JCVD (2008) Poster

JCVD (2008)

  • Rate: 7.2/10 total 21,593 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Drama
  • Release Date: 4 June 2008 (France)
  • Runtime: 97 min
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JCVD (2008)


JCVD 2008tt1130988.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: JCVD (2008)
  • Rate: 7.2/10 total 21,593 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Drama
  • Release Date: 4 June 2008 (France)
  • Runtime: 97 min
  • Filming Location: Brussels, Brussels-Capital, Belgium
  • Budget: €10,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $1,517,619(France)(6 July 2008)
  • Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
  • Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Valérie Bodson and Hervé Sogne
  • Original Music By: Gast Waltzing   
  • Soundtrack: Hard Times
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Reference To Jean Claude Van Damme | Murder | Gun Held To Head | One Word Title | Trial

Writing Credits By:

  • Mabrouk El Mechri (scenario)
  • Frédéric Benudis (in collaboration with)
  • Mabrouk El Mechri (adaptation and dialogue)
  • Frédéric Taddeï (original idea) and
  • Vincent Ravalec (original idea)
  • Christophe Turpin (writer)

Known Trivia

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme actually has a son, but it was to changed in the movie to a daughter for legal reasons. Mabrouk El Mechri claims the daughter’s name, Gloria, came to him because he was listening to the Van Morrison song of the same name.
  • Mabrouk El Mechri and Jean-Claude Van Damme had an agreement that the latter couldn’t yell ‘cut’ to end a scene (as Van Damme has done on many of his other films).
  • The whole scene in the taxi is completely improvised. Mabrouk El Mechri told Jean-Claude Van Damme to just be nice to the driver no matter what she said.
  • The concept for the film originated with the producer had an agreement with Jean-Claude Van Damme to play himself in a movie. In the original screenplay Van Damme was portrayed more as a clown. Mabrouk El Mechri was brought on to rewrite, and was subsequently asked to direct.
  • Mabrouk El Mechri agreed to rewrite the script on the condition he could meet Jean-Claude Van Damme first before starting the draft, so he wouldn’t waste six months on something that Van Damme would veto.
  • According to Mabrouk El Mechri in a Q&A on the Toronto International Film Festival, about 70% of the film was scripted, and the other 30% was improvised from the actors.
  • Mabrouk El Mechri didn’t write much dialog for Van Damme, as he did want Van Damme to be limited by the words, as he has ‘his own music’.
  • The opening intro scene was filmed at the end of the shoot for insurance reasons. It was rehearsed over an entire night and shot 4 or 5 takes.
  • In the opening intro scene, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s comment about not being able to film in one shot was his own ad-lib, partly in response to Mabrouk El Mechri actually wanting to shoot the scene in one shot.

Goofs: Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): In the court room the attorney says, "How does this actor play Death? Let me count the ways: mangled under the wheels of a truck, strangulation, fracturing the skull, taking out the tibula…" There is no anatomic structure named tibula. The lower leg is made of two bones, the tibia and fibula. It is a common mistake of people who do not know anatomy to say tibula.

Plot: Between his tax problems and his legal battle with his wife for the custody of his daughter, these are… See more »  »

Story: 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  


Synopsis: The film establishes Jean-Claude Van Damme playing himself as an out-of-luck actor. He is out of money; his agent cannot find him a decent production; and the judge in a custody battle is inclined to give custody of his daughter over to his ex-wife. He returns to his childhood home of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where he is still considered a national icon.

When he goes into a post office to receive a wire transfer, he finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation. Due to an unfortunate mistake, the police believe Van Damme is responsible for the crime. As the events are played from different perspectives, Van Damme finds himself acting as a hero to protect the hostages, as well as both a negotiator and presumed perpetrator.

One scene of note is when Van Damme and the camera are lifted above the set, and he performs a six-minute single-take monologue, where he breaks the fourth wall addressing the audience directly, and delivers an emotional (but characteristically cryptic) monologue about his career, his multiple marriages, and his drug abuse.

