Back in the spotlight–Jean-Claude Van Damme

Van Damme splits trucks

If you’re a fan of early Jean-Claude Van Damme action movies then you will love this new ad from Volvo Trucks.  It’s probably the best idea anyone has had to thrust back into the spotlight an actor/martial artist who once was on the heels of becoming the next Stallone or Schwarzenegger.  Expendables 2 wasn’t enough to do it, but showing off on TVs across America the physical skill and the result of a lifetime of martial arts prowess that Van Damme used in early work like Bloodsport could be enough to get him back into big movie roles.  Van Damme just needs to find his version of Mickey Rourke’s big comeback film The Wrestler.

If you haven’t watched Van Damme movies, you’re missing out.  First, add Bloodsport and Timecop into your Netflix queue.  Some may say it is blasphemous to compare Van Damme to Bruce Lee, but if you liked Enter the Dragon you will at a minimum appreciate Van Damme’s style, passion and effort in Bloodsport.  Like Schwarzenegger, Van Damme had the European immigrant with an accent action star shtick going for him.  He had proven fighting skill outside of movies, too.  And he had a real appeal–usually playing the underdog or defending the underdog, he usually had the good guy role in his best work.

Van Damme splits in Timecop
More splits. Could you save yourself if your kitchen floor was suddenly charged with electricity? Van Damme could, and did, in Timecop.

With Timecop, you have a decent science fiction movie with the time travel hook.  Don’t compare it to RoboCop, only the titles are similar.  Here Van Damme is great at pursuing a baddie using a time ship–the special effects and story are solid, too.

Next, like a good classic Chuck Norris film–think The Octagon or Missing in Action (which actually has Van Damme in a cameo role)–check out Van Damme’s run of tough guy films Kickboxer, Lionheart, and Double Impact, all good for late night Saturday viewing.  Van Damme completists will also want to check out Cyborg and Universal Soldier, and of course, his recent role in Expendables 2.

Sure to be the subject of water cooler conversation for the next few days, watch this awesome Van Damme ad for Volvo Trucks, certain to be what Van Damme is famous for from here on:

And yes, it’s real.  And yes, even though he did the stunt with a back-up wire, it’s still one incredibly brave stunt that no one else would dare attempt.

What’s up for the guy the press called “The Muscles from Brussels”?  He’s got films in the hopper with Alfred Molina, Orlando Jones, Adam Brody, and Tom Everett Scott.  We think he’s an easy pick for one of the next Marvel superhero movies.

C.J. Bunce

Leave a Reply