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Tag Archive: Jean-Claude Van Damme


Our borg.com Best of 2017 list continues today with the best in television.  If you missed it, check out our review of the Best Movies of 2017 here and the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2017 yesterday here.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Television:

Best Borg TV Series, Best TV BorgHumans (AMC). From the awakenings in the first episode of season 2, AMC’s Humans kicked in full throttle as the borg show to watch this year.  Continuing to explore what it means to be real and addressing the desire and need to overcome oppression, the show took ideas from Frankenstein and THX-1138 and everything in between to show us realities of life as a borg as it took the world from robotic cyborgs to sentience.  And this year’s best borg goes to all the Synths on the series, as each showed a different side to what a world full of cyborgs might be like.

Best Sci-fi TV Series, Best Soundtrack for TVThe Orville (Fox).   The Orville expanded on elements from across all sci-fi, like space battle sequences and planet flyovers using Star Wars-inspired camera angles (including real model ships, not just CGI), completely new and unique aliens (the only thing close to these can be found in Doctor Who), and a fantastic, triumphant musical score from Bruce Broughton.  A visually gorgeous show that took itself seriously more than trying to mock anything that came before it.  The science fiction series we’ve been waiting for since Star Trek Voyager ended.

Best Fantasy TV SeriesWynonna Earp (Syfy).  Wynonna Earp’s second season proved the first wasn’t a fluke.  The sharp-tongued, swaggering, tough-as-nails gunfighter, her sister, the sheriff, and the ghost of Doc Holliday added some new team members and some great supernatural villains, providing a series we couldn’t wait to get back to each week.  Wynonna’s handling of the Revenants and a transport back in time was even more fun while she managed her pregnancy.

Best Retro TV SeriesStranger Things (Netflix).  The only question after binge-watching the second season of Stranger Things was struggling to decide whether it was better than the first.   It had the same look and feel of its first season, but somehow the characterization was really amped up, the action more exciting, and the tension pretty much perfect.  Stranger Things really had it all–stars of our favorite 1980s movies, throwback references to video games, music, fashions, and the obscure like no other show–and with a second season that eclipsed the first, it proved it is the real deal.

After the cut, come back for more of our Best in Television 2017, including our pick for Best TV Series:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Jean-Claude Van Damme has always fallen somewhere in the shadows of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Both European actors that used their physical attributes to fight for their way to fame, somewhere the fates landed Arnold in the A-list and Jean-Claude in the B-list.  And fans of 1980s action movies should be grateful for it.  For every Arnold big-budget action blockbuster, Jean-Claude kept us happy shuffling in a few smaller films with something admittedly a bit less but always still fun.  And he kept action fans coming back to the movies, and eventually video stores, for more.  So why would we want an A-list series from Jean-Claude?  That just wouldn’t fit.

It’s not often you come across an idea that knows exactly what it’s supposed to be–not great but good, and providing exactly what it should, even if it leaves viewers hungry for more.  That’s where Jean-Claude Van Johnson comes into play, the new Amazon Prime streaming series that gives us a major dose of Jean-Claude meta-style as he portrays himself with the secret persona of being an undercover super-agent.  He’s the same Jean-Claude who hasn’t had a hit in years unless you can count his role as villain in the similar vibe of has-been tough guys in Expendables 2.  He can poke fun at himself and does so in every other scene of the new six-part half hour series showing exclusively on Amazon Prime.

But is it a limited television series or a full-on movie?  Binging the series brings in a show at around three hours, which provides one of the shortest new streaming series you can find.  Yet it feels like another Jean-Claude movie.  And that’s actually just fine for anyone who regularly turns to Bloodsport or TimeCop or Double Impact or Lionheart for fun.

The best episode ends up being the series pilot that aired last year.  Fans who assumed that the rest of the series would feature Jean-Claude playing a new role in a fake film from each episode as he outed the bad guys might be disappointed that the entire season lands Jean-Claude making the goofy action adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn as the movie-in-a-movie Huck.  But sticking with one case is what provides the feel for the series as a complete film, only divided into six episodes. But wouldn’t it be fun to see Jean-Claude in an episode of the week format in format like The Saint?