Van Damme then persuades one of the bank robbers to release the hostages. After this happens, a scuffle ensues and in the resulting conflict, the brains behind the heist is shot. The police, after hearing a gunshot, storm the building. The police shoot another one of the thieves, and Van Damme is held at gunpoint by the final one. Van Damme briefly imagines a scenario in which he takes the robber out using karate, but in reality, he just elbows him and the police get him. Van Damme is arrested for extortion due to his making the demand of $465,000 to the law firm which is handling his custody case while speaking as the ringleader of the group and sentenced to 1 year in prison. The final scene shows him teaching karate to other inmates, then being visited by his mother and daughter.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Sidonie Dumas known as delegate producer
  • Marc Fiszman known as executive producer
  • Patrick Quinet known as co-producer
  • Jani Thiltges known as co-producer
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme known as executive producer
  • Arlette Zylberberg known as co-producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme known as JCVD
  • Valérie Bodson known as Veuve Film Budapest
  • Hervé Sogne known as Lieutenant Smith
  • Rock Chen known as Réalisateur asiatique
  • Huifang Wang known as Traductrice asiatique
  • John Flanders known as Avocat ex-Femme
  • Renata Kamara known as Juge Tribunal Los Angeles
  • Mourade Zeguendi known as Client Vidéo club
  • Vincent Lecuyer known as Vendeur Vidéo Club
  • Jenny De Chez known as Taxiwoman JCVD
  • Patrick Steltzer known as Policier 1
  • Bernard Eylenbosch known as Technicien Telecom
  • François Damiens known as Bruges
  • Pascal Lefebvre known as Képi 2
  • Jacky Lambert known as Képi 3
  • Norbert Rutili known as Perthier
  • Olivier Bisback known as Docteur GIGN – Eric
  • Armelle Gysen known as Journaliste 1
  • Karim Belkhadra known as Vigile
  • Jean-François Wolff known as Trentenaire
  • Michel Bouis known as Otage Cigarette
  • Raphaëlle Lubansu known as Otage 1
  • Claudio Dos Santos known as Otage 2
  • Zinedine Soualem known as Homme au Bonnet
  • Anne Paulicevich known as Guichetière
  • Hyppolyte Eloy known as Fils Guichetière
  • Alan Rossett known as Leon Bernstein
  • Saskia Flanders known as Fille JCVD
  • Jesse Joe Walsh known as Agent JCVD
  • Bella Wajnberg known as Dame Poste de Police
  • Jérôme Varanfrain known as Képi Poste de Police
  • Caroline Donnely known as Journaliste 2
  • Eric Boever known as Journaliste 3
  • Liliane Becker known as Mère JCVD
  • François Beukelaers known as Père JCVD
  • François De Brigode known as Journaliste Plateau Télé
  • Gregory Jones known as Détenu
  • Paul Rockenbrod known as Tobey Wood
  • Dean Gregory known as Réalisateur Film Tobey Wood
  • Alice Hubball known as Assistante Tobey Wood
  • Steve Preston known as Accessoiriste Film JCVD
  • Janine Horsburgh known as Assistante JCVD
  • Isabelle de Hertogh known as Manager Magasin de Jouets
  • Ingrid Heiderscheidt known as Mère Gamin Magasin de Jouets
  • Fjoralba Cuni known as Serveuse Boite de Nuit
  • Massimo Brancatelli known as Gardien de prison (uncredited)
  • Kim Hermans known as Prisoner in kickboxing outfit (uncredited)
  • Leslie Woodhall known as Prison visitor (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Virginie Berland known as wigs maker
  • Walter Cossu known as head makeup artist: M. Jean-Claude Van Damme
  • Claudine Moureaud known as head makeup artist (as Claudine Moureaud-Demoulling)
  • Joël Seiller known as assistant hair stylist
  • Bianca van der Steen known as makeup artist (as Bianca M. Van Der Steen)

Art Department:

