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Jean Claude Van Damme (Appreciation Thread)

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Double Impact(1990)

 

(Brief Biography)

Born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg on the 18th of Octobber 1960. Jean Claude started his training in Martial Arts at the age of twelve, training under Claude Goetz. After being seriously impressed by the Bruce Lee movie Enter The Dragon(1973). He would later get one of the film’s stars Bolo Yeung, to appear in a movie with him. After four years studying Karate he earned a place among the Belgium Karate Team. By 1976 he was a serious Martial Artist, and competed in both full and semi-contact point fighting, until he retired in 1982. While still living in Europe, he owned a gym in Brussels and even won the Mr Belgium bodybuilding contest.

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The Mr Belgium contest (1978)

Van Damme started his movie career with bit parts in European productions in the early 80s. He later broke into American films with the Asian/American co-production of No Retreat No Surrender(1986), playing the villain Ivan Kraschinsky. He also played a villain again in the Sho Kosgui film Black Eagle(1988). Van Damme even tried his luck in Hong Kong but was turned down by producers their. Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai fo IFD films famously turned him down, saying they didn’t have the time to make a film with him. According to IMDB he also had an un-credited role in the Chuck Norris actioner Missing In Action?. A chance to play a role in Predator as the Alien didn't work out. After only a few days on set he left the production. Though it’s rumoured he was let go because he didn’t look right in the costume. I don’t think any of his footage appeared in the finished film as they re-designed the creature?.

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With Carl Weathers, on the set of Predator(1987)

The film that made him a big cinematic name was Bloodsport, based loosely on the real life of Frank Dux. Co-starring the well built Bolo Yeung as the stories main antagonist. The movie was not released until two years after production, due to Cannons negative opinion of the production. I’m not sure how true this can be as many of their films were not exactly high art. He continued to make low budget actioners such as Cyborg, Death Warrant and A.W.O.L. These films didn’t set the box office alight, but built him a good fan base. It was the film Kickboxer(1989) that cemented his success in Martial Arts film history. The production also starred one of Jean Claude childhood friends and future collaborator Michel Qissi, as the menacing  Tong Po.The movie became a big hit across the globe. His second big budget Box office smash was Universal Soldier, moving him up into the Hollywood A-List. Sadly problems in his personal life meant his spot at the top didn’t last as long as it should have. Soon his films began to flop and Hollywood turned its back on the Belgium star. The actor received critical praise for his introspective performance in 2008 JCVD, playing himself. playing himself. After years of appearing in B-Movies and Hong Kong/US co-productions, he got a second break thanks to Sylvester Stallone asking him to appear in The Expendables sequel in 2012. With a scene stealing performance as the films bad guy, Vilain.

He's still showing no signs of slowing down in the gym or on the moive set. With the recent Amazon original series Jean Claude Van Johnson, where pokes fun at his own movie image. In 2016 he appeared in the Kickboxer re-boot alongside Alian Moussi and Dave Bautista. Playing one of his greatest screen characters in the form of Kickboxing teacher Master Durand. Then there's the two movies currently in pre-production as I write this, Kickboxer Retaliation and Black Water, the latter featuring his Universal Solider co-star Dolph Lundgren.

 

Celebrating the success of Bloodsport, with friend  Michel Qissi

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This is the place to share your Van Damme news, pictures, opinions, reviews, etc.

Edited by DragonClaws

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The Austrian Oak meets The Muscles From Brussels, during production of Universal Solider(1992).

 

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Cigar time.

 

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From left to right, Dr Franco Columbo(Mr Olympia), Van Damme, Ralf Moeller(Gladiator/Mr Universe), Arnold Schwazenegger.

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Luc Deveraux and John(Scott Adkins), are about to collide in Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning(2012)

Loved the visually striking face paint, that they created for Van Damme's character. Its a world away from the Ronald Emmerich movie, but in the case of this sequel, thats a good thing. A very dark, gritty, action packed take on the Universal Soldier idea.

 

 

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