It still makes no sense to me that JCVD looks good. It seems so desperate and easy, Jean-Claude Van Damme agreeing to play himself, mocking his career--like so many scandal-makers doing SNL cameos to win back the public--but somehow it works. Even with this brief trailer, Van Damme makes himself entirely sympathetic and surprisingly funny, and I come away really wanting to like the aging action star--and desperately hoping rumors of Universal Solider III aren't true. Please don't go from JCVD to that, Jean-Claude. I only took you back because you promised not to drink anymore, and doing another Universal Solider is like running straight to the terrible action movie liquor store.
Is it a possible that a semi-fictional account of the life of Jean-Claude Van Damme--if made effectively sad and funny, tragically self-aware of the actor's joke-like status and resumé, while adding a plot about his involvement in a bank robbery--could actually be pretty great? Strangely, if this trailer to JCVD is any indication, that just might be the case. It feels a bit forced-edgy-Snatch-eque at times, but there's still something oddly compelling about it. Who would have thought Van Damme would do a scene as a father in a courtroom custody battle that wouldn't end in his snapping the judge's tibia with a jump kick?
MTV has a new interview up with Jean-Claude Van Damme, in which he discusses his dissatisfaction with previous roles, his park in the upcoming J.C.V.D., and future directorial projects, with such choices quotes as:
My body looks like 30 but my face looks like 50. But I cannot walk bare-chested in the streets.
After 37 movies, I said, "I will never do another movie I would not like." What Mabrouk did to me, it's like Scorsese did to De Niro years ago.
Worth reading if you're interested in why Van Damme turned down both Rush Hour ("I cannot go and do three somersaults. I would feel like a monkey.") and a Street Fighter sequel (sudden dignity?), or just for his lofty J.C.V.D. summary. Plus, this gives me another excuse to post this.
I don't know if it's sadder that Jean-Claude Van Damme is attempting to poke some fun at himself with this fake biography, JCVD (a pre-sell teaser for Cannes), or that it's light years from being the funniest video of Jean-Claude Van Damme on the internet, which is here.