The Films of Jean Claude Van Damme

I have seen a lot of talk about Jean Claud Van Damme on this news group so what i did was I decided to go out and rent some of his movies over at a “Blockbuster video” that they have here. i made a night out of it actually and so here’s what i think about this much discussed karate man.

First of all, body. Small but not that bad. The way he does the splits and everything kind of makes him look like a fairy but I bet he could kick a guy pretty hard. I’m still skeptical how long he would last inside but he’s not as weak as some of the pretty boys i’ve seen in movies. Put it this way I was surprised.

Secondly the movies though. These were actually some pretty decent flicks and which at times take a few tips from one of my favorites, Die hard. Die hard is a movie where Bruce willis (moonlighting and a lot of movies that are out now) is in a building to kill a group of terrorists. Bruce is on his own and, importantly, has bare feet. However he is able to take on all of them by himself. I believe this has been a great inspiration to a lot of inmates and to hollywood as well judging from Van damme’s films. The true influence of Die hard will probably be studied in a few years by academics as far as I’m concerned.

Surprisingly bruce is pretty tough in the movie. i’ve seen much badder but i wouldn’t neccessarily try to bend this guy over. He’s originally from comedy which is part of why it goes over so well as a character, there are jokes all the time where he insults the guys he’s killing. I think Van damme is also funny although please don’t get offended but i think sometimes it’s not on purpose! Though i’ve had a lot of hand to hand in real life obviously so i may be pickier than the average movie watcher.

The first movie: Sudden Death

This is basically what i like to call “die hard in a hockey arena” although Van damme adds a lot of twist like there is a lot more kicking and it’s during a hockey game instead of business meetings.

Second movie: No retreat no surrender

No Retreat, No SurrenderVan damme chose to take a supporting role in this one, as the villain. Not a bad move in my opinion. Van damme plays Ivan the russian, a very tough customer actually, at least that is how he is portrayed. He is not like most of the russian guys i have dealt with (many of whom were pushovers) although i believe he may be based on the film Rocky 4 starring Sylvester Stallone. That one was actually pretty fucking good in my opinion although Stallone is kind of a baby for the most part in my opinion. Rocky practices with logs in the snow while the russian has all the high tech computers that they can afford, which i think is a classic tale of a little elbow grease over technology. I REALLY hated that fucking russian guy in the movie, which I think is a point of good film making. Back you know where we had what is called a shank, made out of a piece of a bed frame or some other type of metal you can find, sometimes some plastic or wood or duct tape for the handle. You can sharpen it on the walls or the ground when the screws aren’t around. Pretty easy to put together actually. There are different kinds but it is a makeshift knife. Sometimes silverware also can be used as a weapon. Anyway I’d really like to slit that russian fag’s throat! I know it’s fiction but seriously that guy was an asshole.

The main hero in this one is a white kid (can’t remember the name) from Seattle (my own stomping grounds) who takes on the russian. In order to do this he has to contact the ghost of Bruce Lee to learn better karate from him. A lot of people do not know that Bruce Lee is buried in Seattle as well as Jimmy Hendrix. The kid is kind of a pretty boy to be honest but he does have the ghost karate, which in my opinion karate SOMETIMES can work in a fight. Not to get too much into that topic, though! I have talked to lots of orientals who disagrree which is fine, if everyone had the same opinion it would be a boring world wouldn’t it?

I wonder if anyone remembers Karate Kid. This is what no retreat reminds me of. However having bruce lee ghost instead of the old guy washing the car is a good touch.

There are other characters such as a fat kid (lots of funny shit about eating stuff) and a black kid. The black kid does a lot of the rap dancing that was popular back then and combines it with karate which is a good humorous/comic effect.

Third movie (final movie): Double Team

Double TeamIn this movie van damme is back in the starring role again although he shares the second half of the movie with a weird black guy with green hair. The black guy is actually pretty good as a character, I believe he is a basketball player as well as an arms dealer.

