Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 63 Ratings

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  • Summary: JCVD is an action-packed, comedic satire of the life of movie hero Jean-Claude Van Damme. Playing himself, Jean-Claude finds himself out of money, fighting for custody of his daughter and losing every good action role to Steven Seagal. In an attempt to escape, the aging star walks away from his shrinking spotlight and returns home to his native Brussels. But when he is thrown into a real-life hostage situation, everyone sees a side of Van Damme they've never seen before as he takes on the police, battles the perpetrators and creates a media firestorm that captures the attention of the world. (Peach Arch Entertainment) Expand
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. A shrewd satire about stardom and the cult of celebrity.
  3. 75
    Van Damme says worse things about himself than critics would dream of saying, and the effect is shockingly truthful.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 38
    Combines a sketch-comedy premise with pacing like a philosophy seminar.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

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. Expand
  2. 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. Expand
  3. Jul 17, 2012
    JCVD is not just a bizarre film chronicling Jean Claude Van Damme's fall from celebrity and to a certain extent, grace, but it is a film that cleverly mounts the boundary between tense thriller (something Van Damme is familiar with) and satirical comedy. The film follows Van Damme as he travels to Belgium to visit his parents following a nasty custody battle regarding his daughter. One morning he decides to transfer some money at the local post office unaware that the place is being robbed by three menacing but inept robbers. The film is both knowledgeable of Van Damme's career and reputation but also his ability as an actor. The film is surprising in the fact that it is utterly ludicrous but it is grounded by a powerful central performance by JCVD (That is something I never thought I would write). The film manages to balance the need for thrills and the need for comedy while also injecting some deep emotion into the movie. The film, due to the subject matter, is inherently dark but it is populated by characters who are good even if they do bad things. This provides an interesting view of morality in the film. Finally the films end allows for both the stereotypical Van Damme take down but also the ending that is grounded in reality, the one where things aren't perfect and Van Damme is still a thing of the past. I for one have found a kind of respect for the Muscles from Brussels through his powerful performance of a man extremely broken but constantly trying to do the right thing, even if at times he doesn't quite know what that entails. Expand
  4. 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.
  5. Oct 6, 2013
    Interesting meta-film with a commanding and raw performance by Van Damme. It's conceit works out surprisingly well and the central performance is quite a thing to behold. Expand
  6. Dec 22, 2012
    It's Jean Claude at his absolute best acting wise. His monologue near the end of the movie was so touching and so powerful, I loved it. It was a pretty good movie. Expand
  7. Feb 21, 2012
    The film opens with an aging, depressed, desperately-broke Jean Claude Van Damme dealing with the disappointment and drudgery of his disappointing life, when suddenly he's stuck in the middle of a hostage situation. The whimsical, self-depreciating, semi-autobiographical writing is a welcome change to Van Damme's catalogue, which had for so long suffered due to him taking his (mostly) crappy movies so seriously. I love the "imaginary" moments where he jaw-jacks the bad guys and saves the day, only to cut back to the stark reality of him being just another helpless hostage. Unfortunately, the pacing is tortoise-speed and it proved lethal to my interest in the film as the minutes ticked by. Also, during Van Damme's long monologues, given directly to the audience, he speaks French(?) and is dubbed over by a different voice actor. This phenomenon is unexplained in the film and is grating. Mildly recommended. Expand

See all 25 User Reviews