Archive for May 12th, 2008

Wow, so you guys were ready for some more Van Dammage, eh?

I’m using Netflix’s summary here, because they do a better job than I can:

When kickboxing champ Eric Sloane is crippled in the ring by the evil Tong Po, Eric’s younger brother, Kurt (Jean Claude Van Damme), seeks vengeance. But if he’s to vanquish Po, Kurt must first learn a martial art known as Muay Thai, so he seeks out the expertise of fight guru Xian Chow. Thanks to Chow’s unconventional training methods, Kurt becomes an expert kickboxer. But is “the muscles from Brussels” good enough to defeat Tong Po?

I’m beginning to notice some remarkably consistent motifs among Van Damme movies; or at least, among Kickboxer and Bloodsport. It seems to be a requirement that you have a few things mixed in. Bad ’80’s synth music for the soundtrack is absolutely necessary. The “kumite” song has nothing on Kickboxer‘s soundtrack, which I’m convinced Matt Stone and Trey Parker must’ve listened to on repeat to write the songs for Team America: World Police. Seriously, if you’re watching, put the subtitles on so you can get the full brunt of the lyrics. It’s chock full of stuff like, “Time to be the best, oooh yeahhhhh” and so on and so forth. Everytime I hear the soundtrack to a typical Van Damme movie, I imagine some guy with a mullet rockin’ out hardcore on key-tar.

Secondly, it’s like Van Damme has it written into his contract that he must face some sort of psychotic Asian bad guy who’s morally bankrupt. Chong Lee and Tong Po aren’t that far off of each other. In Kickboxer, it’s JCVD’s brother that gets mangled, but in Bloodsport, it’s his devoted and dumb friend. Huh.

Training montages are definitely a requirement as is the idea of the old, snarky Asian fight master. Then you’ve gotta have the girl who always knows what’s best for Van Damme and for everyone else and has an opinion on everything.

Really, Kickboxer and Bloodsport are practically interchangeable. I guess Kickboxer’s the lesser of the two in my opinion, simply because the “kumite” song overrides everything for me, but there you go.

What I don’t get is how the dialogue in Van Damme movies could get any worse. I mean, we’ve all established that there are tree stumps and telephone poles that have more charisma and acting talent than Jean-Claude Van Damme, but seriously, that scriptwriting isn’t giving Jean-Claude Van-Wooden anything to work with in the slightest. Part of you really can’t blame poor old Jean-Claude because he’s as earnest as can be to win you over, but ends up being endearing in an over the top, comical fashion.

Oh, the bug eyes, the random “Hooahhhs”, the unnecessary emotional scenes in your movies, how they make me love you, Jean-Claude Van Damme.

But the dialogue is so terrible, so godawful, that you want to hurt yourself to make it stop. Lines like, “I’m the best there is, little brother, stop worrying!” delivered by a beefy dude that has no place pretending to be an actor, let alone JCVD’s “older brother” make you want to eat broken glass. (Also, note to that actor: Your jeri-curl is not helping matters either. Ick, a thousand times over.)

But in the end…isn’t that why we love these movies? They’re so bad they’re good? It seems to be a running theme here on 1,416 and Counting but I can’t help but love these crazy, goofy-bad movies.

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