Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Tribute to the Muscles from Brussels

I just finished watching two newer films by my favorite action star, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and felt an entry would be well-suited. When one discusses awesome, yet cheap and bad, VD must always be mentioned. He is the real deal. Why? I don’t have much scientific or empirical evidence except that he is so sensational in all of his roles and characters and I would love to kick some people in the face like he does. He has good looks (appealing to both sexes, thus, he maintains a bisexual attraction), made it to the big screen many times, is an actual actor (not like a stupid Steven Seagal), and is awesome in every way. Wanna know something else about him? He inspired Ed Boon and John Tobias to create one of the greatest videogame franchises, Mortal Kombat! Notice the resemblance of Johnny Cage as the character from Bloodsport.

What authority do I have in this case? Not to brag or anything but of his 35 or so movies, I have watched about 30 and own 1/3 of all his films. I wish I could say that I’ve seen all his films but I’ll get there. While on I found out that he was in Kung Fu Panda 2 as Master Croc which actually, makes it his most successful film. Ironic, isn’t it? Anyways, I’ve seen MANY of his films, not all. I’m a bit more than a mere fan and have some authority

To begin, this guy is awesome because he allows other stars to share the screen. He got his break from Chuck Norris, so he offers the same. For example, Mr. Scott Adkins has been included in many of his newer films. He’s just starting to make it big and I think that by teaming up with VD can only do good. A few of his films which VD has been on the same screen with are Rob Schneider (Knock Off), Charlton Heston (The Order), Mickey Rourke & Dennis Rodman (Double Team), and Dolph Lundren & Goldberg (Universal Soldier). In addition, he plays the martial artist Frank W. Dux in Bloodsport so we do have  some proof that he isn’t cocky and can’t appreciate others.

What do I say his best movies are?

5. The Quest (’96)

4. Street Fighter (’94)

3. In Hell (’03)

2. Bloodsport (’88)

1. JCVD (’08)

Now these films give off VDs best talents, both acting and physical. JCVD tops this list because he plays himself. He has issues in the real world, which come to light in this film. Of particular interest is a monologue which parallels his actual life. He has suffered emotionally (divorces and addictions) and financially (box office flops), which puts a new light on this struggling actor. Time Magazine actually voted this monologue as the 2nd best performance of 2008, next to Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. Let’s keep moving…

VD is getting old! It’s not a bad thing but his characters are becoming more mature, emotional, and less physical. I find it so hard to see him as a drama guy because I’ve grown up with battles in the ring and his bright facial expressions. Yes, he is the Muscles from Brussels but after doing at least 30 movies, those scars and wrinkles start to show. It’s sad to say but he doesn’t pull off any of his earlier work feats, including his trademarked, jumping split 360 heel kick. VD is also a professional martial artist. He doesn’t compete anymore but before his film career got started his had many championships and victories.

Anyways, the two movies that I just saw didn’t offer any new insight on VD. Assassination Games (AG) had a good story for being straight-to-DVD, and The Shepherd, was just plain bad. AG had Scott Adkins who I don’t really like because I think he is really ugly and his movie Ninja made me want to cry. The movie turned me around on Adkins who I think can do something legit now.

Let us all look forward to seeing VD in The Expendables 2, being released August 17th of this year and also a British Sci-Fi thriller called U.F.O. I’m a fan of VD on Facebook (you should too) and he has been talking about Expendables 2 lately. He plays a villain (not the first time) and will star in a “fight of the ages”. So in tribute to the Muscles from Brussels, go do a jumping split 360 heel kick to your best friend… or go watch one of his films. I’m sure he’d appreciate the latter more.

One response to “Tribute to the Muscles from Brussels

  1. CultureCast-Z January 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I loved The Quest when I was in junior high. I’d love to revisit it.

    I’ve never been a fan of Bloodsport though. Pretty much everyone I know loves it, but I just don’t have the nostalgia for it that most people do I guess.

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