You and your buddies are going to the mall cineplex wearing your shredded Girbaud jeans and Ray Ban sunglasses. What's the day before, right? Bloodsport? Well, who is this guy, Jean-Claude Van Damme? Well, that's the film you choose. "Man, how can he do the splits like that?" You're hooked.
That's how the origin of "The Muscles from Brussels" began. Sure, it's easy to look back on Van Damme's filmography and dismiss him as a defying star of the "vigilante-soldier-of-fortune-kick-'em-in-the-butt" low-cost film genre, but it's an unfair dismissal. Van Damme is a professional image crafter who has always learned how to develop his own brand, and
Van Damme, who was first introduced by Chuck Norris, said he had no doubt experienced an opening for himself in Hollywood, knowing he had the skills, the youth, and the desire to make an impact in the action film world. He also had a variety of elements that appeal to moviegoers, including the European symbol. Conan the Barbarian:
Van Damme's desire to be visible from the start was evident as evidenced by his first onscreen appearance in 1984's Breakin'. In a Venice Beach crowd, Van Damme appears as a spectator, flailing his massive arms, and dancing his quads off. He was willing to be recognized, and it is this kind of skill that would ensure it happened.
Van Damme made a similar appearance into his first credited US film, No Retreat, No Surrender. It's also the first time American audiences got to see his title-winning fighting skills and signature splits. It paid off, eventually claiming him the lead in the 1988 film that shaped him as an action star. Bloodsport
Bloodsport, a campy martial arts drama, is still a success because Van Damme is a kickboxer! He breaks bricks! It's a joyride, but Van Damme is the conductor. He received a Golden Raspberry nomination as Worst New Star for this one, but instead of hanging his head and retreating, he continued his ascent.
Van Damme was able to combine his abilities and personality and hit on a strategy that worked. A string of action hits followed, including 1989's Kickboxer, in which he took more control of his image by at one point posing a fun challenge in this one, at some point posing a chilling dance sequence.
For the first time in 1990's Lionheart (another film he co-written) Van Damme became a whole new cast member, and scores of people began filling theaters just for a peek. Van Damme began telling stories on the talk show circuit about his ability to crack walnuts between those unviable cheeks.
With Timecop, a kind of Terminator-meets-Total Recall thriller, Van Damme as a police officer travels through time to once again sift the bad guys into submission. While the film is speculative, anyone who knows the plot will remember the iconic moment when Van Damme jumps up and splits across his kitchen counter after annihilating an evildoer. Once again, he knew the strategy and worked the heck out of it.
At the beginning of 1995, people were looking for more than karate kicks in their movies, but turned to more sophisticated action scenes like Batman Forever and Goldeneye. While Van Damme continued to develop, he was clearly reaching his target audience. So, when Rachel meets him, Van Damme replies, "You don't think I'm cute." In a 1996 episode of Friends, Van Damme recreates his grand screen image, portraying Monica (Courtney Cox) and Rachel, says, "You don
Van Damme's role in 2016's Amazon Prime series Jean-Claude Van Johnson demonstrates his character's charm and well-being. He also gives evidence that while posing with a chuckle, he cannot stand down to his weights. It's great to realize that even though he attempts a midair kick, he can barely lift a stack of pounds, and he cannot accept his disappointment. It's an excellent opportunity to finally and clearly express his admiration for the villains.
Van Damme has always been laughing a little on the inside. In Timecop II: Electric Boogaloo, he'll continue to entertain viewers with his own self-deprecating and unpretentious humor. Who would love to see him?