Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. A reality-twisting cousin to "Being John Malkovich" -- showcases a Van Damme who's sly like a fox about his own image.
  2. One of the best movies playing in Portland is, I kid you not, a loopy dramatic thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
  3. Post-JCVD, we'll never again be able to think of Van Damme as just another kickboxer turned actor. Van Damme is an actor, pure and simple, and proves that he is just as deft and accomplished as the movies in which he appears.
  4. 75
    Van Damme says worse things about himself than critics would dream of saying, and the effect is shockingly truthful.
  5. The film sags in the middle section, and it's more a novelty item than a fully formed work . But it's very entertaining. And Van Damme proves himself a brave, possibly foolhardy actor, which is more than Steven Seagal ever did.
  6. JCVD juggles humor with whomping martial-arts moves and a kind of melancholy star turn from the melancholy, muscular star.
  7. A shrewd satire about stardom and the cult of celebrity.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    JCVD is a whimsical twist on the biopic, sending up heist movies and breaking cinematic rules to interesting effect. At a critical moment, Van Damme rises out of a tense hostage situation to look into the camera and speak movingly to the audience. He has never seemed more convincing.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    JCVD may not be the first meta-musclehead movie, but it's certainly the most surprising.
  10. Unlike "Being John Malkovich," which JCVD sometimes resembles, there is no secret portal to the star's head; instead, the audience gets a fleeting glimpse through the smeared window of his soul.
  11. You'll respect him more as an actor if you see this film – and you should, even if you haven't enjoyed the action movies he's made over two decades.
  12. An inspired melding of action thriller, satire and biographical drama through the looking glass of a funhouse mirror.
  13. Reviewed by: Bernard Besserglik
    JCVD should entertain both movie and action buffs. Van Damme proves once and for all that he's not just a set of glistening pectorals. However, he's still in no danger of being asked to play Hamlet.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Van Damme has been known as a martial-arts legend, movie star and pain in the ass. But never an actor -- until now.
  15. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    A French-language meta-movie parody par excellence, constitutes the headiest stretch of the beefy star's career since, well, ever.
  16. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Inventive, insightful and utterly surprising movie. It takes you places you're not prepared to go: namely, into the soul of a performer best known for flying back kicks. Who, by the way, can act.
  17. 70
    This functions perfectly well as a Van Damme vehicle, but it's also a funny and poignant look at a man trapped by his own ridiculous reputation.
  18. 67
    A canny piece of autobiography that looks at the man behind the legend and the legend behind the man.
  19. Who knew? Turns out, Jean-Claude Van Damme is a funny guy, and a pretty good actor, too. Fans may already be aware of this, but JCVD is likely to introduce a whole new Van Damme to everybody else.
  20. 60
    What exactly is JCVD? Comedy? Confession? Confusion? No one will ever mistake these backstage shenanigans for "Irma Vep." But as a self-regarding expression of masculine angst, it's a Damme sight more fun than "Synecdoche."
  21. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    The giddy near-brilliance of its central conceit is squandered by flat execution.
  22. 50
    Van Damme's remarkable performance -- I say this in all seriousness -- comes pretty close to redeeming the picture's murky and overly complicated artistic intentions.
  23. At one point, Van Damme 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.
  24. 50
    Some of this is affecting, some of it tedious, and the film's inconsistencies of tone are made more glaring by its peculiar look.
  25. 38
    Combines a sketch-comedy premise with pacing like a philosophy seminar.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Aug 6, 2012
    Who said Jean Claude Van Damme can't act? This movie is really good. It really shows all the prejudice people have against Van Damme after all his bad action movies in the past. He wants to put all that behind himself and move on. And this movie really shows how great he really is. Full Review »
  2. Jun 12, 2014
    A fun and funny meta-satire of Jean-Claude Van Dam, which switches views between JCVD's custody battle over daughter in the U.S, and his inadvertently walking in on a bank robbery in his native Belgium. There. he is used in the botched robbery as a means of distracting and confusing the police while the real real bank robbers try to find a way to escape.

    Little comic touches are peppered throughout, like using his knowledge from filming "Hard Target" to dispense medical advice, finding out that Steven Segal has been given a role meant for Jean-Claude, a bank TV playing one of JCVD's most **** insane interviews ever (1+1=2, it should be 1+1-11), and one of the robbers being starstruck at holding "The Muscles from Brussels" as a hostage.

    This movie may make you reconsider Jean-Claude's acting chops.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 7, 2013
    Bottom line: if you are that middle-of-the-road movie lover who loves art-house fare AND old-school 80′s testosterone flicks, definitely check out JCVD. I guarantee you’ll come away familiar with a Jean-Claude Van Damme you never even knew existed. Full Review »