  • Sébastien Autphenne known as ripper
  • François Bautier known as set dresser
  • Alain Boucherie known as props
  • Mario Capezzali known as carpenter
  • Céline De Streel known as assistant art director
  • Juliette Fassin known as stagiaire deco
  • Thomas Ferrandis known as carpenter
  • Maurice Grégoire known as props
  • Edouard Pallardy known as head painter
  • Julie Ridremont known as painter
  • Luc Ridremont known as carpenter
  • Smygol known as construction coordinator
  • Eric Verheyden known as assistant art director
  • Peggy Verstraeten known as props
  • Tom Viane known as apprentice props
  • Nicolas Vrancken known as set dresser
  • Pascalle Willame known as set dresser




Production Companies:

  • Gaumont (presents) (co-production)
  • Samsa Film (co-production)
  • Artémis Productions (co-production) (as Artemis Productions)
  • Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) (co-production) (as RTBF [Television Belge])
  • Bankable (in association with) (as Bankable Films)
  • Sofica Cofinova 4, La (in association with)
  • Canal+ (with the participation of)
  • CinéCinéma (with the participation of) (as Cinecinema)
  • Film Fund Luxembourg (with the participation of)
  • Cofinova 4 (in association with)

Other Companies:

  • Angoa-Agicoa  with the support of
  • Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté Française de Belgique  with the help of (as Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique et des Télédistributeurs wallons)
  • Duran Duboi  digital intermediate
  • Editions de la Marguerite  original music copyright: © 2008 (as Les Editions de la Marguerite)
  • Eye-Lite  lighting
  • Film & Television Facilities  facility vehicles
  • MovieScore Media  soundtrack
  • Procirep  with the support of
  • VK Productions  music supervision
  • Waltzing-Parke Audio  music recorded at (as WPA Studios, Luxembourg)


  • Gaumont (2008) (France) (theatrical)
  • Cinears (2008) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment (2008) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Atlantic Film (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • IPA Asia Pacific (2009) (Thailand) (theatrical)
  • Pathé (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • Peace Arch Entertainment Group (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Peace Arch Entertainment Group (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Revolver Entertainment (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Versus Entertainment (2008) (Spain) (theatrical)
  • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Film1 (2009) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • IPA Asia Pacific (2009) (Vietnam) (all media)
  • Koch Media (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Ledafilms (2009) (Mexico) (TV)
  • Panorama Distributions (2011) (Hong Kong) (DVD)
  • Panorama Distributions (2011) (Hong Kong) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Phase 4 Films (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • RTL Entertainment (2011) (Netherlands) (TV) (RTL7)
  • Revolver Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD)
  • Revolver Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • SP Films (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • SP Films (2009) (Argentina) (all media)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Duran Duboi

Visual Effects by:

  • Aurélien Grand known as retouch and restoration
  • Frederic Moreau known as visual effects designer
  • Sarah Moreau known as visual effects coordinator
  • Fred Roz known as credits
  • Mikael Tanguy known as digital compositor

Release Date:

  • France 4 June 2008
  • Switzerland 4 June 2008 (French speaking region)
  • Luxembourg 6 June 2008
  • Belgium 18 June 2008
  • Germany 13 August 2008 (Fantasy Film Festival)
  • Canada 4 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • USA 19 September 2008 (Austin Fantastic Fest)
  • Spain October 2008 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Turkey 17 October 2008
  • Italy 27 October 2008 (Rome Film Festival)
  • Spain 7 November 2008
  • USA 7 November 2008 (limited)
  • Argentina 8 November 2008 (Mar del Plata Film Festival)
  • Japan 27 December 2008 (Tokyo)
  • Japan 10 January 2009
  • Netherlands 22 January 2009 (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
  • UK 30 January 2009
  • UK 2 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Czech Republic 27 March 2009 (Febio Film Festival)
  • Sweden 27 March 2009
  • Hong Kong 1 April 2009 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
  • China 2 April 2009 (limited)
  • USA 3 April 2009 (Wisconsin Film Festival)
  • Finland 4 April 2009 (Night Visions Film Festival)
  • Austria 20 April 2009 (Crossing Europe Festival)
  • Denmark 20 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • Portugal 27 April 2009 (Indielisboa)
  • USA 28 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 19 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Romania 30 May 2009 (Transilvania International Film Festival)
  • Germany 12 June 2009
  • Germany 3 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Portugal 16 July 2009
  • Denmark 17 July 2009
  • Argentina 14 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Italy 23 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Poland 15 October 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 30 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Canada 6 December 2009 (Vancouver European Union Film Festival)
  • Argentina 10 April 2010 (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)
  • Russia 10 June 2010 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for language and some violence



