Vern Throws A Kick At JCVD!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

By now, you most likely know what this is, and wheter or not you’re interested in it. I’m thrilled Vern got a chance to check it out, though, and if there’s any review of it I’ve been waiting to read, it’s this one.

This is one of those things that almost seems too good to really exist. Did a talented French director really convince Jean-Claude Van Damme to play himself in an arty hostage thriller, giving him his best production values in years, one of his best movies, and definitely the best acting performance and most personal artistic expression of his career (so far)? Okay, I can believe somebody would come up with the idea, I can sort of believe Van Damme would be interested, but it’s hard to believe that they really found the money, really made it, really executed it this good. 2008, I love you.

This is the story of Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Claude Van Damme), an action star getting too old to do long takes and depressed because he’s in a losing battle for custody of his daughter. The worst part: his daughter says she doesn’t want to live with him because everybody makes fun of her every time he’s on TV.

JCVDJean-Claude goes home to Brussels, where he plans to stay with his parents and get his life back together. But he needs to get some money to send to his lawyers and just happens to choose a bank that’s in the middle of being robbed. So the thieves take him hostage, but instead of seeing him as a threat like they might in most action movies they just think this is surreal – holy shit, that’s Jean-Claude Van Damme! One guy in particular is excited and gets him to kick a cigarette out of a guy’s mouth. I mean, what would you do if you had Jean-Claude Van Damme hostage? I wonder why he didn’t try to get him to do the splits on a wall like he did in CYBORG?

The feel is more art movie than Van Damme, at times it’s even kind of pretentious, which you gotta kind of appreciate in a Van Damme movie. Never thought you’d be able to accuse him of being pretentious. The storytelling is very confident, bordering on cocky, some good non-linear tricks and unfolding the story from different perspectives. The soundtrack is nice and soulful, lots of horns used in the score, a throwback to action movies from the pre-Van Damme era.

As you’ve probaly seen or heard, Van Damme is mistaken as the one robbing the bank, and a crowd forms outside to cheer him on. I’m not sure what this DOG DAY AFTERNOON element of the story is supposed to be saying exactly, but it shows how despite the “washed up” status of a guy like Van Damme there are still people who want to root for him. It might be harder to find them here in the US but I completely believe that he is a hero in Belgium as “the guy who left this shithole” as they say in the movie. And that’s exactly what makes this a great movie for Van Damme: it’s one that only he could’ve ever done. As you know I’m more into the Seagal pictures than the Van Dammes, but that’s the reason why: he developed his own style, he made his movies personal and weird, he made movies that couldn’t have really been recast as Van Damme movies or done legit with Matt Damon or somebody.

And now Van Damme has done that in spades. The movie is fun because of this idea of seeing the life of an aging action star, but the things that really make it great are specific to his life and his movie persona. I don’t think he’s really had a custody battle, but everything else pretty much comes from his life. There’s a great scene that almost seems like it could’ve come from a documentary where he argues with his agent about the movies he’s up for. He can get lots of money but he can’t get a role that makes him happy – he wants to take less money for a studio role (he supposedly did JCVD for free).

The part that surprised me most (SPOILER) almost seems like a gimmick out of a Spike Lee movie: suddenly Van Damme floats up above the bank, showing that it’s a set. He looks directly into the camera and for several minutes does a heartfelt monologue talking to his fans about his career, his womanizing, his drug problems, his love of karate. Now, alot of non-action fans will claim this is Van Damme’s first real acting performance. If you’ve watched a bunch of his DTV shit though you know he’s been trying, for example he was good as a junkie scumbag in UNTIL DEATH. But this is a better movie and a better performance. It turns out he’s way more likable when speaking in his native tongue and (I’m guessing) getting to improvise more. And you know what, I knew Van Damme wanted to be a real actor but I didn’t know he’d get the chance to do a monologue about not feeling he deserves his success. I didn’t think I’d see him cry real tears on film. He even talks about things in his personal life I never knew he got shit about. Some of his defenses aren’t exactly convincing, but the fact that he’s baring his soul like that puts you on his side.

Holy shit, this is a real movie! They really made this!

This is a miracle of a movie but to be honest I don’t think it’s the action fan’s dream you might expect. There’s only one serious action sequence, the classic opening set to Baby Huey’s “Hard Times.” Van Damme is filming a war movie and it’s a CHILDREN OF MEN style continuous shot. Man, I only wish he was doing movies like that these days. The only thing that shot has in common with his real movies is the crappy skipped frames and the director who doesn’t seem to be paying attention.

There’s a scene where a lawyer lists off acts of violence in Van Damme’s movies – hopefully somebody who knows his filmography better than me can tell me if those are specific references or not. But I don’t get the impression director Mabrouk El Mechri has an undying love for action genre, just a European’s admiration for Van Damme. In the movie Van Damme talks about his movies with embarrassment, the fictional movies they mention don’t seem very believable, and my apologies but it is my duty as the author of SEAGALOGY to point out that the Seagal running joke doesn’t make sense (it has to do with him cutting off his ponytail for the first time, but he doesn’t actually have one in many movies including some of the more iconic ones like UNDER SIEGE and ABOVE THE LAW.) There’s some funny discussion of John Woo, which I loved, but it made me wonder if El Mechri would only admit to watching a John Woo movie and not, say, a Sheldon Lettich.

