You remember Jean-Claude Van Damme, don’t you? Chances are you do, but just saying his name makes you smirk or laugh dismissively. His “big” films back in the day weren’t exactly Oscar-caliber dramas and since his heyday, he hasn’t done much to improve on that thought . . . until JCVD. In the film, Jean-Claude plays Jean-Claude, but you’re not quite sure how much of what you’re seeing is the real Jean-Claude, or a fictional version of Jean-Claude. The events that happen are fictional—the titular action star accidentally becomes involved in a post office hostage situation that could be right out of one of his movies—but the fact that he is who he is alters the situation. What happens sticks close enough to reality to let you in on what being famous for something that’s not respected is like. It’s still clear though that, for sure, the real Jean-Claude is actually acting, not just being himself. It’s all very confusing in a Being John Malkovich “what happens when a man goes through his own portal?” kind of way, but surprisingly effective, and also affecting, especially the long monologue Jean-Claude delivers toward the end of the film. Who would’ve thunk that “The Muscles from Brussels” could tell us something significant about American culture and the cult of celebrity? But JCVD does.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes and a digital copy