Monday, February 3, 2014

Jean-Claude Van Damme: A Career Retrospective

Sumthin' for the ladies

I have two major hobbies: drinking cheap beer and watching shitty movies; two things that go together like waffles and happiness.  I’ve discussed cheap beer at length, but barely scratched the testosterone fueled surface of the wide world of shitty action movies.  To that end I will now be adding Jean-Claude Van Damme movie reviews to this blog in addition to the usual bottomshelf beer nonsense.  Why Van  Damme you ask?

I know it's shopped, but still...
Well asshole, you got some fucking nerve questioning the motives of a sophisticated writer like myself.  For the record Jean-Claude isn’t my favorite actor, but he’s certainly an actor, at least in the sense that people pay him to “act” in movies.  I’ve seen him act in more movies that any other actor in the world, beginning with the Street Fighter movie, a film I remember seeing in the theater multiple times.  I also saw Double Team in the theater and enjoyed it.  Both of those facts should give you some idea of what my tastes were like in Junior High.  I was a little late to the party but just in time to catch the tail-end of “Van-Damme fever.”  In college I turned those early positive memories into really positive memories by re-examining the career of Van Damme around the same time I took up drinking and making fun of shitty movies as a full time hobby.

Kylie Minogue as Cammy in the Street Fighter movie
And holy cow Van Damme made a lot of shitty movies.  In point of fact, I’d be hard pressed to say he ever made a good movie (in the classical meaning of the word “good.”)  Still there was something that separated Van Damme from the Dolph Lundgrens, Michael Dudikoffs, and Steven Seagals of the world.  Part of it was certainly Jean-Claude’s endearing(?) pancake batter thick accent, not to mention his mullet, and the weird knot thing growing on his head.  Part of it was his success in spite of all that stuff and his aforementioned acting ability.  I mean, a guy that had few talents beyond doing the splits and kicking people in the face was at one time worthy of a somewhat-complimentary-Simpsons joke and a guest spot on the Super Bowl episode of Friends.  A scant two years later, “the Muscles from Brussles” was making direct-to-video turdfests.  Intriguing to say the least.

The good ol' days when movies looked like shit
To answer that riddle I think it’s important to start at the beginning and work our way forward.  I won’t always be going in strict chronological order lest I get bottled-necked trying to acquire some out of print piece of shit movie, but I’ll be mixing these reviews in with my regular blog posts.  I’ll still be drinking, hell I wouldn’t recommend watching the Van Damme career library without a few drinks, or a massive amount of cocaine (to take a page out of the Van Damme playbook.)

Every time I see some dude in a Scarface t-shirt I think, "that guy is really cool, I wonder if he is also sexually obsessed with his own sister?"  

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