I don’t really take offense though because the movie clearly presents Van Damme as an underdog character for you to root for, and I respect that it’s not a comedy. The laughs it gets out of worshipful fans are relatable, not mean-spirited. You get a kick out of seeing some dudes from a video store freak out over seeing Van Damme cross the street. Shit, that’s how I felt when I saw Seagal playing guitar. But it’s too bad El Mechri isn’t more of an action fanatic, because the one thing that would take this from an A to an A+ would be a kickass action setpiece at the climax. We’ve seen what he did on the set, we’ve seen the cigarette trick, and after the monologue we know what he has to prove to himself. It’s the perfect setup for the mechanics of a serious action movie to kick in. And then they don’t.

But oh well, this is still a very unique and entertaining movie and I’m thankful for its unlikely existence.

–Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39221

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:09 p.m. CST

    Sounds really cool

    by david26

    Looking forward to it.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Really good

    by Power_Girl

    Can’t wait for this one.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:15 p.m. CST

    I’ve been waiting for this review.

    by Gwai Lo

    Nicely done.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:30 p.m. CST

    why a Mori article for a Vern review?

    by the milf lover

    doesnt really make sense… <p>

    other than that, I dont care to see this but nice review.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:32 p.m. CST

    JCVD sounds like a new movie disc format not a movie title

    by eoneon

    so is this this movie serious? or is it a movie making fun of JCVD movies? I’ll pass,although sounds like an original concept

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Yeah

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    I really want to see this

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:42 p.m. CST

    How To Review

    by catlettuce4

    Try stay on fucking topic for a full paragraph when discussing a movie. Seriously AICN, take some ritalin before you touch the keyboard.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST

    JCVD kicking Iceburg’s ass was artsy

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    He should come back to town and pour a ten gallon drum of Whoop-Ass on Steely McBeam. Sports mascots have no place in Pittsburgh.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Saw it 3 days ago

    by m_reporter

    Here in NYC, it’s showing in the Village East in East Village (duh!). <p> The movie kicked my ass, didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. Van Damme actually gives a great and heartbreaking performance. <p> It’s one of the best films I saw so far this year, and I wonder if the academy has the balls to consider it for the best foreign film Oscar.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Face it Van Damme. Fame is fleeting.

    by HellKing

    I just saw it over the weenkend and I would say it was good except for all the parts where Jean Claude is obviously blaming Hollywood. The discussion about John Woo I’ve heard before from Jean Clade’s mouth. So that’s his personal feelings not the director’s. Why would he be so upset at John Woo when he takes a shot at Windtalkers as an example of how bad of a director he is. YOu can say John Woo experienced the same thing in his experience with Hollywood yet you don’t see Woo complaining to the public about it. Woo obviously has always been a bad director so why so upset at John Woo? The movie would’ve been great if JCVD made fun of himself instead of using it to complain about Hollywood.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 9:04 p.m. CST

    err, wait….NO action?!! WTF?!!

    by Mike_D

    wake me when “MY NAME IS BRUCE” hits dvd.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Jean Claude Van Damme is a shitty actor and all of his movies su

    by Continentalop

    Which is exactly why I want to see JVCD. I have hated every Van Damme movie I have seen – I find them and the characters he plays as stupid, juvenile and just plain retarded. But I will give him props for making a film that I can’t wait to see. <p>

    Whether you like his movies or hate them (and I am obviously on the hate side) there is much to be admired about a man so willing to go out on a limb and mock his image and himself. I mean, how people do you know who were or are stars are willing to go out there and say, “Yeah, I made some bad career decisions and I am now pretty much a joke”. Sure, Sly has made fun of himself but only half-heartedly – he never has done anything that resembles this mea culpa. And could you ever imagine Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal or even Jason Stratham willing to poke fun or tarnish his own images as much as this guy has with this movie. Hell, Seagal won’t even try acting – he’s been playing the same part in all his movies. <p>

    Besides, Van Damme seems like the cooler guy. Sure, he has done some douchebag stuff in the past (just ask Chuck Zito or Dolph Lundgren) but nothing compared to Seagal. Out here in Hollywood one of the best gigs is director for a Seagal movie. The bond companies won’t let Seagal direct so they have to hire a director who gets a guaranteed 10 weeks worth of pay. Come around week 3 or 4 Seagal finds a reason to fire him and take over production, and that director gets 6 or 7 weeks of paid vacation. I have heard of directors planning vacation by week 6 of production. Plus there is also that Gene Lebell story involving Seagal.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Someone give this movie to Neill Cumpston

    by geemenblue

    We all need to hear what he has to say.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST

    More interested in Lundgren’s COMMAND PERFORMANCE!

    by Stuntcock Mike

    I’ll check this one out though.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST

    And what’s with the Dingbat Stacy London’s ad

    by Stuntcock Mike

    on our beloved site?

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 10:07 p.m. CST

    They should make a movie

    by Mr. Lahey

    about Chuck Zito knocking JCVD the fuck out. Google it if you’re unfamiliar. Brings a tear to my eye everytime.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Bad Review, Good Movie…

    by Mr. N

    …Why talk about what a movie should do? It’s only what it is. I agree that making suggestions is fine and dandy but this movie was surprising, emotive and beautiful (though the washed-out look was overdone and made some subtitles hard to read). Vern, you take away from it by imagining your own ending. This is the most unique movie I’ve seen covering Hollywood in any way, shape or form. Love it for that, not what it could be.

  • Nov. 24, 2008, 11:38 p.m. CST

    2008

    by watch_the_world_burn

    Mickey Rourke and Van Damme prove they can actually act! I lived in Bruxelles for a year and (a) it is a shithole, and (b) those folks sure do love them some JCVD – everyone I met mentioned him at some point. Dissapointed I never ran into him on the street. Of course, he was probably in the US making some piece of shit.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 12:24 a.m. CST

    When the hell can i see it?

    by BatPsycho

    i cant find it anywhere around me or online. this blows!!!

