you wish you WERE him, or at least do the things he can do. Some major ass-kickery in that film.

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Make amends. A full retrospective on Bloodsport now please

    by Brody77

    Seriously. It's omission from any JCVD column is disgraceful. And you also go with Double Team instead of picking up on any of the many times JCVD has played his twin/earlier self on screen. (it's at least 4 times, isn't it?) For shame.