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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Muscles from Brussels

Yes, the mystery man from my previous Blues Clues post is Jean-Claude Van Damme. For my What’s On? Wednesday post, I’m going to give you a week-long marathon of films to see starring the Belgian action star. Each night of the week can be spent enjoying a different film showcasing JCVD.

Start your week off with one of his earliest hits—Kick Boxer.

Out to avenge his brother’s injuries, JCVD enlists the aid of an instructor to help him master the fighting style of Muay Thai. JCVD takes on the fighter who paralyzed his brother in a deadly battle. Guess who wins?

One of the funniest things to see is the drunken dance he does in the middle of the film.

Tuesday would be the perfect time to watch a film like Hard Target. Legendary action director John Woo directed this 1993 film as his first American movie.

JCVD’s acting is really not that good in this one, but the action is over the top. Yancy Butler hires JCVD’s out-of-work to help find her father. What she didn’t know was that her father was in a high-stakes gamble with his life in a “Most Dangerous Game” type competition with himself as the prey. His other co-star: His mullet!

Two action stars were needed for Universal Soldier.

My pick for a Wednesday viewing starred JCVD with Dolph Lundgren. They play two Vietnam soldiers who killed each other and were re-animated in the future to be an elite special forces unit. They have no memories of their previous lives until JCVD starts remembering and begins to unravel what’s been done to him and must face off against his former enemy, Dolph. Great action and gratuitous butt shots.

JCVD’s highest grossing film is my pick for Thursday. Timecop is a futuristic tale where criminals travel in time to steal or kill and it’s up to JCVD to bring these foes to justice.

JCVD is known for his splits in fight scenes or the occasional training montage, but this film had the best use of his splits. As a thug was shooting a taser gun at him, he jumped to the counter to avoid the shot, letting the tasers hit the water that was spilled on the floor. The resulting shock took down the thug and JCVD was back on the case.

My Friday pick is the best of the JCVD vehicles, Replicant.

Michael Rooker plays a cop trying to catch a serial killer played by JCVD.

A secret government project has cloned the killer and this “replicant” (also played by JCVD) has a telepathic link to the killer as well as some memories.

This isn’t the only time JCVD has had a dual role. He has played against himself in five films (Double Impact, Timecop, Maximum Risk, The Order and Replicant). I guess they were thinking that “If you like JCVD, you’ll like him twice as much”.

Saturday’s pick is a video game come to life. Street Fighter is a fun movie with cartoon-like action.

JCVD plays the All-American Col. Guile in a story based on the Street Fighter II video game.

Raul Julia gives his last performance as Gen. Bison and while I like Raul in a lot of movies, his acting in this is too much. He plays every line so over-the-top it can’t really be considered camp.

Pop sensation Kylie Minogue and actress Ming-Na are fun to see in action roles they are not normally noted for.

Let’s slow down (but not much) for Sunday with the action/drama featuring JCVD in old age make-up. The Quest is another story along the lines of Kick Boxer that centers on JCVD flashbacks to a Muay Thai competition.

Not the best in the bunch, but notable for featuring Roger Moore. What was he doing in this film? Maybe he needed a new car or make a payment on his house.

Well, have fun with these Van Damme films and if you get a chance to see JCVD, the film where he plays himself, let me know how it is. I’ve been curious to see if he can play himself or if his acting still bad. Just not wanting to waste the rental.

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