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

JCVD (2008) Related Movie

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P.J. (2008) Movie Poster
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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. Kevin Schwoer from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    I went into J.C.V.D with all the prepubescent memories of the actionheroes of yesteryear; nostalgic roundhouse kicks, horrible dialogue,overdone explosions, one-liners and all. A time where the movieindustry churned out the same movie a hundred different ways with thelikes of Schwarzenegger, Stalone, and Van Damme in the spotlight. Theseaction movies seem set aside from Hollywood history, not as bad filmsper say but as their own separate entity where critics and nay-sayersalike had no power to quell the insatiable appetite of young moviegoers. A time where this trinity of subpar actors ruled the box officeswith their muscles and gun toting charisma. Not that I was expectingJ.C.V.D to be one of these films, but it is almost impossible not to bereminded of the better days of mindless entertainment when the film'stitle is the initials of the King of High Kicking, Jean Claude VanDamme. I was expecting something I have never seen before, something ofa reinvention of an American, French, or more importantly, world icon.Which is exactly what I got.

    J.C.V.D. is not a Jean Claude Van Damme movie whatsoever, no more thanits namesake. There are no drawn out fight scenes, no car chases, andcertainly no bad one-liners. Instead, the film is a hybrid, ameta-film, going beyond documentary, mocumentary, or full blownnarrative. If I were to categorize it as anything, it would be adocumentary of a mocumentary since it isn't afraid to break the fourthwall and does so on many occasions. The narrative is broken up,flipping back and forth if not only for the element of short livedmystery. It is not a character study since Van Damme is almost too wellknown for that, rather it is reenactment of his life dramatized forHollywood. It doesn't matter if the story is true or not, the importantthing is that Van Damme makes it real. Obviously drawing from his reallife experiences, he pours his heart into his cinematic counterpart andproves to the world that he can flex his acting muscles just as well ashe can flex his biceps, if not better now in his old age. Van Dammehumanizes himself in a way that we have never seen. In a power andtelling scene where Van Damme literally is lifted above the fourthwall, he explains to the camera his inglorious life and career, full ormistakes, drugs, and heartbreak. It brings a heart to those actionfilms of yesteryear, of a past where things were simpler and a presentwhere retrospection, as well as introspection, only leads to heartache.

    This film speaks about the power of the celebrity and the quick tojudge public. It brings to light the blood thirsty court system once ithas a celebrity to make it famous. And it shows that not all of thesesuperstars are the personalities we see on film. That they are normalpeople thrust into extraordinary situations with nothing to do butbuckle under the pressure of the public. But beyond the serious natureof J.C.V.D. there are plenty of easter eggs to be found for those pureaction fan boys. References to all of his previous work and signaturehigh kicks are spread throughout the film that give it it's humor whilethe performances and solid writing attribute to many laughs as well.

    The opening sequence of J.C.V.D. perfectly captures the message it isbroadcasting to our time. It features an action sequence where VanDamme is out of breath and sloppily taking out soldiers while the stuntmen and actors alike exhibit their heartless effort for a pay check inthe film industry while the director throws darts at a picture ofHollywood. It lacks all the magic of his work while accentuating thecheesiness to a point where the fake film is a mirror image of theaction industry today. And as Van Damme tries to catch his breath andlobby for a better film, he can only walk away in disgust of what hisbeloved career has become. J.C.V.D. is a film that knows what it is andwhat it is trying to say. Yet it somehow goes beyond that to becomesomething more. It breaks down and then raises up one of the mostfamous action stars of all time only to show him in one of his bestroles. Himself. It is not a tribute to those days gone by where I wouldrent six Van Damme movies and watch the rest of the afternoon away, itis more. It is a fun, funny, entertaining, and a damn good film. Onething is for sure, I will never look at Van Damme the same way again,and that is a great thing.

