Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 10 Van Damme Flicks

A Superkick Post by Alan Trehern

Listen, we all know Top 10 lists are bogus. Whether they be at the beginning of the year, or at the end of a decade, or whatever, what you're basically getting is some schmuck's dopey opinion for 10 bullet points. And unless you're a gelatinous Ditto who lacks the ability to form your own ideas, you probably disagree with some, if not all, of the items on the Top 10 list in question.

What I'm getting at is that you cannot disagree with this Top 10 list. The best Van Damme movies out there have been assembled for one night only at the greatest movie blog ever manned, We don't even need a Top 10 list for that one. The Van Damme 10 is the apex of action and martial arts, and the epitome of hard work and maximum damage. Van Dammage!

"Never Surrender" - Stan Bush (aka The Man)

NOTE: If the title is highlighted, that means there's a review for that movie here at NJNM! Oooh, lucky you!

10. Bloodsport (1988) - Man, what I wouldn't give to fall into a storyline where I needed to learn some foreign martial art form and then beat 10s of guys to be the champ of a small, southeast Asian fighting muay tai association. In Bloodsport, Van Damme is invited to a fighting tournament something. Fame? Fortune? A shattered femur? Who knows. But the common theme in this movie is never give up...and fighting tournaments are f*cking bad ass.

Worth mentioning? The soundtrack. Personal friend of the NJNM podcast, Stan Bush, is on it. 'Nuff said.

9. Kickboxer (1989) - In Kickboxer, a similar situation to Bloodsport (see above) presents itself for Van Damme, except this time he must learn the art of Thai boxing to avenge his dead brother...who died while IN THE RING!!! Are you understanding this, people? These guys are dying for the blood, the sport, and the KICKBOXING!!

It's good to know that Van Damme dabbled in a lot of the writing for his movies, this one included. Probably why they're so good? Well, heh, I'm not going to be the one to make that statement; the movies speak for themselves, my friend.

NOTE: Kickboxer also features songs from Stan Bush. How is this guy not the John Williams of action movies, seriously?

8. Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) - Haha, the look on your face is priceless! "Hey, what about Universal Soldier Uno, dude, with Dolph Lundgren? Are you completely nuts, Trehern?" Well, no, but thanks for asking. UniSoldier2 stars Van Damme and a famous wrestler known as GOLDBERG! And when you see 16+ plates of glass shattered during the epic battle scenes in this movie, you'll definitely agree that like The Empire Strikes Back, UniSoldier2 is better than its predecessor. And its straight-to-TV sequels... And most of what Van Damme did in the 2000s (sorry, buddy). [Review of the entire Universal Soldier series can be found here.]

7. Maximum Risk (1996) - And now we've arrived at the first of many movies where Jean Claude Van Damme plays opposite...Jean Claude Van Damme. To make things easier on myself and for everyone involved, let's just go to the Wiki page for this movie to get a quick synopsis:

"Alain Moreau (Jean-Claude Van Damme [!]) is a cop in Nice, France. Alain is at a funeral that is being held for a fellow cop, when Alain’s partner Sebastien (Jean-Hugues Anglade) shows up [?]. They discover that his name was Mikhail Suverov, and Mikhail was born on exactly the same day Alain was [!!!]. As it turns out, Mikhail is the twin brother Alain never knew he had [THE HELL?!?!?!]."
If I was a betting man, I'd go all in Van Damme wrote that paragraph.

6. Double Impact (1991) - For one of many movies that features two Van Dammes, this one is probably the best. **prepares best voiceover voice** When Chad and Alex were children, their parents were killed by a gang of Triads. Separated at birth, one came to Los Angeles, the other raised on the rough streets of Hong Kong. One's good. One's bad. Can they work together to avenge their parents' murder??? Find out next on the TBS Wednesday night movie, DOUBLE IMPACT! 8:07 ET / 7:07 CT

Great date movie...

5. Timecop (1994) - Aaaand, we've cracked the Top 5! Welcome! And look at that! A movie we talked about at length on the world famous Not Just New Movie Podcast! Time travel! Unnecessary time traveling pods! Mia Sara's bare breasts!!! If these great aspects aren't enough to win you over, then frankly my dear, I don't give a Van Damme!!!

