ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Solo: A Star Wars Sto...
Dark Crimes
Life of the Party
Con Is On, The
Train to Zakopané
Tremors: A Cold Day i...
Backstabbing for Begi...
more movies...
New Features
Favorite Dancing in Movies ON DEMAND
True Romance from Page to Screen
Lorna Luft Discusses Judy Garland On Demand
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.04 stars
by 80 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Being Jean Claude
by Jeffrey Chen

The "meta" movie, or, put another way, self-referential movie, is a tricky concept to pull off, but when it's done well it can be a lot of fun. Such is the case with JCVD, a rather out-of-nowhere film about, of all things, the waning career and celebrity wear-and-tear of Jean Claude Van Damme. He plays a version of himself, mostly based on his real life, for the purposes of soul-baring -- that is, how does he feel about the point he has come to, as a relatively successful action star who nonetheless feels rather empty on the inside?

The scenario within which Van Damme comes to a point of crisis is a fairly standard crime plot -- he's one of the people held hostage when robbers decide to hold up a Brussels post office. JCVD may or may not be revealing the truth about Van Damme, and the way he feels about his life -- for all we know, it's just a big show, a put-on for our entertainment -- but what matters is that it's really quite convincing. You do want to believe this is Van Damme, especially when he delivers a fourth wall-breaking soliloquy wherein he expresses bitter sadness and many regrets; and, perhaps most surprisingly, you can be assuredly sold on his performance, recalling the famous line supposedly uttered by John Ford about John Wayne after seeing Red River: "I didn’t know the big son of a bitch could act!"

JCVD is also quite humorous, taking the opportunity to make ample jokes referencing Van Damme's career, including a few funny cracks about John Woo and Steven Seagal, and lampooning the celebrity effect in general (the crowd that gathers outside roots for JCVD, even though the police believe he's perpetrating the crime; one of the robbers is clearly enamoured of him, talking about his movies and asking him to demonstrate some karate).

All in all, the film is a good twist on a persona most of us probably thought of in two-dimensional terms; it's always refreshing to see when such a person is smarter than we think -- and is fully in on the joke as well.

(Released by Peace Arch Entertainment Group and rated "R" for language and some violence.)

Review also posted at

© 2018 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC