No. 16: Jean-Claude Van Damme — Top Action Movie Stars
I grew up at the perfect time and place to worship Jean-Claude Van Damme as a kid. I never missed a Van Damme film in the 1980s and early 1990s, and when his star began to fade a little bit, I always wished I could get in touch with him to offer him some pointers. (The most important tip, obviously, was that he should always have a tournament in his movies.) Van Damme falls firmly within all the guidelines of this particular article, and he’d rank much higher if this were an ‘80s-only list.
It must be noted that Van Damme came to prominence first as a successful martial artist. His early film incredibleness like ‘Bloodsport’ and ‘Kickboxer’ did give way to the unfortunate ‘Street Fighter’ film, and then a DTV hell. But, like Stallone before him, Van Damme has kicked back with a recent comeback! ‘JCVD’ was a great film and Van Damme’s performance is stunning. Then the latest ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ was better than the original film! ‘Expendables 2’ marks his return to the big screen and my hope is that Van Damme split kicks his way back up into the B-list with haste!
[Kicks a man into liquid nitrogen] "I guess I should have told him to ‘freeze’” -– Max Walker, ‘Timecop’