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 12:41 a.m. CST

    Yeah, he doesn’t kick ass at the end?

    by sonnyfern

    I figured at the end they’d give him a big action scene to kick everyone’s ass in. I’m kind of dissapointed now…

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Sounds nice but AVATAR will be fucking our eyeballs in 2009!!!

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    And nothing else matters.<p>Kudos to JCVD though.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:18 a.m. CST

    thanks fellas

    by Vern

    HELLKING: Was that a typo or did you really mean to say “John Woo has obviously always been a bad director”? Did you not scroll down far enough on IMDB to get to THE KILLER, BULLET IN THE HEAD and fucking HARD BOILED? You need some serious re-evaluating there. I didn’t take the John Woo jokes as a serious attack. It was just something people kept saying to Van Damme, giving him credit for bringing John Woo to the US. (Which is actually a bad thing because it ruined Woo’s movies.) Van Damme’s character even stands up for Woo by saying “At least he did FACE/OFF.” I liked the Woo jokes because I agreed – Van Damme did kind of bring Woo to the US, FACE/OFF *was* good, WINDTALKERS *is* terrible.<p>

    MR. N: What do you mean? I loved the movie, I never grade movies but in this case I said it was an A. I discussed the lack of true action movie love because it’s my area of expertise and because writers who are not as into the genre have been portraying it like a love letter to action fans. I do think that would’ve made it even better but I think I made it clear that I loved it. Just like I know you loved it even though you criticized the photography and subtitles in your post.<p>

    BATPSYCHO: http://www.jcvd-themovie.com/theaters.html

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:28 a.m. CST

    Great review, Vern, but…

    by FatPaul

    I’ve gotta disagree with you about the ending. Personally, if they’d ended the movie with a big action sequence, I would have been disappointed. One of the things I really like about the movie is that they put Van Damme in this action movie scenario, the classic bank robbery/hostage thing, but they had him deal with it like a regular person instead of an action star. He saves some people, and he gets to use his martial arts skills, but he’s mostly just doing what anybody would try to do in that situation.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:31 a.m. CST

    cattle lettuce

    by Vern

    I don’t know who you are, but I will take you at your word that your way of reviewing movies is better than mine. If I could ask you a favor bud please send me a detailed explanation of all the great ideas you have about how bad my paragraphs are and how I can “try stay on fucking topic.” I would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your wise advice and I am literally begging you for more. Thank you soooo much for helping me out with this man you don’t know how much it means to me, my family and to this whole community and proud nation. Especially in this day and age it is real hard to get some anonymous knowitall on the internet to send you vague, unsolicited criticism, especially in the prickish tone that you have so generously donated. It brings tears to my eyes to find such a selfless and, I must say, courageous and downright heroic master of the written arts as you to swoop down and rescue me from the tyranny of the writing style I have developed over many years. So you are doing me a HUGE favor on this one I owe you BIG TIME buddy. thanks in advance.<p>

    with the sincerest gratitude imaginable,<p>

    your friend for always and ever,<p> in your debt, I love you, you have changed my life and the life of thousands like me,<p> Vern.<p>

    p.s. go ahead and rewrite this post for me also since you would do it way better.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:37 a.m. CST

    Fat Paul

    by Vern

    I don’t know. The tone of the movie to me doesn’t play as realistic, even if it is more realistic than HARD TARGET. I don’t think the way the movie does end is realistic at all, but I like the fantasy idea of how this particular place I won’t name is a way for him to be away from Hollywood and get his life back together. And the tone of the movie even from the opening scene is pretty cartoonish and exaggerated. That’s why I didn’t think an action scene would be out of place. But I see your point and you may be right.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 4:59 a.m. CST

    Geemenblue, here is Neill Cumpston’s review:

    by DerLanghaarige

    Blabla shit fuck pussypussypussy popculture popculture pussy fuckfuckfuckfuck popculture popculture popculture pussy fuck shit blablabla pussy blabla shit fuck bla popculture pussy.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Mickey Rourke and Van Damme

    by r3write

    should team up after their big encores as washed up has beens and make an action movie that will not only be a return to what the genre used to be, but while itself revealing honest human drama with cries for success. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, produced by Darren Aronofsky, cameo appearance by soon to be reality host/sheriff Steven Seagal and occasional action packed scenes featuring bowflex texas ranger chuck norris! choreographed by thailand stuntmen

    THE EXPENDABLES, fucking your eyeballs and michael bay right after AVATAR is done with 2009

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Saw it a couple of weeks ago

    by Drunken Rage

    And thought it was very good. One thing that’s annoying as hell, though, is the hot lighting that is in every interior shot. I’m not sure what the hell that was supposed to mean or do, but it was very stylized and very garish and very, very annoying. I took a friend to see it who has never seen a JCVD (or Seagal, for that matter) movie and she enjoyed it for what it was, regardless of the movie’s meta-criticism and self-reference. I’ll see it again– and Vern, you’re right, the scene with his agent is terrific.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:37 a.m. CST

    catlettuce4

    by just pillow talk

    You’re awesome.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    America didn’t ruin John Woo

    by Spandau Belly

    He just tried to get out of his signature style and do regular WW2 and cookie cutter sci-fi movies and we all realized he can’t make entertaining movies without guys diving sideways firing two giant pistols and doves etc. He’s a one trick pony, and it’s a good trick, so he should go back to doing it. But not in some goofy self-mocking way like that Shoot ‘Em Up nonsense, get him to work with Statham. John Woo’s Transporter 4 would be a welcome arrival for me.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    this sounds pretty interesting….