  2. wismerhill from Paris, France
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    JCVD is an excellent surprise. It's a kind of dramatic comedy whereJean-Claude Van Damme plays with great conviction his own role in life.This starting postulate, to tell a passage of the life of a movie-staron the decline by the person himself, makes the movie sail betweenfiction and autobiography. This original and ambiguous concept propelsthe script in a tasty, funny and tragic reality/fiction realm. One canthink sometimes of Pulp Fiction.

    The famous movie-star, Jean-Claude, is surprisingly right and touching.Van Damme plays here the role of his life, in all the senses of thewords. There will be a before and an after JCVD. The central monologueof the film, a rare feat of ingenuity, a long one-shot sequence of thestar made up of his doubts and his anguishes, is bound to become aclassic.

    The film is however not perfect. The flashbacks are well carried outbut some scenes seen twice can be somewhat long and would have beenimproved by being shortened a bit the second time around. This savedtime would have made it possible to develop the supporting characters,like the police chief, a bit more. Speaking of supporting characters,those are somewhat caricatures and with one dimension.

    JCVD reveals itself as an excellent surprise. Far from being a hollowmarketing ploy, this film, probably the best of Van Damme, is a truesuccess that deserves to be seen.

    The question now is what will Van Damme do next?

  3. robby-deblauwe from Belgium
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    OK, I saw the movie today and here's my review: This movie is by farthe best movie I've seen with Van Damme. Not his best action movie,because it's not what you would expect of a Van Damme movie, but thebest movie he ever made. For me this is the highlight of his career andhe'll probably never make a better movie.

    The movie had indeed a dog day afternoon, even a Tarantino feel to it.The story is told in pieces and by the end of the movie all the piecescome together.

    The beginning with the action scene is nicely done, and the one-takescene puts you right in the action.

    Then the story continues with Van Damme arriving in Schaarbeek andgoing to the postoffice. From that moment one the story unravels.

    Van Damme plays a portrait of himself and does this extremely well. Hedoes have a sense for drama, and he really acts well. I do believe thishas something to do with him being more comfortable in his nativelanguage.

    The other main characters are perhaps not very well developed, no realbackground story, which for me is a bit off a flaw. But the movie offcourse centers around Van Damme.

    The famous monologue is definitely a must see and is a summing of whathe has encountered in his life, very moving.

    This movie, for me, shows us that he definitely CAN act given the rightdirector and script. I hope this opens eyes, and also his.

    The direction for me was excellent and I think the director will gofar. He clearly has talent.

    I think the movie should've given a chance on the festival circuit, itdefinitely would've found an audience. (maybe they should do this in testates).

    So conclusion? The best I've seen from Van Damme… A must see.


  4. Squeele
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    Interesting concept from french director Mabrouk el Mechri: real actionstar Jean Claude Van Damme is engaged into a bitter legal battle forhis daughter's custody. Said daughter is mocked by her classmates forher father's antics, and prefers staying with her mother. Ridiculed bythe media and smarty-pants naysayers, condemned to shoot sub-parB-movies in eastern Europe, almost broke and devastated by his littlegirl's condition, Jean Claude flies back to his native Belgium in orderto find solace. After an odd encounter with small time crooks, his lifeand perception by the public will be changed forever.

    From a direction/scriptwriting point of view, the movie is somewhatlacking focus. It's relying a bit too much on inside jokes and heistmovie clichés, for better or worse. There are some truly great moments(the opening scene is hilarious – any scene using Baby Huey's "HardTimes" tune cannot be bad anyway; the court scenes are cleverly writtenand the very last shot finds a perfect balance of emotion without beingoverblown or tear-jerking) and the whole film deserves praise for beingoriginal 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 tightstorytelling, which could've benefited the movie in my humble opinion.

    However, these little flaws are nothing compared to the enormous heartthis movie displays. Jean Claude Van Damme may not be Daniel Day Lewisor Sean Penn, but he gives an astounding performance in this film. He'svery comfortable in the comical scenes, but his acting chops reallyshine when the movie gets emotional. His long monologue, looking at thecamera, and the audience (and perhaps even God) is nothing short ofamazing. In his own words, he really begs for a second chance not onlyin his career, but in life. He's incredibly moving (acting in hisnative language helps a lot) and above all doesn't try to pretend he'ssomething more than a washed up movie star, with a somewhat limitedvocabulary. He just asks for one more chance, and judging by this flickhe truly deserves it.