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jean claude van johnson

Sometimes you vote and your nominee wins.

That’s what we were hoping when Amazon Studios asked audiences last August what series they wanted to see move forward with a full season.  The underdog contender was a pilot called Jean-Claude Van Johnson, starring 1980s and 1990s B-movie superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme.  If you’re a fan of Van Damme, you probably would agree he has never failed to deliver a solid Van Damme action flick, whether it’s Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Lionheart, Double Impact, or TimeCop, or whether it’s Van Damme as a villainous voice on Kung Fu Panda 2, or star villain among a bunch of other “has-beens” in Expendables 2, Van Damme always delivers as promised.  We thought he did it again with a great series pilot last year.  And Amazon Studios agreed.

Amazon Studios has released a new trailer and a teaser plus a firm release date for season one–it’s available next month.

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a meta-Jean-Claude Van Damme in Jean-Claude Van Johnson.  We reviewed the incredibly fun pilot here at borg.com last year.  Jean-Claude is a retired action hero, going through the motions, living the life we would expect of this famed, otherworldly-superhero-acrobatic-martial-artist-extraordinaire known as the “Muscles from Brussels”.  He awakens to a ho-hum average day, among all the products which have licensed his name (JCVD soap, after shave, slippers, an iron statue, etc.), with the obligatory supermodel exiting his bed.  He moves on to a Ramen noodle restaurant for lunch only to encounter a lost love, played by 39-year-old ex-Weeds and Royal Pains actress Kat Foster (Van Damme is 57).  She is leaving for a gig in Bulgaria and shuns his affections.  This prompts Van Damme to visit his agent, played by Phylicia Rashad.  She has some lame (and quite funny) acting parts for him, but–no–he wants to return to his other job.  It turns out Van Damme was doing what many of us dreamed about over the years–a story where these movie tough guys were actually put to the test in real life.  That’s right, Van Damme was America’s real-life answer to James Bond.  As Johnson, Van Damme was the world’s most dangerous undercover operative.  And he’s back.

And he has plenty of disguises.

Here is the new teaser and full-length trailer for Jean-Claude Van Johnson:

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For more than six years we at borg.com have been covering entertainment memorabilia auctions–sales of not merely replicas or mass-produced collectibles, but the real objects seen on film–rare or even one-of-a-kind costumes created by award-winning Hollywood costume designers, detailed props created by production crew, model vehicles created by special effects departments like Industrial Light and Magic, prosthetics created by famous makeup artists, set decoration, concept art, and much more.  Amassing a wide variety of artifacts from classic and more recent film and television history, London and Los Angeles-based Prop Store is hosting its annual auction later this month.  Known for its consignment of some of the most well-known and iconic screen-used props and costumes, Prop Store’s ultimate museum collectibles auction will be open for bidding from anyone, and items will be available at estimates for both beginning collectors and those with deeper pockets.

The Prop Store Live Auction: Treasures from Film and Television will be auctioning off approximately 600 items.  You’ll find the following movies and TV shows represented and more:  3:10 to Yuma (2007), 300, Aliens, Back to the Future films, Blade Runner, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Chronicles of Narnia films, Elysium, Enemy Mine, Excalibur, The Fifth Element, Gladiator, The Goonies, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Jason and the Argonauts, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the Indiana Jones films, Iron Man, the James Bond films, Judge Dredd (1995), the Jurassic Park films, Kick-Ass 2, Kingsman: the Secret Service, Lifeforce, Looper, The Lost Boys, The Martian, The Matrix, Men in Black III, Mission: Impossible (1996), The Mummy (1999), Patton, Pirates of the Caribbean series, Predators, the Rocky films, Saving Private Ryan, Scarface, Serenity, Shaun of the Dead, Shawshank Redemption, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Star Trek franchise, Star Wars franchise, Starship Troopers, Superman films, Terminator films, The Three Musketeers (1993), Tropic Thunder, Troy, True Grit, Underworld: Evolution, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Willow, The Wolfman (2010), World War Z, and the X-Men films.

