So what’s next for Jean Claude Van Damme?
Has his exposure in this month’s ‘Expendables 2’ given new life (and theatrical interest) in the Muscles from Brussels? The 51 year-old JC has four movies currently in post production ‘Six Bullets’, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, a cameo in the British-made Sci-Fi ‘UFO’ (starring his daughter Bianca) and ‘Enemies Closer’, directed by Van Damme regular Peter Hyams and all probably headed for DVD / the rental market; but is that such a bad thing? There is, after all, a huge audience for both cinema and DVD and Van Damme is still a big draw in that arena and has been for over twenty years.
Now, I like Jean Claude, personally and professionally. I’ve met him a few times over the years and have a guilty pleasure in liking his movies. One afternoon I saw ‘Double Team’ in a theatre and there was just one girl amongst a bunch of guys sat there. That one girl was with her boyfriend and I heard him say “Why is there just guys here?”. She replied with “Well, he is a Gay icon.” It was at that precise moment that I decided to reconsider openly voicing my liking for JCVD movies. In fact, I was more than a little content when his films would be shown on TV instead of the cinema. I was alone. Nobody could see me. But hey! It’s Van Damme! He kicks ass, right?
His previous four titles and the next four prominently feature the likes of daughter Bianca Bree and son Kristopher Van Varenberg and as much as it’s nice to give your offspring a helping hand, when they’re in every movie does get tend to get a bit much and I’d say it’s time to clip their wings and let them fly and fend for themselves. The audience are there to see him, not his children.
So, in answering the question above, what’s next? The on again / off again talk of a ‘Double Sequel’ becomes stale after a while, leaving a taste of the ‘why bother?’ factor – though still, I’m keen to see what becomes of it, and will definitely slam my bum on a seat to watch it should it come to fruition. The re-boot / remake of his 1988 starring debut, the classic ‘Bloodsport’ is in development – albeit slowly – and he’s certainly expressed his desire to have a cameo in the Philip Noyce directed movie. Where was the huge martial-arts epic he once promised us in ‘Kumite’? And that Belgian Bond-esque ‘Onslaught’ sounded fun, too! Guess they fell by the wayside, but now, with Van Damme on the comeback trail.. there’s a chance he’ll be able to get some of these projects going on. He has the power again.
I believe there’s another decent Van Damme movie to come, but it has to come soon. He should capitalize on the current global whirlwind that is EX2. Forget the mediocre fare of ‘Dragon Eyes’ and ‘Assassination Games’ and knock the ‘Uni-Sols’ on the head now because that’s where the ‘Bourne’ series seems to be heading with all their bonkers pilled up agents. John Woo’s ‘Hard Target’ was a perfect example of the ‘look what he can be’ when handled better. With Woo being wooed to Hollywood again, maybe a second team-up could be on the cards? Jean Claude resides in Hong Kong where action is thick and fast and where Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark hail from, two other action directing greats who have guided JCVD extremely well.
Jean Claude Van Damme is a great action star and a great action star requires a great action director.
Where’s Jean Claude’s ‘Taken’?
Here’s a look at the coming attractions of Jean-Claude Van Damme :
Universal Soldier : Day of Reckoning