    Overall, a nice surprise for those unfamiliar with "the Muscles fromBrussels" and a refreshing comedy. Except a few complaints about thepace and the direction it's a highly recommended movie. And hopefullythe beginning of a new career for JCVD.

  5. Craig McPherson from Montreal, Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    There's some word combinations that you simply can't envisage together."Jean-Claude Van Damme can act" is one of them. Yet, remarkable as itmay seem, the Muscles from Brussels turns in a truly career turningperformance in JCVD.

    Directed and co-written by Mabrouk El Mechri, JCVD manages to capablystraddle art house, action and comedy genres as it captivates theviewer by laying bare the soul of the star of such DVD fare asBloodsport, Streetfighter, and Universal Soldier, to name only a few.

    Largely based on his real life troubles, JCVD unfolds as Van Dammeretreats to his native Belgium in the wake of a losing child custodybattle in a Los Angeles court.

    Mounting financial troubles have left our hero with over-maxed plasticand debit cards that no longer yield ATM withdrawals. Forced to tapinto his savings reserves, he makes a pit stop at a post office/bank toarrange a money wire transfer to pay his lawyer, only to discover thatthe bank is in the process of being robbed and he's stuck in the midstof the drama.

    To make matters worse, the manner in which things have unfolded hascaused authorities and media alike to believe that Van Damme is themastermind, orchestrating the heist and hostage taking to pay his legalbills.

    Segmented into chapters and shown out of sequence, similar to PulpFiction, El Mechri manages to deftly juggle laughs and tension todeliver a film that uniquely straddles several genres, includingbreaking the "fourth wall" with an eight-minute long monologue in thefilm's third act that sees the muscle-bound Belgian recap, with painfultear-inducing pain, his life of cheesy movies, women and drugs.

    Think of Dog Day Afternoon in which Pacino gets to speak to theaudience and lay his soul bare and you've got an idea of what's instore with JCVD, which, if there's any justice, will do for Van Damme'scareer what Tarantino did for Travolta's. Especially now that we knowJCVD can act.

  6. edmond_henri from Paris, France
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    I saw it.

    I will be quick 'cause I'm so tired (1 am here) but I know that mydreams will be funky…because the film is funky. I was at theavant-premiere tonight in Paris where Jean-Claude and the teamintroduced the film to the crowd. He was very cool and fun.

    The film ? Simply hot (not that hot), funny and touching. And I cried,yes really, like a sissy girl, I cried during his long speech (you willunderstand when you will see the film, but JC summarizes his life andit's a magic moment). I don't want to spoil the film, but to me it'sgreat one in his career, very mature, well written, many private jokesfor us, well directed, well played (Jean-Claude is simply awesome likeyou never saw him before), many many fresh things, scenes, and moments.It's a heist film, maybe a small heist but a big film who swims on Dogday afternoon, Clerks and Rashomon, Tarantino mood with flash-backs,flash-forwards (the editing is hot), a very nice sound track (veryEnter the dragon's Lalo Schrifrin)….

    I didn't like Fellows films, The HardCorps, The Shepherd, but I LOVEhis last film, so fresh, I love JCVD the movie.

    I want to see it again this week-end. Mabrouk, JC, thank you…

  7. Louis-Philippe from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    The story, I wont tell, you know it. So, no spoilers ! The "Van Damme"= this is what i'm gonna review. Van Damme got mature. Van Damme hasstories in his eyes. Van Damme has life in his eyes. Van Damme hassadness in his eyes. Van Damme has regrets in his eyes. Van Damme hasstuff to say to the world, to his audience. Van Damme have a message todeliver. He does in JCVD.

    In JCVD, we see for the first time Jean-Claude Camille François VanVarenberg, the man, amazing ! Not the character, the real man ! You canfeel it from the screen. wow, very cool feeling I had.

    The context of the film help Van Damme for telling the truth about hisbad moments in life/career and conclude them. This movie close the badVan Damme, it is a reborn. A therapy film for Van Varenberg.