    by just pillow talk

    I’m glad to see Jean Claude had it in him to throw something like this up on the screen. <p>But everything pales in comparison to Cyborg. It’s true. If I recall, it was due to the phenomenal music. Phenomenal. Really.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Does anyone actually DISLIKE VanDamme’s classics?

    by NEUR0M4NCER

    As far as I can tell, the BIGGEST problem anyone has with VanDamme (and his peers) is that they ‘don’t make ‘em like they used to’…

    <br><br>

    Given that, it’s easy to see why JCVD should be able to clean up, financially speaking. Unless something drastic happens, we’re NEVER going to get to see another Kickboxer or UniSol (well… not *really*), so this film keeps the franchise name alive. We can hope that renewed interest in action stars will spur on a renaissance… but I doubt it.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 8:09 a.m. CST

    … and as everyone’s chiming in with a comment on the review:

    by NEUR0M4NCER

    Worked just fine for me Vern. When I want a considered evaluation of a movie in the global marketplace, i’ll go buy ‘Sight & Sound’ – if I want to know what someone who geeks out over similar things thinks about a movie, i’ll come here (remembering to stay away from Harry’s reviews).

    <br><br>

    Thanks for the insight Vern.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST

    One thing you must know is

    by TheManBehindTheMask

    that in france JCVD really had huge problems with his TV appearances (don’t know in the others countries). For years and years he made long nonsens speaches under cocaine (half in french, half in english most of the time) Everybody laughed at him, even books of his “best words” were published. So this movie was a way to redeem himself. I did not watch it when it was realised here though.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    holy crap, Vern

    by ArcadianDS

    “I don’t know who you are, but I will take you at your word that your way of reviewing movies is better than mine. If I could ask you a favor bud please send me a detailed explanation of all the great ideas you have about how bad my paragraphs are and how I can “try stay on fucking topic.” I would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your wise advice and I am literally begging you for more. Thank you soooo much for helping me out with this man you don’t know how much it means to me, my family and to this whole community and proud nation. Especially in this day and age it is real hard to get some anonymous knowitall on the internet to send you vague, unsolicited criticism, especially in the prickish tone that you have so generously donated. It brings tears to my eyes to find such a selfless and, I must say, courageous and downright heroic master of the written arts as you to swoop down and rescue me from the tyranny of the writing style I have developed over many years. So you are doing me a HUGE favor on this one I owe you BIG TIME buddy. thanks in advance.”<p>

    H E A D S H O T!

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    regarding one comment in the review

    by ArcadianDS

    where Vern seemed surprised at the ‘heroes welcome’ JCVD got on the streets….<p>

    This street, it was in Belgium, correct? I imagine that Belgium isn’t exactly the Hollywood Boulevard of Europe, and JCVD is probably considered their First Son. IRL, I imagine he gets much the same treatment, albeit not quite as over-the-top as depicted in the movie. The tone of this film strikes me as “lampooned reality” where its mostly trying to be a reality film while taking snipe shots at reality itself at the same time.<p>

    I think JCVD has a very good method when it comes to drama, but that his film choices never really allowed him to explore that. I’d love to see him in a purely dramatic role – I bet he would be awesome. He’s like the Antonio Banderas of Belgium.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 12:46 p.m. CST

    TheManBehindTheMask/Arcadian

    by Vern

    MAN: Thanks for posting that. The movie actually deals with that and has some crazy interviews (not sure if they’re real footage or re-enacted) but I didn’t know that history so I wasn’t sure if they just translated poorly or what the deal was. It’s good to know that was one of his problems and explains specifically what the daughter was embarrassed about.<p>

    ARCADIAN: Like I mentioned in the review there’s one called UNTIL DEATH where he gets to do a pretty good performance. He’s a cop who’s hooked on heroin and hookers even though he’s married. Then he gets put in a coma, wakes up and tries to straighten his life out. The villain is played by Stephen Rea and it does have those cop movie elements but the story’s mainly about him recovering from a disability and trying to redeem himself for the things he’s done. Not a great movie but an interesting role to see him play.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST

    the x-men films…

    by GavinVanDraven

    could have been a huge comeback for JCVD in a supporting role. he would have made a perfect Gambit… didn’t anybody call him?

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:17 p.m. CST

    This movie was all types of awesome.

    by InstantClassic

    Me and the girlfriend saw it on Saturday night. It hits every level it aims for pretty much perfectly. Works as a drama, comedy, self parody. It’s really a great film going experience. And I’m pretty sure it’s safe on my list of top 10 of the year.

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Vern is the best reviewer at aicn

    by johnnyangelheart

    in my humble opinion. But what everyone wants to know about JCVD, did Cletus Van Damme make a special guest appearance? Or will he have his own CVD coming out soon?

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:09 p.m. CST

    CAN’T. WAIT. TO. WATCH. THIS.

    by PTSDPete

    Must. Watch. Now.

    Where. Can. I. Watch. This?

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 9 p.m. CST

    not an action movie, but fun and i enjoyed it alot..

    by theneonsamurai

    .. i hope it opens up some better projects for van damme

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 9:02 p.m. CST

    can’t wait for the remake! SNIPES!

    by theneonsamurai

    with the tax evasion angle they’d hardly have to rewrite it!