4. Lionheart (1990) - When Lyon Gaultier escapes from the French Foreign Legion after hearing about the gruesome death of his brother (not a twin), he comes to LA to get some money for his estranged sister-in-law and niece. But bagging groceries isn't solid enough employment, so Lyon starts bare-knuckle brawling for a hot, power-hungry Deb Rennard (look her up, kids). Great movie...Trehern totally and legitimately means that.

3. Street Fighter: The Movie (1994) - If Van Damme wasn't drinking $100,000 champagne from a Wolverine boot in 1994, I'd be surprised. Another great installment in the Van Damme library, Street Fighter had so many great characters and performances and action sequences*, that I was actually stunned into a coma the first time I watched it (i.e. I fell asleep). But I've watched it multiple times since, and it's so far up the list, I bought it on DVD! And made a sequel!!

* NOTE: The word "great" is thrown around quite a bit when Trehern describes things, so the word's pure meaning may be extensively diluted at this point.

2. The Quest (1996) - Let me preface this explanation by saying that some of my favorite movies are terrible. Just down right deplorable. We good? Great.

I love The Quest. I remember the first time I watched it VOD-style, and I sat agape as Van Damme went from being a 1920s street clown, to being kidnapped by boat captain Roger Moore, to somehow getting invited to a world fighting tournament and then ending the movie by beating up some hoodlums in a bar in the future... Man, I could go on all day about this film. Would I suggest it to the cinedouche community? Hell no!! They don't deserve to experience this much fun! But if fun's what your after, check out The'll start off pretty abysmally, but you'll learn to love it.

1. Sudden Death (1995) - Some may call Rudy the greatest sports movie of all time. Some may suggest that Gone with the Wind is the greatest achievement in cinematic history. Well, I have a movie that may blur both those categories. Sudden Death is the riveting tale of a hockey stadium fire marshal and his quest **wink wink** to diffuse a series of bombs laid by the evil Powers Boothe. With the first appearance of the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot, Iceburgh, this movie has everything: children in danger, the emotionless killing of VIP box seat guests, death by dishwasher...and the locking of eyes as a helicopter crashes through the roof of the Civic Arena and plummets into the ice!! But don't take my word for it...check it out for yourself!!

Hope you enjoyed this look back on Van Damme's career, and hopefully you've learned a little bit about me, whether you wanted to or not. And hell, this list may be altered as I watch more and more of Van Damme's exciting filmography! Looks like he finally agreed to be in the Expendables 2, so you never know! We might have a new #1 on our hands soon!
"I'll be seeing you again...REAL soon."


Ben Pearson said...

This was really solid. I look back on some of these movies with fond memories, even though most of them really aren't what normal people would call "good." The Quest is awesomely ridiculous, and I've still yet to see Lionheart. Glad Cyborg and Knock Off stayed in the two dollar bins where they belong, though...

Panther Joe said...

I can't believe you've seen ten JCVD movies, much less be able to rank them. Impressive, and probably the best thing you've ranked number one since you had your alter ego from cornfields 60's date Raquel Welsh and ranked her as the top Trehern GF of all time.

The Real Alan Trehern said...

Wow, Raquel Welsh, huh? It was a tight race between her and Ann Margaret, but I guess Trehern wins either way. Score.

Flipper Anderson said...

In this analogy, Jackie S is the Bengals, Grape flavored anything, Batman & Robin, Jigglypuff, and Trehern managed Pun War teams and fantasy teams.

Snap burn, dude. Great article!

KaiserSaucy said...

You have missed some really good stuff off this list. Check out 'In Hell' which is excellent & see's JCVD turn in a good and convincing performance. Hard Target - JC helps a woman searching for her father. He was homeless and a group which hires homeless veteran's for a manhunt is responsible. They fear being exposed and try to kill JC's character and the woman...big mistake which leads to serious VanDammage. And then there is the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always entertaining JCVD. A film which is hard to describe...just watch it & realise that JC's acting has improved with age. It's a very impressive performance from him & the film is a real departure from his usual standard action flicks. Hat's off to him for the performance & this film is excellent.