JCVD

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 27 2009

Jean Claude van Damme was never an obvious candidate for a midlife crisis, chugging merrily through a parade of identikit beat-’em-ups for the global DVD market. But frustration has been building, erupting in the form of ‘JCVD’, a witty, oddball postmodern  actioner in which the Muscles gets to beat the bad guys, lampoon his tough guy image, tear a strip off the media and bare his battered soul.

Taking a simple heist structure – terrorists hijack the bank JC, playing a scripted version of himself, happens to be patronising – director Mabrouk el Mechri constructs a compelling, if rather unambitious narrative. But plot is irrelevant here, the script so focused on van Damme that it could almost work as a one-man play: a scene where he rises to the ceiling and delivers a hallucinatory soliloquy of wry self-pity has to be an early contender for most bizarrely moving scene of the year. Unpredictable, engaging  and even challenging, ‘JCVD’ is an intriguing oddity.
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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|5
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Koo

Awesome movie, many of the reviews indicate how touching some parts were, but no critic had the guts to award this film more than 3 out of 5 stars. Maybe the likes of Van Damme have to struggle to shift the current that moves under the gravity of a thousand sub-par action movies (many of which involve him playing twins...) However, much of the story relies on the cliches of his repertoire, and would not be as touching without his dubious past. His past acting choices aside (for the review at least), this film deserves 4 stars.

Andy S

A very interesting take on the 'struggling action-man' genre populated by Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes and Van Damme himself. The big guy bares his soul in this, and proves, like Bruce Willis did in Pulp Fiction, that he can actually act. Wonderful and refreshing.

Justin Berkovi

Back in the day I was a big Van Damme fan but he's never been elevated beyond perhaps a core fan-base (Of which I'm sure is fairly huge). With JCVD though he pushes everything on to a new level and I hope sincerely that he's now offerred more compelling roles. JCVD is a fantastic gem of a film. It is believable, clever, beautifully shot and Van Damme is just brilliant at well, being himself. There are moments of subtle humour, some action but more importantly a stellar and moving performance from Van Damme. If you're a fan you'll quite possibly relish the actor being placed in this vehicle - if not then it is a great insight into 'movie star' status and the everyday problems possibly associated with it. The film finished and I was left feeling great heart for Van Damme and hope to see more from him.

Justin Berkovi

Back in the day I was a big Van Damme fan but he's never been elevated beyond perhaps a core fan-base (Of which I'm sure is fairly huge). With JCVD though he pushes everything on to a new level and I hope sincerely that he's now offerred more compelling roles. JCVD is a fantastic gem of a film. It is believable, clever, beautifully shot and Van Damme is just brilliant at well, being himself. There are moments of subtle humour, some action but more importantly a stellar and moving performance from Van Damme. If you're a fan you'll quite possibly relish the actor being placed in this vehicle - if not then it is a great insight into 'movie star' status and the everyday problems possibly associated with it. The film finished and I was left feeling great heart for Van Damme and hope to see more from him.

Nelson

This is a different movie. I wanted to see roundhouse kicks and back-flips. I wanted mindless action. Instead, an art film. I forgot that The Angelica's 3'x5' silver sliver (Theatre 4) and subtitles usually offer nothing in the way of escape, serving instead, a large box of the hyper-pensive and depressed without butter. El Merchi's film is beautiful. He's paints wildly with high-contrast and dusty, faded green. Van Damme's star power is immediately evident, even as the tired, slouched, pathetic and carefully crafted character. The movie delivers only a single action sequence, shot in one take that runs close to 5 minutes. That's worth $12. As is JCVD's monologue, during which he floats to the ceiling while explaining with desperate honesty exactly what it's been like to be JCVD. Aside from the frustration of having to read subtitles to an occasionally rambling script and constantly hoping for what never comes, JCVD kicking the shit out of people, the film is very enjoyable. I would love to see JCVD return to the screen