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Vern, I was being sarcastic of the contradiction.

    by HellKing

    Really if Woo was as bad of director as Windtalkers as discussed in JCVD, why would he have some sort of grudge against Woo in the first place? Like I said before, I’ve heard about this take from Jean Claude about John Woo before. So that comment was a shot at John Woo for what? John Woo not giving Jean Claude a leading role in Face-Off like mentioned in the movie? John Woo probably wasn’t in a position to make that decision in the first place. Did Jean Claude expect John Woo to be indebted to him with the false assumption that he discovered John Woo before anyone else. John Woo was already bringing in the cult fans before Hard Target. Jean Claude Van Damme didn’t discover John Woo. ANd what I heard about that movie was Jean Claude’s notorious ego during the filmimg of that movie taking over the production. So if Hollywood producers were wanting John Woo to direct, it wasn’t because of Hard Target. So Jean Claude has no claim to John Woo’s success. So that part in the movie was sour grapes more than Jean Claude stating John Woo was a bad director.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 4:35 a.m. CST

    JCVD/WOO

    by Munro Kelly

    I don’t know who had the final say but I thought it would have been great, for Jean Claude, to have played the villian in Rush Hour 3. If John Woo wants to leave action movies behind, I think he should go out with a bang. Either a sequel to Hard Target or Hard Boiled. They can base the sequel off the video game Stranglehold. Either way, it would be like a book end. The End of his Hong Kong career, the beginning of Hollywood filmmaking.

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    A JCVD that made folks cry?

    by orcus

    Was he punching folks in the balls while in the theater?

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST

    a JCVD movie that is

    by orcus

    Orcus goes into hibernation for a bit and comes out all kinds of screwy

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 at 8:01 am and is filed under AICN, Documentary, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

65 Responses to “Vern Throws A Kick At JCVD!!”

  1. no comments, really?
    watched this last night. really enjoyed it.

  2. Just saw this. It didn’t really work for me. After the “floating up” scene I kinda wish we got more of that–or if that part was completely honest. It might’ve been halfway, or to an extent, but then we go back to the movie never to hear about it again or get anything more like that.

    An ‘A’ for doing something different, but the grade for the film itself would have to be much lower.

  3. He did really have a custody battle, and lost, but it was for his second son, not his daughter.

  4. I just watched it and I gotta admit that it didn’t really work for me. I love the idea, the cinematography is beautiful and I appreciate that this plays more like a serious drama than “My Name Is Bruce” or the episode of “Extras”, where a celebrity plays a cartoony caricature of himself. (What episode was it again? Oh yes, I forgot. ALL OF THEM!)
    The problem is just, that it takes itself too serious and the corny monologue makes everything worse. In the end I seriously had no idea why this movie was even made. It’s like they all fell in love with the idea of making a serious, but post-modern movie about a has-been (sorry), but when they started filming, they forgot to think further. So they let van Damme apologize to everybody for his career. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t know anybody who cares enough for him, to watch a movie where he apologizes to people, whose lives aren’t affected by anything he did. (This sounds harsher than I mean it.)
    It’s not really a bad movie, it’s just…pointless. Thank you for trying this experiment, but it didn’t work.

  5. I didn’t dislike it as much as you did, CJ, but this was definitely one of the most over-rated movies of last year. I did think Van Damme was great, and that monologue was incredible to me (how much of it was actually ACTING though is questionable), but i did notice once the sheen and good reviews wore off, more and more people catching it now on DVD are like “man, this movie’s kinda bad”. Let’s be honest – the Pulp Fiction-style time slice thing KILLS this movie. Anyone with half a brain could fill in the scenes they skipped over, but for some reason the movie feels like spelling out every single plot point ever and coming back, showing us the missing scenes in excruciating detail. It’s like if Reservoir Dogs stopped dead for 20 minutes to show exactly how Michael Madsen grabbed the cop and then ordered that fast food drink – we don’t need to see it. Van Damme tried his Damme-est (sorry), but one great performance (#2 of 2009 behind Ledger, according to Time) does not a good movie make.

  6. MOTHERfuckers. Fuck all you cunts here. I fucking just watched this and I cried like a baby during that monologue. FUCK ME ARE YOU FUCKING DEAD???. How much it fucking hurts to see people call this THIS movie pointless. Man, fucking horrors, I works 10-14 hours a day as a victim support counsellor so i accept im probably fucked myself more than most in ruining these genres but this movie – this monologue – were in a different genre, not action but fucking humanist.

    Any cunt who didn’t frucking feel this monologue is not someone who I would want to know. FUCK ME, I watched the monologue a second time at end and astill cried like a baby. This is straight after watching Fighting and then Trick ‘R Treat mind you. Two better than average movies and good – blessedly good, experiences for me on a day off, before JCVD. Thanks Vern – this is why you fucking matter to me and why I fucked hate your community that in all reality I am part of since i read every fucking cunt losers comments till today when I’m seriously pissed off. 266+ comments for horror movie suggestions pumping egos but 5 comments for this mvoie review. TBH I stopped watching VD at The Order but this review gave me back JCVD prompting me to try. Not to give Vern bonus shit either but fuck me, just to say 5 comments – fuck this place. Fucking that was the most genuinely powerful actror monologue in history and here it get two lots of “didn’t really work for me” FUCK YOU CUNTS AND FUCK EVERY CUNT WHO DIDNT COMMENT. FUCKING DEAD SHIT FUCKERS.

