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Jan Josef Liefers,
Thierry van Werveke
Between his tax problems and his legal battle with his wife for the custody of his daughter, these are hard times for the action movie star who finds that even Steven Seagal has pinched a role from him! In JCVD, Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the country of his birth to seek the peace and tranquility he can no longer enjoy in the United States. Written by
Wismerhill & Redking
When the two guys talk about movies in the Video-store the one claims that Stallone fought against Arabs in "Rambo 3". But actually in "Rambo 3" John Rambo was fighting FOR Afghans Muslims in Afghanistan and against the "bad" Russian troops. See more »
This movie is for me. There we are, you and me. Why did you do that? Or why did I do that? You made my dream come true. I asked for it. I promised you something in return and I haven't delivered yet. You win, I lose. Unless... the path you've set for me is full of hurdles where the answer comes before the question. Yeah I do that. Now I know why. It's the cure, from what I've seen here. It all makes sense. It makes sense to those who understand. So... America, poverty, stealing to eat... ...
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The Gaumont title sequence begins with a silhouetted boy picking up a sunflower, but he is met by a silhouetted Jean-Claude Van Damme, who attempts to grab the sunflower from him. When the boy refuses to let go of the sunflower, Van Damme gives him a roundhouse kick before kicking the sunflower up into space, where it grows into the Gaumont logo. See more »
Interesting movie, with a terrific performance by Van Damme.
Interesting concept from french director Mabrouk el Mechri: real action star Jean Claude Van Damme is engaged into a bitter legal battle for his daughter's custody. Said daughter is mocked by her classmates for her father's antics, and prefers staying with her mother. Ridiculed by the media and smarty-pants naysayers, condemned to shoot sub-par B-movies in eastern Europe, almost broke and devastated by his little girl's condition, Jean Claude flies back to his native Belgium in order to find solace. After an odd encounter with small time crooks, his life and perception by the public will be changed forever.
From a direction/scriptwriting point of view, the movie is somewhat lacking focus. It's relying a bit too much on inside jokes and heist movie clichés, for better or worse. There are some truly great moments (the opening scene is hilarious - any scene using Baby Huey's "Hard Times" tune cannot be bad anyway; the court scenes are cleverly written and the very last shot finds a perfect balance of emotion without being overblown or tear-jerking) and the whole film deserves praise for being original and clever. However it stretches some scenes way too much, uses an awful bleached color scheme that could turn off some people (it's just a detail, but it annoyed me throughout the whole screening) and uses unnecessary flashbacks instead of sticking to a more tight storytelling, which could've benefited the movie in my humble opinion.
However, these little flaws are nothing compared to the enormous heart this movie displays. Jean Claude Van Damme may not be Daniel Day Lewis or Sean Penn, but he gives an astounding performance in this film. He's very comfortable in the comical scenes, but his acting chops really shine when the movie gets emotional. His long monologue, looking at the camera, and the audience (and perhaps even God) is nothing short of amazing. In his own words, he really begs for a second chance not only in his career, but in life. He's incredibly moving (acting in his native language helps a lot) and above all doesn't try to pretend he's something more than a washed up movie star, with a somewhat limited vocabulary. He just asks for one more chance, and judging by this flick he truly deserves it.
Overall, a nice surprise for those unfamiliar with "the Muscles from Brussels" and a refreshing comedy. Except a few complaints about the pace and the direction it's a highly recommended movie. And hopefully the beginning of a new career for JCVD.
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