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JCVD

A comic but poignant collision of biography and filmography
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  November 11, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

jcvd_inside.jpg


Action hunk Jean-Claude Van Damme, who hasn't had a US theatrical release in years, found a more creative venue than Celebrity Rehab in which to seek redemption. The actor plays a partly fictionalized version of himself in Mabrouk El Mechri's comic but poignant JCVD.

Bitter over his rejection by Hollywood and bruised by a child-custody battle, the star returns to Belgium to lick his wounds chez maman-papa. Biography and filmography collide as the jet-lagged Jean-Claude gets mixed up in the kind of hostage drama that one of his characters would resolve with a series of spinning kicks. The irony of his real-life powerlessness sends the screen hero into a dark night of the soul.

The focus here is more on the bags under Van Damme's eyes than the bulges in his biceps — and he gives a compelling performance. Meanwhile, El Mechri paints Brussels in the drained tones of a dystopian sci-fi movie, and punctuates his meditation on fame with a trippy jazz/soul score.

[French + English] 96 minutes | Kendall Square

Related: Review: Videocracy, Go global!, Gabriel Kuri and Francis Alÿs look at the ordinary, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Belgium, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jean-Claude Van Damme,  More more >
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