(No longer in theaters)
Peach Arch Entertainment/Vitagraph Films
Nov 7, 2008
Jean-Claude Van Damme goes arty—and meta—in JCVD. He plays himself, past his prime, impoverished by alimony and child support, back in Belgium to recover his human equilibrium—and suddenly caught up in a hostage situation in a bank. Van Damme largely sits there, helpless, while people wait for him to do something heroic. At one point, he delivers a long, tortured soliloquy about his alienating stardom to the camera in a single take. It’s the most amazing piece of acting I’ve ever seen by a martial artist. But the film itself doesn’t rise above the level of a good try. For no clear reason, director Mabrouk El Mechri has drained off the color; the brownish-yellow palette is not just hard on the eyes, it reinforces the monotony. In the absence of Godardian wit, JCVD needs more kickboxing.