Sunday, December 30, 2012

Actor Review: Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme ("Hard Target" era)
The 80s and 90s birthed a lot of great action stars, but few were as memorable as Jean-Claude Van Damme - the high kicking, splits ripping European martial artist turned actor. Although his rise to fame came from roots in low budget fight films, eventually the actor found his way into mainstream appeal hitting the pinnacle of his career in the mid to late 90s with classics like "Timecop," "Hard Target," or "Sudden Death." Films like these showcased his charisma and fighting talents, but rarely showed a true actor able to rise above his 'action star' stereotype. That's okay though. To be honest, I love most of his work in this time period and clicking on the links below will reveal that.

Although a patchy personal life and limited role expansion lead to him being regarded as 'tough to handle' on sets, it was the demise of this golden age of action that dropped him into straight to home video obscurity in the 00s. It wasn't until he showcased a great understanding of humor and acting in the off beat drama/comedy "JCVD" in 2008 that people took notice of him again and a resurgence of his career began. As of the writing of this brief actor review, JCVD has established somewhat of a strong comeback - choosing to regain his action star motif by revisiting some classic franchises (a few strong sequels in the "Universal Soldier" series) and showcasing some scene stealing abilities as the villain in "The Expendables 2" with an all star action cast. Although I'm still out to see just how much of a true actor JCVD has become in recent years, the man is doing some of the best work of his career at this point and his future seems brighter than it has in decades - something reviewer in me is only happy to see happen.

(Last update: 12/30/12)

"Could you pass me the sugar, please?"

Selected Filmography:
*Last update: 3/31/13

1986 - No Retreat, No Surrender
1987 - Bloodsport
1988 - Black Eagle
1989 - Cyborg
1989 - Kickboxer
1990 - Death Warrant
1990 - Lionheart
1991 - Double Impact
1992 - Universal Soldier
1993 - Nowhere To Run
1993 - Hard Target
1994 - Timecop
1994 - Street Fighter
1995 - Sudden Death
1996 - Maximum Risk
1996 - The Quest
1997 - Double Team
1998 - Knock Off
1998 - Legionnaire
1999 - Universal Soldier: The Return
1999 - Desert Heat (aka Inferno)
2001 - The Order
2001 - Replicant
2002 - Derailed
2003 - In Hell
2004 - Wake Of Death
2006 - The Hard Corps
2006 - The Exam
2007 - Until Death
2008 - The Shepherd: Border Patrol
2008 - JCVD
2009 - Universal Soldier: Regeneration
2011 - Kung Fu Panda 2 (voice)
2011 - Assassination Games
2012 - Dragon Eyes
2012 - The Expendables 2
2012 - Universal Solider: Day Of Reckoning
2012 - Six Bullets

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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