    The jokes (humor) is very well done, van damme can be very funny in hislanguage. The action scenes are "real style" shouted. I liked it a lot.Good kicks in this film, few, but good, so powerful, the sound effectsare awesome.

    The monologue is astonishing, so Oscar winning performance ! Van Dammehas secret about his daughter Bianca, stories….it is not easy to be afather (as an action figure) for a daughter. The relation between adaughter watching her "normal" dad in his Hollywood life/career is noteasy.

    Van Damme is really back on track.

    JCVD The Movie : 10/10 Jean-Claude Van Varenberg, the most human-actorin Hollywood. 10/10

  8. dridi_i from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    I just saw this movie at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montréal(Canada), and allow me to tell you that it's a must see film foreveryone. I'm a big Van Damme fan and I have all the films he ever madeso I'm gonna concentrate my comment around Van Damme. The first thingI'll say is that this movie is his best and possibly one of the bestmovies of the year. Going to the theatre, I wasn't expecting amasterpiece, after all it's Jean Claude Van Damme and you see hismovies for the action and his high kicks not for his acting. But thedirector made all the difference in Jean Claude's performance. Theconcept itself helps a lot. Van Damme is playing himself, so he's notplaying one of his stereotyped roles. Furthermore, him speaking in hisnative language made a huge impact on his performance. He's morenatural and more authentic which made him more credible. Compared toall other movies he appeared in, this is a revelation. The comedic toneof the movie is also something to be noted. The jokes are well done butwhat makes the difference is the jokes focused on Van Damme. Thereference to his roundhouse kicks are just hilarious. Two momentsespecially shine in this regard. The first one is the demonstration inthe post office and the second one happens towards the end of the film.You just can't miss them and they have that good old classic Van Damagefeel to them. Also worth mentioning are his personal goofy quotes infrench. The one when he's interviewed by a french journalist who askshim about the total of 1+1 will leave you breathless. Not to mentionthe courthouse sequence which was so funny. But the best moment of themovie remains his monologue to the camera. For five minutes, or so, hegoes back to his life. He talks about how he believed in the Americandream, his drug and marriage problems, how Hollywood screwed him up,how he wants so bad to be granted a second chance etc. It's a classiccinema moment in all senses. It felt more a confession than anythingelse. It was moving and genuine and you can feel the human being behindThe Muscles from Brussels image. The other thing to be noted is thelong shot at the beginning of the movie. It was hilarious and itsummarizes in a sense all of Van Damme's career: Gunfights, high kicks,goofy acting you name them. In the end, the direction of the filmreally sets it apart from any other Van Damme's movies. The directorknew how to get the best of Van Damme and put together a film that feltgenuine and true. However, some questions remain. What's Van Dammegoing to do from now on? Will he be recognized as an accomplishedactor? Will he get scripts that show him more as a human being ratherthan a bulk of muscles? Will he be making more European films ratherthan keep on making straight to DVD films? I can't say, but one thingremains for certain: JCVD is the rebirth of JCVD.

  9. houstonwade from Seattle
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    All low budget movies have flaws and it is about how to overcome theseflaws and setbacks that show what the heart and ability of cast andcrew is really made of.

    Van Damme gives a truly great performance no one would have everthought possible out of him. It is impossible to see him as a tabloidfodder, B-movie actor or screw-up when it is over. You see Jean-ClaudeVan Damme: human being.

    I have never had a movie make me think about how "bad choices" an actormay make in their career be seen more in the light of circumstances andthe people surrounding them. Van Damme's plea to forgo his salary justto give a movie a legitimate budget so that it can be shot in a studioonly to have it thrown back in his face by his agent who wants his 10%is almost heart wrenching. Only to end up agreeing to take a role, anyrole, just to pay the bills only to further destroy his career is seenin it's true light.

    His daughter hurts him. You see him hurt. He's a person just like therest of us. He makes mistakes, he lives up to those mistakes and hedeserves forgiveness just like we do. Great movie. See it.