The real revelation in this one is the bad guy, Mickey Rourke, who fights van damme when there is a tiger and land mines. Not pretty! It has to do with kidnapping a baby of van damme’s as well as to escape from an island called the colony.

Of the three i would have to go with Double team is the best. There is a lot of stuff about technology and monks (for a spiritual side) who take part in the action as well as Van damme getting his god damned priorities straight and protecting his family. Good stuff as far as I’m concerned but I am kind of the old fashioned values generation.



Whoah there john, hold on JUST a second pal. I HOPE you didn’t just say that Van damme movies are bad. if so i would like to see a little more evidence.

i don’t want to repeat myself but like I said, Van damme would be able to last inside longer than the other guys on the list. at least schwarzenegger, not sure who Seagal is.

if you are referring to the fruity ass shots then PLEASE get with the 90s as far as I’m concerned.

If your going to make such an outragous claim your going to have to back it up in DETAIL.

I still stand by Van damme especially as far as double team. I am not a big fan of karate but Van damme is one of the better karates. (and yes, i know he’s not oriental.)


Hey don’t assume to much you might miss out. I know of what I speak, seriously – because i thought van damme would be a pussy. I have seen some boxes where he has long hair all curled and everything. Also the way he’s always showing off his legs and his ass. the guy might as well be wearing pantyhose is what i originally figured. but no, the truth is he’s not half bad, actually pretty good. although i believe the black guy in double team WAS wearing pantyhose in one scene

Point is you REALLY should watch the movie. Trust me it is word of mouth that makes the buzz on a lot of these pictures now a days.

thanks bud


This entry was posted on Saturday, September 4th, 1999 at 7:18 am and is filed under Action, Bruce, Martial Arts, Reviews, Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “The Films of Jean Claude Van Damme”

  1. Wow some old school Vern, early persona here. Unfortunate about the F word and “oriental” but it was a different time and I know Vern has since taken the time to change and done much more work towards equality.

    Interesting early read, heavy reference to the prison time which we don’t talk about much around here anymore.

  2. Knox Harrington

    August 5th, 2012 at 7:09 am

    “Anyway I’d really like to slit that russian fag’s throat!”

    Holy shit, Vern.

  3. “Not sure who Seagal is”!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I was pretty confused in those days. I get alot more exercise and anti-oxidants and stuff now.

  5. Review JCVDs hair in ENEMIES CLOSER already!!

  6. Van Damme films you need to review Vern: MAXIMUM RISK (1996, dir: Ringo Lam), LEGIONNAIRE (1998, dir: Peter Macdonald), and REPLICANT (2001, dir: Ringo Lam).

    I’m unsure if you reviewed THE QUEST (1996, dir: Jean-Claude van Damme), one of the keys to understand Van Damme.

    I just watched LEGIONNAIRE for the first time and it’s really good. I was also surprised by how good MAXIMUM RISK was. It also doesn’t hurt to watch WAKE OF DEATH and 6 BULLETS.

  7. Seconded, Maximum Risk is cool and Van Damme gives a good emotional performance.

  8. Holy smokes, I really appreciate you leaving these older reviews on the site, Vern. You have clearly evolved as a writer and as a person – but I do appreciate Vern v1.0 as a character.

    I can’t help but completely see this as parody of “the wizened old convict” archetype. I’m picturing Clint’s character in ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ awakening to a burning love of cinema and grabbing some minutes at an early ’90s Internet cafe.

    So my eyebrows raise while reading this today, but I hope Mr.Shemp 25 years ago wouldn’t have taken it seriously. And I definitely don’t now.

    Of the 3 JCVD flicks, I feel like I liked SUDDEN DEATH the best, but haven’t seen any of the 3 since VHS days. I’m currently in the middle of watching all of Paul Naschy’s movies, so maybe Jean Claude’s catalog will be next.

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