    That’s all I have to say about that. That aside, great motherfucking night of entertainment if you want to treat yourself. Fighting, Trick R’ Treat and JCVD in that order. Fuck me I want to to cry again just remembering JCVD. Fuck you fucking arty dipshit faggots. FUCK. 5 comments vs 266 ego comments. FUCK U ALL

  7. Hey man, I think you’re going a little overboard here (the reason there are so few comments on this review is because it was posted before the sight allowed comments), but I understand your pain over the dismissive reception this movie got. I saw it in the theater and I damn-near teared up during the monologue, even though the white subtitles were barely legible on the screen. If you’re interested in reading my thoughts on the film, click on my name and look for Mr. Majestyk’s reviews on the sidebar of the website. I barely got any comments, either. Maybe together we can start the healing.

  8. yes, armageddon dude– settle down, it’ll be ok! no need for all the namecalling. i really loved jcvd. i laughed, i cried, etc etc. it was fabulous and i recommended it to my friends. but i also don’t mind if other people didn’t like it.

  9. Hiya dude, okay I read your review and it was hard to read. Partly because my best friend’s is Mr Majestic and by coincidence is one of the smartest writers on the planet, but partly because you just don’t have the style yet (in THAT review – i havn’t read rest). That aside, I caught you sentiments through the review and sincerely appreciated what you were trying to say. Just you unfortunately lacked the compentence to say it in an entertaining style. That’s not quite right either. Let me thnk about you for 10 minutes…. Okay, Mr Majestic – I realise that – given 3 beers and a table, you and I would get along famously. Given ink and some time – you are too liberal with your thoughts. You gotta narrow it all down – not like Vernsey – that’s his thing, it’s never gonnna be yours, I mean you have comments to make that are valid but spend too long makin em. Simply comes down to sentence volume in your case, narrow it down and as a direct result you will be a stronger writer and more entertaining to read and more worth commentry response.

    That is just opinion so I hope you read it as nothing more than one guy – one Australian guy – one FUBAR Australian guy at that – opinion. People – I mean real people- tell me to fuck off all the time. Just suggesting you meander about too much when it’s immediately clear yo9u have something to say – just say it. Stand by it – and fuck any cunt who don’t like it, unless you wannna join the ranks of unrecognisable nobodiy reviewers in which case that is the sure way to become respected = yet not actually liked (in which case for myself, I may as well become a telemarketer if comparing trades).

    Appreciate your views. They are irrelevent to my dissatifcation only because or your lack of popularity. I hope that changes for you! Good luck Mr M, till then, fuck this community and their lack of JCVD response. I’m stil lfucking pissed off. Really fucking pissed off. Man fuck this, I’m gonna watch again right now for a third time- unprecedented!

  10. Wow. And I thought I was an insufferable ass.

  11. he needs to go chillax somewhere and sober up

  12. Fair enough. Unfortunate reponse to read, but fair totally enough. That’s not less than what I expected, no no even more – congrats (I say that expclicity to say good luck with your non-existant career that i’d have loved to have helped at the most marginal level and devoted 25 minutes of my time to help but can see will never happen for reasons of life”. Anyways:

    “But… it’s all there. It’s all there. It was really tough. I saw people worse off than me. I went from poor to rich and thought, why aren’t we all like me, why all the privileges? I’m just a regular guy. It makes me sick to see people… who don’t have what I’ve got. Knowing that they have qualities, too. Much more than I do! It’s not my fault if I was cut out to be a star. I asked for it. I asked for it, really believed in it.
    When you’re 13, you believe in your dream. Well it came true for me. But I still ask myself today what I’ve done on this Earth. Nothing! I’ve done nothing!”

    I am putting this up solely for people who have not yet watched JCVD. Those parts are THE most powerful of the monologue, and stand on their own literary strength. If these lines inspire anyone, then they will have to watch JCVD and get the benefits – and if not then neither them nor anyone here has lost a thing.

  13. Guys, just ignore Armageddon. He’s the guy Vern almost banned, despite Vern having a policy of never banning anyone. Let him have his stupid, badly spelled tirades, then he’ll wear himself out and the let the big kids go back to playing.
    I have not seen this movie, but I want to. Looked pretty good.

  14. Damn, could that sober up comment be for real? As in actually justified? It’s hard to anticipate with precision when you are really knowledgeable, and really hammered, and really pissed off. I think I have a valid pint, and point even, so I say fuck you all and stand by my reaction. But am prepared to be deleted and proved wrong by Vern as well/ May the best and most correctists attitude wins. Fuck you Mr M and Twynkletoes. You may both be my bitches. All heil Van Dammage and a new reign of… real narration?

    *I kill myself. The end. Ta.

  15. I can’t tear my eyes away from this slow-motion train wreck. I pity my Australian non-union equivilant who has to hang out with this blowhard.

  16. The guy Vern ‘almost banned’ lol. What an impressive title. If I genuinely sound like I’m here to piss Vern off – of all people – I will ban myself this minute. Sad as it sounds, I’m a really smart and really ultra responsible guy who started out not unlike Vern and who fucking reallly really loves movies and serious talkback about this world and this life and any ideas in between. If anyone has a problem with that, fuck you pussies, I’m the first guy outta here. Vern just has to say fuck off and I’ll never even smell bad here again. It’s just another opinion, albeit emphasised.

  17. this is all entertaining me way more than it should.

  18. What, exactly, is your controversial dissenting opinion? That we’re all faggots? Twynk and I were AGREEING with you about JCVD, you ass. We extended an olive branch like when Vern watched Bad Boys II, but you just turned around and shat on us. You seriously fucking suck, dude. Fact.

