Movie Review: JCVD – Jean-Claude Van Damme’s More Intimate Side

jcvd le film Movie Review: JCVD – Jean Claude Van Damme’s More Intimate Side

Judging from the previews that I saw for JCVD, I had no idea it was a French film, nor did I know that the French worships Mr. Van Damme. Going into the movie, all I knew was JCVD stood for his initials.

The story sounds pretty interesting. Jean-Claude plays himself as he tries to get back on his feet from losing movie roles to Steven Segal and losing visitation rights to see his daughter. So the “Muscles from Brussels” goes back to Belgium. I didn’t know that French was also an official language in Belgium; that explains how Jean-Claude can speak it so well. Next thing we know, Jean-Claude is robbing the post office and shooting like crazy at cops and pedestrians.

If you’re expecting your typical Jean-Claude action fare, you’ll be sorely disappointed. If you’re expecting Jean-Claude to be the star of the film, you’ll be disappointed as well. Even though the title is based off his name, he doesn’t get that much screen time. The honor goes to the Belgium post office.

Later on we find out that Jean-Claude isn’t the perpetrator, but is actually being held hostage along with others. The real robbers are a mixed group of oddballs. Most of the movie has the robbers arguing and messing up each other’s plans. The whole post office robbery is when the movie starts to drift away from a day in the life of Jean-Claude to playing cops and robbers; only in this version, both the cops and robbers are dumb.

The movie isn’t  a complete loss. The best part of the movie is the “confession” scene where Jean-Claude talks to the camera about his personal drama, from drugs to the failed Hollywood dream. It’s where he truly shines as an actor and it got me feeling a little bit teary-eyed.

When a movie is named JCVD, I expect it to focus on JCVD. Instead, what we have is a French version of Heat with retarded robbers and stupid cops. The tone of the movie was all over the place, as if the director didn’t know whether to make this a goofy comedy about bumbling robbers or a serious moment in the life of Jean-Claude.

Grade: D

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