Jean-Claude Van Damme gets involved in a bank robbery with hostages situation and reflects about his life during it.Jean-Claude Van Damme gets involved in a bank robbery with hostages situation and reflects about his life during it.Jean-Claude Van Damme gets involved in a bank robbery with hostages situation and reflects about his life during it.
The direction makes all the difference
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 for everyone. I'm a big Van Damme fan and I have all the films he ever made so I'm gonna concentrate my comment around Van Damme. The first thing I'll say is that this movie is his best and possibly one of the best movies of the year. Going to the theatre, I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, after all it's Jean Claude Van Damme and you see his movies for the action and his high kicks not for his acting. But the director made all the difference in Jean Claude's performance. The concept itself helps a lot. Van Damme is playing himself, so he's not playing one of his stereotyped roles. Furthermore, him speaking in his native language made a huge impact on his performance. He's more natural and more authentic which made him more credible. Compared to all other movies he appeared in, this is a revelation. The comedic tone of the movie is also something to be noted. The jokes are well done but what makes the difference is the jokes focused on Van Damme. The reference to his roundhouse kicks are just hilarious. Two moments especially shine in this regard. The first one is the demonstration in the 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 Damage feel to them. Also worth mentioning are his personal goofy quotes in french. The one when he's interviewed by a french journalist who asks him about the total of 1+1 will leave you breathless. Not to mention the courthouse sequence which was so funny. But the best moment of the movie remains his monologue to the camera. For five minutes, or so, he goes back to his life. He talks about how he believed in the American dream, 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 classic cinema moment in all senses. It felt more a confession than anything else. It was moving and genuine and you can feel the human being behind The Muscles from Brussels image. The other thing to be noted is the long shot at the beginning of the movie. It was hilarious and it summarizes in a sense all of Van Damme's career: Gunfights, high kicks, goofy acting you name them. In the end, the direction of the film really sets it apart from any other Van Damme's movies. The director knew how to get the best of Van Damme and put together a film that felt genuine and true. However, some questions remain. What's Van Damme going to do from now on? Will he be recognized as an accomplished actor? Will he get scripts that show him more as a human being rather than a bulk of muscles? Will he be making more European films rather than keep on making straight to DVD films? I can't say, but one thing remains for certain: JCVD is the rebirth of JCVD.
- Oct 12, 2008
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