  19. There’s a surprise lol. For the record, I didnt cry the fourth time, and i squarely blame that on Mr T and Mrs M. Best to your union :D

  20. ok, so he’s saying he watched it again during the span of all this rigamarole, and that he didn’t cry and its our fault because we agreed the movie was good and that ruined it for him? what? he’s so funny.

  21. “I’m a really smart and really ultra responsible guy”

    No offense dude but you are obviously nothing of the sort.

    Your “comments”, and i hesitate to call them that they resemble more of a rambling, are full of insults, horrible grammar, and half-thoughts.

    You proved to me you are beyond redemption when Mr. M pointed out, quite politely, that the lack of comments for this title was due to the fact that user comments simply weren’t allowed when this was originally posted. Your response? FUCK CUNT FUCK CUNT SHIT FIGHTINF TRICK R TEEAT!

    If you cant behave like an adult why dont you just drag your ass back to AICN.

    YOU=DO NOT WANT

  22. lol. My review of your review was a prettier olive branch. I’m saying I didn’t ask for or want or remotely care about yours. Is it the concept that commenters may potentially care less about existing ‘respected’ community members the greater issue. Is it my complete disregard for your outstanding resumes – websites and all- not potentially the source for all this incomprehensible disobedience? or is it dissonance? None of that obviously relates to your sexuality. I’m just making my own inferences there. I apologise for all coincidences.

  23. guys, there is no point in actually trying to ARGUE with this guy, its apparent to all thinking creatures that he is a big dork, is probably wasted, and isn’t worth the effort. just ignore him or have some fun at his expense.

  24. So this all comes back to this weird position. Okay – so at some magical point no comments were allowable and thus and comments anyone makes in relation to JCVDs monologue are not reasonable because they are not made in full light of the realities in force at the time of the review.

    I get that, and it doesn’t change how pissed off I was at the time of watching JCVD’s monologue and reading 2in5 reviews here that it was unimportant to cinemra. I accepted Mr M’s statement and personal refutations, and that still doesn’t change anything. Perhaps I am retarded – I clearly from the popular community viewpoint here that is a real possibility – I’ll take that on board. Accepted – so end of story yes? No? Apparently not lmao.

  25. Well dude, I didn;t say I wasn’t wasted (‘was;tred:’ even). If you want to correct my spelling by all means, call me a dork some more. If it’s worth your time I mean. It really devalues what I have had to say about JCVDs monologue.

  26. Man, if you can’t see that you’re being a huge dick, then there’s no help for you. I offered my review because I thought you might enjoy it. You did not. Big fucking deal. That’s your prerogative. But since you lack tact and grace, you thought that gave you the right to offer me lengthy and condescending criticism that I didn’t ask for and, judging by your creative use of grammar and inability to clearly express yourself, you are not qualified to give. I won’t share my resume with you, for that would dignify your half-assed remarks. Suffice it to say that were I a religious man, I would pray for the souls of the victims you “counsel” into suicide on a daily basis.

  27. lol. Impressive finale to some ‘new’ guys serious – if overzealous appreciation for JCVD’s monologue. I’m genuinely stunned! But that aside, I am actually done. Ta all. I’ll be sure to take your…whatever’s… on board for my next important earth-shattering commentry – especially if – and dare I say it, I may have imbibed some of the demon liquor while daring to make a comment about a movie I have seen. Over an out my grand master wizards. This dork will bother you no more, in this thread at least! Be blessed your princesses from faggot influence. lol, I am funny. k thx bye.

  28. You know what? I think he could have redeemed himself if he’d had the presence of mind to sign off with “Say goodbye to the bad guy.”

  29. SPOILER: AU_Armageddon is totally Vern in disguise. It’s a twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan.

  30. Not likely. But bye-bye funny dork did make for a more grand finale I thought. Pity you ruined it with your bad guy fantasies. At some point you will see how odd and unrelated to JCVD’s monologue all your arguments were, or even your dodgy link perhaps. Hopefully Vern doesn’t dare review Trick R Treat cos I’ll probably have a few ‘unwelcome’ comments to add there too.

  31. Au_Armageddon…. the interweb has been around for a long time now. I think you’re gonna have to come up with a new act tough guy.

    Why don’t you chill the fuck out and explain to me why there is only 1 comment on Vern’s Die Hard review? The fact you haven’t commented on it must make you a cunt like all the rest of us here.

    I love Die Hard, you haven’t posted on it… you’re a cunt (I guess).

    And there’s no “magic” involved with not being able to post comments on a site that didn’t previously allow it. It’s a pity you have such an irritable vagina over people not posting where you’d like.

    It looked like you were just joking at first and I thought Misters M and T were falling for your ruse. It appears I was wrong and you are simply a dipshit.

  32. i had considered that possibility. maybe yes, maybe no. if i had such a site i would create a talkback nemesis. some mysteries are best left unsolved, though, and its a whole lot more fun to take mr. armageddon man at face value.

  33. So what are you guys’ favorite Van Damme movies? I haven’t seen many, but am curious to expand my knowledge.

  34. sigh—-ok, if it makes him happy i’ll say it again–

    bye-bye dork!

  35. Man, I so have to take everything back. I was in absolute honestly, sincerely pissed off at how awesome JCVD’s monologue was and that was the only reason I dared to – nay – felt inspired to post. Vern’s honesty is indeed an inspirational factor in my life. I’m a seriously hard-working married guy with 3 kids and about the only thing I get time to do that is truly mine is watch ‘shitty’ movies. Occasionally I get to down a bottle of tequila or jack as well when I have the next day off. It’s about once per 3 months on average but fuck it’s nice to be able to drink and watch grand shitty movies and forget about how fucked humanity can be – at times. I’m not sure i will have the opportunity to post again, but it has been – in a sad way – fun on this particular night. Best to you all and, as always, endearing enduring appreciation and gratitude to Vern. Night all, sleepies time.