You can flip through the auction house’s hefty 360-page catalog, or start with a look at what we selected as the best 50 of the lots–what we predict as the most sought-after by collectors and those that represent some of fandom’s favorite sci-fi and fantasy classics and modern favorites.

  • Industrial Light and Magic 17 3/4-inch Rebel Y-Wing filming model from Return of the Jedi
  • Sark (David Warner) Grid costume from the original Tron (1982)
  • Julie Newmar’s Catwoman costume and Burgess Meredith Penguin hat from the classic Batman TV series
  • Buttercup (Robin Wright) Fire Swamp red dress from The Princess Bride
  • Chekov (Walter Koenig) “nuclear wessels” costume, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) costume, and Sulu (George Takei) double shirt from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Full crew set of costumes (Malcolm, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Inara, Kaylee, River, Book, and Simon) from Serenity (sold as individual costume lots)
  • Jack Nicholson purple Joker costume, plus separate coat and hat, from Batman (1989)
  • Enterprise-D 48-inch “pyro” model from Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Will Munny (Clint Eastwood) stunt shotgun from Unforgiven
  • Star-lord helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth) Mjolnir hammer from Thor

  • Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II jumpsuits made for Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman
  • Witch-king of Angmar crown from The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Val Kilmer Batman suit and cowl from Batman Forever
  • Maverick (Tom Cruise) flight suit from Top Gun
  • Geoffrey Rush Captain Barbossa costume from the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Curse of the Black Pearl

And there are so many more.  Like…

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jean claude van johnson

Review by C.J. Bunce

So much good television, so little time.  iZombie, Killjoys, Galavant, Thirteen, Mr. Robot, Angie Tribeca–so many new television series are trying new things and stretching the boundaries of what makes fresh entertainment.  While premium cable channels and innovative networks like Amazon Studios and Netflix keep trying, usually via tired formulas and weak attempts to shock viewers over providing any substance, nothing from those sources in the past few years has stood out as a truly great series.  Could it be content overload?  Would Daredevil and Jessica Jones have fared better if we watched them in small doses over a normal season?  In a flat era of television these might take off as great shows, but seem to be easy to pass over for something else.

Amazon Studios keeps trying and may finally have a winner.  Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle started off well and was rewarded with a second season beginning this December.  Now Amazon is launching its own Kickstarter of sorts, letting we the audience influence what series is made next, based on three pilots, including a drama with Kevin Bacon, and another superhero series featuring The Tick.  But it’s difficult to resist the third entry–a pilot called Jean-Claude Van Johnson, starring 1980s and 1990s B-movie superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme.  If you’re a fan of Van Damme, then you probably would agree he has never failed to deliver a solid Van Damme action vehicle, whether it’s Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Lionheart, Double Impact, or TimeCop, or whether it’s Van Damme as a villainous voice on Kung Fu Panda 2, or star villain among a bunch of other “has-beens” in Expendables 2, Van Damme always delivers as promised.  And he’s done it again.

Van Damme Kat Foster

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a meta-Jean-Claude Van Damme in Jean-Claude Van Johnson.  Like all those great real and fictional characters interspersed in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series of novels, Van Damme is both real and unreal.  He is a retired action hero, going through the motions, living the life we would expect of this famed, otherworldly-superhero-acrobatic-martial-artist-extraordinaire known as the “Muscles from Brussels”.  He awakens to a ho-hum average day, among all the products which have licensed his name (JCVD soap, after shave, etc.), with the obligatory supermodel exiting his bed.  He moves on to a Ramen noodle restaurant for lunch only to encounter a lost love, played by 38-year-old ex-Weeds and Royal Pains actress Kat Foster (Van Damme is 55).  She is leaving for a gig in Bulgaria and shuns his affections.  This prompts Van Damme to visit his agent, played by Phylicia Rashad.  She has some lame (and quite funny) parts for him, but–no–he wants to return to his other job.  It turns out Van Damme was doing what many of us dreamed about over the years–a story where these movie tough guys were actually put to the test in real life.  That’s right, Van Damme was America’s answer to James Bond.  And he’s back.  But audiences must make it happen.