  10. Thomas Jolliffe (supertom-3) from Marlow, England
    30 Mar 2012, 2:58 pm

    Cinema rarely punches you in the face with originality these days. Beit re-makes or sequels, or the same films with different titles, it'soften stagnated, boring and uninspiring, bar the exceptionalre-inventions of genres, such as The Dark Knight. However one of themost unique and dumbfounding films of the year, stars, shockingly, theMuscles from Brussels, Jean Claude Van Damme! As a long time fan ofJC's high kicking shenanigans, I've embraced the joy of some switch offthe brain, simple carnage. A 360 spinning kick here, a roundhousethere. All good fun, but in truth, with all the depth of a toddlerspaddling pool. I like Jean Claude, he's always had expressive eyes, anda kind of hidden promise of a proper actor behind the biceps. He'simproved over the years, and in recent years has elevated a few of hisstraight to video flicks (Wake Of Death and Until Death in particular).Of course these roles weren't exactly brimming with depth, and ifanything you get the sense Van Damme moulded the characters far beyondwhat no doubt was very minimal in the screenplay. Again, these wereroles that could only go so far, only offer so much diversity anddimension. In JCVD however, Jean Claude breaks out of the constraintsof DTV action spec, in his most challenging role…himself.

    This is JC, as himself. A somewhat exaggerated version of himself, thaton paper borrows well publicised events from JC's life, has fun withsome aspects, but with a real sense of integrity. This isn't strictlyauto-biographical, but JC gives such a heartfelt performance. Not onlydoes he create a great movie character but also pours his heart out onscreen. The story sees JC at his lowest ebb. He's losing custody of hisdaughter, struggling for money, suffering from a crisis of identity,and worst of all losing parts for films he doesn't really want to do,but needs the money, to Steven Seagal! A simple trip to the postoffice, results in Jean Claude being caught up in a robbery, one whichhe gets blamed for. Hostages expect him to save the day like his moviepersona, but in reality JC has the same fears as anyone else, andsimply wants to get out alive.

    Van Damme's performance, is astonishing. He jumps off the screen andfinally manages to be unhindered in what is his first fully formedcharacter. Be it his emotiveness, comedic timing, or poignant deliveryof the already famous, and utterly sensational monologue, Van Damme isjust right on the money. He doesn't put a foot wrong. Added to this, JCis well supported by a very good cast. This is probably the best castVan Damme has had to work with. Just good actors, who play off the mainman well, and lend him fine support.

    Director Mabrouck El Mechri is also a revelation! What a way toannounce yourself to the film world. Far and away this is the bestdirection of any Jean Claude movie. Inventive, coherent, visuallyarresting, Mechri knows what he wants, knows what he's doing, anddelivers. From the magnificent opening long take of Van Damme gettingdown to the business of making an action film, to the monologue, andeverything in between and there-after, Mechri has a sure hand, loadedwith imagination and style, without going overboard. He's well aided bya Bastard! That's the unfortunately named Pierre-Yves Bastard, thecinematographer. Elsewhere, the sound design is superb, the film iswell edited, and the soundtrack, and score are excellent. In prettymuch every department, this is the best I've seen throughout VanDamme's career. It's a cracking film, with clever touches, a wittyscript, top performances, and brilliant on a technical level. Mechri'sobvious admiration for Scorsese, Lumet, Tarantino, amongst others, isclear, but all wrapped up in something very auteur and personal. Thefilm doesn't play out chronologically, but the structure makes sense.Every time there's a time shift, it has a logic to it. It's very wellconstructed.

    Overall, JCVD is an immensely satisfying and entertaining film. Funny,charming, poignant, and for Jean Claude, something very special. Hecould have a very good career re-birth as a character actor. I reallyhope he doesn't waste himself in action movies again. As far as theaction stars go, this is probably the best performance of anyone sinceStallone in Rocky, or Willis in Pulp Fiction. The script by Mechri,Benudis, and Turpin, has allowed an unbiased outside viewpoint to shapethe character, while Van Damme's own experience and acting ability, addthe extra layers to the fascinating construct. Sensibly Mechri doesn'tallow the film to focus too much on the Dog Day Afternoon scenario.It's all about Van Damme, and what a character! *****

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