  36. OK.. I see this board is currently active. Fine.. just go.. no need to reply to me.

  37. fave van damme=this one. then bloodsport.

  38. I would recommend Double Impact. It doesn’t seem to get as much love as his other movies, but he gets to play two twin brothers, both of whom have Belgian accents despite being separated at birth and raised thousands of miles apart. It’s easy to tell them apart, though, because one of them smokes a stogie.

  39. Probably gonna regret this but strike that last post of mine. You maybe fooling me now but you seem capable of being an OK guy.

    out.

  40. I’ll second the DOUBLE IMPACT shout out.

  41. i think i will miss him now. that was fun. strange how much the spelling improved–nay, was made perfect– at the end.

  42. Everybody has the capacity to behave decently. It’s the decision to do so that makes us better than beasts.

    Also, Knock Off and Double Team are awesome in several different ways, a few of which involve tigers.

  43. AU_Armageddon… at first I thought that was supposed to mean “gold armageddon,” and I had a mental image of some Ron Paul supporter sitting in the basement raging against the Federal Reserve and people who aren’t wildly enthusiastic about JCVD.

    But Aussie Armageddon just sounds like a professional wrestler.

  44. Wow, who had the genius idea to summon “Demon” Dave DeFalco in the guise of a drunken Australian to this here websight? He’s my favorite intense bodybuilder of all time!!

    As far as favorite Van Damme movies go, I gotta go with our friend Mr. Pyun’s CYBORG (for pure nostalgic trash value), BLOODSPORT, HARD TARGET and of course the almost unreal DOUBLE TEAM.
    Don’t forget his groundbreaking performance as ‘Spectator in first dance sequence’ in 1984s BREAKIN’, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSc8Hvji9E0

  45. Did somebody leave the Door To Ultimate Evil open again? What did I tell you guys about that?

  46. this comparison is very unfair to dave.

  47. Well, that was different.

  48. Just saw this on TV and even though I missed the awesome CHILDREN OF MEN first ten minutes it was pretty damn good. It’s obviously not meant to be a “real” movie, it’s a commentary on fame, on JVCD himself and his persona – the washed up action star who never really made any good movies but had a cheesy career with his crazy karate faces and doing the splits. Really, the guy should have just stopped after he made “Bloodsport”, but wait a minute here. The guy was actually really really good in this movie. He looked tired as hell throughout the whole movie, the courtroom scene with his daughter ashamed of him broke my heart, you felt sorry for the guy when he was being berated by the annoying taxi driver woman, and the monologue really was very good. He rambled so much that I kind of think maybe he was ad libbing most of it. Ramblings of a washed up, drug addicted, beyond his prime C-list movie star. Imagine Seagal trying something like this, he’d probably start rambling about his imaginary CIA career or his imaginary reincarnation as a Tibetan monk or whatever, and try and actually sell it off as genuine. Bravo, JCVD.

  49. “should have quit after BLOODSPORT”

    You know that means we wouldn’t have gotten HARD TARGET and SUDDEN DEATH at least, right? And JCVD, for that matter.

    The guy certainly acted his ass off, and no “playing himself” isn’t as guaranteed easy as people make it out to be.

  50. It’s cool that they’re showing JCVD on Spike TV, but consider renting it instead because they’re showing it with the French parts dubbed into English. That’s a bad idea because to me a big part of the charm of the movie is that Van Damme is much looser and more natural when acting in his first language. Also, from the dubbed scene I saw I’m pretty sure it’s not even Van Damme’s voice.

  51. No, it’s not Van Damme in the dubbed version. I just watched the monolouge dubbed to english and it’s terrible. It does not do Van Damme justice at all.

  52. The screenwriter of JCVD is following me on twitter now.

  53. Anyone catch the JCVD reality show on Reelz? It’s pretty great. He rescues dogs. He cries over the environment and his own failings (very self critical of his still unreleased The Eagle’s Path.) Seems they were following him while shooting Assassination Games and they’re still calling it Weapon. Wonder what took so long. Did they shop it to E, Spike and OWN before settling on Reelz?

  54. Wow, I’ve had the import DVD of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS for a couple of years now. It really is a terrific show, JCVD really puts it all out there. My only question is to the chronology of events and whether he was really was bouncing around between sets for ASSASSINATION GAMES in Bulgaria and DRAGON EYES in Louisiana, all the while attending functions in Ukraine, etc.

  55. I don´t like to repeat myself, but JCVD´s megaacting in ENEMIES CLOSER is something to behold. And his hair. I´ve watched a couple of episodes of his reality show a long time ago and thought it was pretty funny. In one episode he was shooting this terribly unfunny comedy skit were he wore the most ridiculous Louis XIV-periodhair ( or something like it). He thought at first he was doing a serious part, but they didn´t tell him what it was he was suppose to be doing until he was on the actual set. That was really funny because the skit made him look real fucking silly.

  56. The hair in ENEMIES CLOSER is magnificent.

  57. Maestro Van Varenberg looks like a conductor in that hair!

  58. Van Damme’s hair was so important, it got its own trailer. Tom Everett Scott and Orlando Jones had to share one.
    But seriously though, I really enjoyed ENEMIES CLOSER. Glad to have caught it earlier this year in its limited theatrical run.

  59. Man, you caught it in the theatre? Maestro´s hair must have looked gloriously epic on the big screen

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