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movies-cannon-films-logo

Review by C.J. Bunce

Some call them guilty pleasures–those films that are more bad than good, but have some quality you can’t quite identify that cements them in your own memory.  You might not admit how much you like those films, but you do, and you’d also willingly admit the quality of the film is still bad, bad, bad.  As you watch writer/director Mark Hartley’s new film about two cousins that created one of the most well-known independent B-movie film studios, I will wager you will see at least four movies from the 1980s that you’ll admit only to yourself “hey, I loved that movie.”

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films chronicles two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, successful filmmakers in their home country who took America by storm, taking over Cannon Group in 1980 and churning out more movies than any other studio, eventually releasing about a movie a week before it ran out of money.  The documentary highlights one of the studio’s defining, over-the-top and embarrassingly bad movies: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.  Cannon helped the careers of names like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren and helped propel the second phase of the careers of actors like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, and Sylvester Stallone.  The list of surprising names showing up in their films included Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis and Patrick Stewart, and Sharon Stone, but even once big names like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing could be found in a Cannon movie.

electricboogaloo

Delta Force, Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lifeforce, Hercules (with Lou Ferrigno), King Solomon’s Mines, Runaway Train, Invaders from Mars, American Ninja, Bloodsport, Cyborg, Death Warrant, Masters of the Universe, Powaqqatsi, and Superman IV, for good or bad, emerged from Golan and Globus’s years at Cannon.

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The Expendables 3

The all-star cast ensemble movie is alive and well (well maybe not “well”) thanks to The Expendables franchise.  It’s a forum for action film stars of the past to tell everyone they think they still have what it takes, whether they really do or not.  You can whistle along to the Colonel Bogey March as you check out the teaser for the third installment due out this summer, The Expendables 3.  We included it as one of our entries on our 2014 “movies to watch” list, with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren back, along with Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer–and Mel Gibson as the show’s villain.  Wait a second… once of these guys doesn’t fit the action hero mold so much. Then there is The Expendables newbie Harrison Ford. What? Is Ford taking every gig that comes along these days?

Along with plenty of extra-long action sequences you can usually find a few fun scenes between these personalities in these films.

With Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude van Damme, Mickey Rourke, and Chuck Norris in the prior outings, we’re still left wondering one question: Where the heck is Steven Seagal?

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Chuck Norris splits

Chuck Norris can’t let former film co-star Jean-Claude Van Damme monopolize the spotlight, at least that’s the myth behind the legend, as envisioned by a Hungarian animation group called Delov Digital who today released a CGI spoof of Van Damme’s Volvo ad we discussed here at borg.com last month.

Who cares if it’s not really Chuck.  He’s 73 years young, but if I were Chuck I’d start thinking about doing something like this for real.  It’s pretty funny and a great way for a small animation firm to get itself on the map.  Check it out:

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Van Damme in Enemies Closer

Jean-Claude Van Damme’s recent resurgence (because of his awesome splits stunt in a Volvo truck ad we raved about here last week at borg.com) may have prompted the studio to finally give his next film a release date.   Enemies Closer looks exactly like what you’d expect from a Van Damme movie–two bad guys try to kill each other, then have to partner up to survive being pursued by many more bad guys.  Heap on the action and add in some Van Damme one-liners.

Enemies Closer also stars genre actors Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, House, M.D., Office Space) and Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do, An American Werewolf in Paris).

Van Damme Enemies Closer

Check out the preview for Enemies Closer:

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Parker as priest

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was one of our 24 films to look for in 2013 that we previewed here at borg.com at the end of last year.  With Parker you have Jason Statham’s umpteenth role as a thief who knows how to fight.  Really, how can you go wrong?

Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, whose old friend and mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a job with a five-man crew he hasn’t worked with before, made up of Melander (The Fantastic Four I and II and The Shield’s Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Star Trek 2009’s #2 Romulan Clifton Collins Jr.).  The result is a successful crime, but the men betray him, shoot him, and leave him for dead, and the bulk of the movie is Parker’s efforts after recovery to locate and plan the ultimate revenge for the crew.

Parker_2013_Movie_Poster

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