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Friday, May 27, 2011

Van Damme Friday - Van Damme's 9 Greatest Moments----Master Croc - Go see Kung Fu Panda 2

Jean-Claude Van Damme's 9 Greatest Moments

Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport

Oh, it's Jean-Claude Van Damme. Let's all get snarky and ironic.

F**k that.

Yeah, he's not winning any acting Oscars, but the Belgian kickboxer-turned-action star has entertained us more than 90% of his Hollywood peers. Fusing years of karate and kickboxing training with -- fine -- a slightly melodramatic acting style, he's made films like "Kickboxer," "Bloodsport" and "Double Impact" that have influenced a generation of martial arts movies and set the standard that many lesser imitators would follow.

In honor of his (presumably butt-kicking) role as Master Croc in "Kung Fu Panda 2," here's a look back at some of JCVD's finest moments both onscreen and off.

9. JCVD Shills for 'World of Warcraft'

We know this ad is in French, but thankfully we have a cheap, Parisian intern on staff. Play the video below and read along. Loosely translated, Van Damme is saying, "My name is Jean-Claude Van Damme and I am praying nobody in America sees this. I asked my agent what would happen to my career if I did this and he responded, 'It's over.' But for a quick 30-second spot, I was offered a ton of money, and for dinner, some sheep. Still, I had to write down the lines on my hand."

8. A Young JCVD Training in 1979

Five years before his first film, then-professional kickboxer JCVD already had his eyes on acting. Long before "Bloodsport" or "Kickboxer," Van Damme performed in this training video. You probably can't understand it, but there's not much to get.

7. 'Kickboxer' Training Sequence

After a few duds following his breakout role in "Bloodsport," JCVD made 1989's "Kickboxer," which solidified his place in the Hollywood action-star firmament. For kickboxing fans -- OK, everyone except the nerds that feared the sport might get "too big" -- we could've gone with any number of scenes, but we're partial to the montage below. You should also check out the full kickboxing sequence from the film.

6. JCVD Battles With a Stick

You know you may not yet be Oscar material if your character name is officially "Gay Karate Man," but every actor has to do the crap films first to build up a rep and stave off homelessness for another month. In "Monaco Forever," a low-budget film about a jewel thief in Monaco, JCVD (then called Jean-Claude Vandam) picks up the main character before picking up the main character.

5. The Championship Match in 'Bloodsport'

The success of 1988's "Bloodsport," in which Van Damme plays an American fighting in an illegal, underground Hong Kong martial arts tournament, ensured that the actor would never have to play bit roles again. Though predictably eviscerated by critics, the film was a surprise hit and introduced many to JCVD's helicopter kick and awkward-looking, yet effective, split. In the final match, JCVD proves that you're going to have to do a lot more than blind him to beat him.

4. The Monologue in 'JCVD'

Blurring the line between reality and fiction, "JCVD" finds Van Damme as an aging movie star who returns home to Belgium to try and regain control of his disjointed life, only to find himself caught in the middle of a bank robbery. The film showed an entirely new side to the actor's range and in this, the film's defining scene, the actor looks back on a life filled with material success, yet short on spiritual fulfillment. It's Van Damme's rawest scene in his career and a big reason "JCVD" would be the first of the actor's films to get a theatrical release in a decade.

3. Hamming It Up in 'Breakin',' JCVD's First-Ever Screen Appearance

Van Damme was only an extra in the 1984 breakdancing film "Breakin'" -- credited simply as Guy Dancing in the Background -- but even then, with his unitard and awkward white-guy moves, a star was born. At this point, Van Damme was living in his car and barely spoke English. It's doubtful that future directors saw this footage and said, "That's the guy we want in our martial arts film," but it's far from the most embarrassing debut film ever. (That would be Nicole Kidman.)

2. JCVD Is Excited... to Be on Television

We're having trouble placing the date because we don't remember any year those jeans were cool, but we do know this: If you're going to be gyrating with exotic Brazilian women, fer chrissake, wear loose pants. Otherwise this happens:

1. The Dance Scene in 'Double Impact'

You'd think "Double Impact," in which Van Damme plays identical twins, would be the actor's hardest role. But as he told The A.V. Club in 2008: "The only thing different between Alex and Chad was the silk underwear." We would explain this scene, but if you don't know it, it's funnier without any context. Sadly, the original isn't available on the Internet -- we know; we couldn't believe it, either -- but the visuals are so over-the-top, any song'll do.