Jean Claude Van Damme is a martial arts and action movie legend.
He came to prominence with some of the best martial arts films to be created for the world. Hits like Bloodsport and Kickboxer were very successful and helped cement his legacy. This led to several other films that were not as martial arts focused but were still action packed. Films like Universal Soldier, Street Fighter, and several others kept JCVD in the spotlight.
His film appearances over time have diminished and he has not had what you would call a movie hit in recent memory. He did appear in the action blockbuster The Expendables 2 in 2012 and lent his voice to two Kung Fu Panda movies. His movie roles lately have been direct to video or video on demand. His last film to draw some buzz outside the hardcore JCVD fans was Kickboxer: Vengeance. People were excited he was returning to reprise his classic role. Unfortunately for them, the movie was horrible and panned by anyone that saw it.
JCVD in the classic Bloodsport.
Fans still love JCVD, but not much is expected from his films aside from b-rate action movies. It now seems that might change. His new film is called Lukas in France, but around the world, it will be released as The Bouncer. French director Julien Leclercq is at the helm of the movie and it looks like he has done a fantastic job.
The story follows a 50 something-year-old bouncer named Lukas (played by JCVD) as he struggles to raise his eight-year-old daughter. Life has not been kind to Lukas, as he fights to keep custody of his daughter while the underworld he tries to avoid comes calling.
This movie looks different than most of his recent work. With his last few movies, you can immediately tell they are put together to satisfy the viewers need for action and not much attention is given to the story. It is all about the fight scenes and nothing else. In this film, it seems that the fighting is a subtext to the story. It will still be a big part of it, but the film seems to have depth. The cinematography is also a huge difference. It looks phenomenal, something that most of his movies don’t seem to have. It is very reminiscent of movies such as Drive and Only God Forgives.
This definitely seems like one worth watching and who knows it might kick off JCVD’s movie career again. He is hugely popular with martial arts fans, but in the movie business, you have to reach a wider audience. Maybe this is the role that can bring him back to the mainstream. If Stallone can come back with the Rocky movies and Arnold can still get parts in his Terminator movies. Then JCVD should be able to get on big budget movies like those.
Even if this doesn’t catapult his career back to mainstream movies I will still be watching and supporting. Van Damme always delivers action and in the end that is what his fans love him for. Until Lukas is released I will patiently wait for the next trailer to be released.