If you know me at all or are wondering aloud about who I am as a person, then here is a quick fact: I love Jean Claude Van Damme movies. Can’t get enough. The first rated R movie I was allowed to see in theaters was Sudden Death. I remember my friend Dan Zaratsian and I on the playground in 7th grade being so pumped to go see The Quest after school that we bypassed our usual recess ritual of extended make-out sessions with the hottest chicks who grew boobs first, in order to create some of the fight scenes that we hoped would be in the movie we were about to see.
I don’t care that each Van Damme “character” has the same fighting style or that Brussels McGee has the inability to have an American accent. I also don’t care that every movie he’s in loves the replay of the same kick from a different angle so you never really know if JCVD got three awesome spinning back-kicks in or just one. Please see below for Van Damme to land either one or 32 kicks (at the 2:45 mark).
Regardless, I KNOW that Jean-Claude (kinda takes away from his badassery when you just refer to him by his first and a half name) is a much better actor than you may think. Oscar worthy says this guy.
Case in point, the final fight scene in Lionheart. Now before all of you say “but Anthony, that’s not fair, Lionheart is such a well rounded film that I could have acted circles in it too.” Let’s take a look at the checklist:
- Air-tight script. Check
- Phenomenal fight location shoots (racquetball courts, P-Diddy style pool parties where the deep end is actually the shallow end, warehouse fights). Check
- Sex appeal (onesie workout clothes) and subtle racism (homeless black guy). Check and Check
For those of you who haven’t seen it, JCVD fights for money to support his sister-in-law and niece (You’re welcome, Warrior & Here Comes The Boom writers’, for your inspiration) .
Anyways, our hero strides into the fight of his life against Atila, an actual killer, in the final fight scene.and Van Damme opts out of the MMA style giddups that you see today. Instead, he goes for the skin tight, pre-Under Armour t-shirt tucked into some mom jeans that are pulled up a good two inches above his belly button. FIGHT OF HIS LIFE! UNDERDOG EXTRAORDINAIRE! Everyone bets against him and think that he is going to die. LET’S GET IT ON! The fight starts and down goes Frazier (JCDV in this case). Atila is winning (like 45 punches and kicks to Van Damme’s three). In mid-fight, JCVD has a heart to heart with his friend/betrayer/trainer/manager, Joshua. Joshua tells him to stay down, the whole bets on Atila, he’s gonna die, dogs are living with cats, MASS HYSTERIA! When JCVD responds “wrong bet,” one of two things happen to you. You either cry (female) or get an extreme erection (male). Then to top it off, JCVD does his patented ‘grunt/yell/moan’ thing that he, and only he, could ever pull off. Please fast forward to :55 of the clip below to have a full release. What other other actor could scream like that in that moment, with that much blood, and his pants pulled up so high? I have NO ONE in mind and I bet you don’t either. That is all…
Extreme Awesome Fact: The dude that plays “Atila” in Lionheart is real life brothers with the guy that plays “Tong Po” in Kickboxer.
Anthony Fanelli is an actor, writer and comedian who’s been in things and done some stuff. Check out his site here: www.anthony-fanelli.com and his IMDB Here. He also peaked at the age of 21 during his small school college football days.