They Call Me Monsieur Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme

As last night's sold-out Alamo midnight screening of Jean-Claude Van Damme's newest, JCVD, proved the muscles from Brussels has returned from the cinematic D-list he's been inhabiting for much of his career. Alamo founder Tim League put it best when, during the film's Fantastic Fest screening earlier this year, he said: "Somebody write this guy a good script, because the man can fucking act!"

Oui, c'est vrai. JCVD can fucking act, and this is most definitely something of a career resurrection/persona redefinition we're witnessing. The film rocks, balls out, no apologies. But it was not always thus for the kickboxer nonpareil, who once sported a mullet so gaudy that it murdered John Woo's stateside film career before it even had a chance to begin.

And, too, are the reams of quasi-zen aphorisms that surely made more sense in his native French than they do in English.

JCVD? Don't call it a comeback, he's been weird for years....

The Wit and Wisdom and Filmic Folly of the late, less-than-great Jean-Clod Van Dumb:

"T'as pas besoin d'un flash quand tu photographies un lapin qui a déja les yeux rouges." (You don't need a flash to photograph a rabbit that already has red eyes.")

"Selon les statistiques, il y a une personne sur cinq qui est déséquilibrée. S'il y a quatre personnes autour de toi et qu'elles te semblent normales, c'est pas bon." ("According to statistics, one out of five persons is disturbed. If there are four people around you who seem normal, thats not good.")

"Si tu téléphones a une voyante et qu'elle ne décroche pas avant que ça sonne, raccroche." ("If you phone a psychic and she doesn't answer the phone before it rings, hang up.")

"Un biscuit ça n'a pas de spirit, c'est juste un biscuit. Mais, avant c'était du lait, des oeufs. Et, dans les oeufs, il y a la vie potentielle." ("A cookie has no soul, it's just a cookie. But before it was milk and eggs. And in eggs there's the potential for life."

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Inside the Mind of the Muscles
Inside the Mind of the Muscles
Jean-Claude Van Damme on being Jean-Claude Van Damme

Marc Savlov, Nov. 21, 2008

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JCVD, Jean-Claude Van Damme

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